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Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told an online press conference that more Hungarians were being repatriated than at any other point in the country’s history. By Tuesday morning, the foreign ministry has aided in the return of 7,995 Hungarian citizens from 166 countries, he said, adding that it is currently organising the return of 928 more people. The European Union has so far helped out with the repatriation of 200 Hungarians, which is 2.5% of the total number of people brought home, Szijjártó said. Concerning the borders closed down due to the pandemic, Szijjártó noted that as a basic rule, only Hungarian citizens were being allowed into the country. However, some 12,000 freight trucks enter Hungary on a daily basis of which 6,400 are transit traffic, he said, adding that Hungary has allowed numerous central and eastern Europeans to pass through on their way home from western European countries. Szijjártó highlighted the importance of aiding other countries in the region, arguing that if they were to weaken, they would not be able to resist the rising migration pressure from the Western Balkan route. Szijjártó also underlined the importance of preserving economic cooperation with neighbouring countries in the border regions, noting that Hungary has agreed to open some of its border crossings to daily commuters. Ukraine and Serbia, Szijjártó noted, had closed their borders to even their own citizens but three border crossings have been opened towards Serbia for freight traffic and Hungary has asked for two more to be opened.
Concerning Hungary’s economy protection action plan, he noted that the government will take over 70% of the wage costs of employees who work reduced hours at companies impacted by the epidemic. In addition, Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 400 billion forint (EUR 1.1bn) investment credit line for small and medium-sized businesses and is opening a 50 billion forint guarantee scheme for business loans. Exporting SMEs will also be supported by a 150 billion forint insurance scheme, the minister said. He added that the government will be introducing new investment promotion schemes in the interest of job creation.