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The unimpeded movement of goods is vital during the current crisis, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. Hungary is ensuring the unimpeded movement of goods to all its neighbouring countries, he said after a conference call with EU foreign trade ministers.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian government will submit a proposal to the European Commission early next week on relaxing investment promotion regulations, he said, adding that eliminating the current 800,000 euro limit on state investment support for businesses would help restart the European economy.
Commenting on the targeted relaxation of border restrictions, the minister said an additional crossing, at Battonya, has been opened for commuters on the Hungary-Romania border. Both the Hungarian and Romanian governments have imposed restrictions on passenger traffic in an effort to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic, Szijjártó said on Facebook. But these restrictions have complicated life for people who work or have land on either side of the border, he added. An earlier agreement with the Romanian government to keep eight border crossings open for such people has been expanded to nine crossings, based on positive experiences so far, he said.
Also, construction of a new bridge over the River Danube connecting Komárom and Komarno is set to continue, with the project expected to be completed around late summer or early autumn, Szijjártó said after talks with his new Slovak counterpart on Wednesday. Szijjártó said on Facebook that he and Ivan Korčok thanked each other for their governments’ mutual assistance in the repatriation of Hungarian and Slovak citizens.
Further, in line with prior agreements and plans, the two countries will connect their electricity grids at two points and significantly increase the capacity of the Hungary-Slovakia gas interconnector, Szijjártó said.
The minister also said Hungary has received a donation of 100,000 surgical masks from Kazakhstan, being the fourth Turkic Council member state which has helped in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic. The minister noted on Facebook that he had recently talked to Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi and thanked him for the possibility of technical stopovers at Nur-Sultan Airport for aircraft transporting medical equipment from China to Hungary. Wizz Air flights have so far made 78 technical landings in Kazakhstan, he added. “We have also agreed to continue close cooperation in the fight against the novel coronavirus so aircraft on the China-Hungary air bridge will be able to continue using the airport of the Kazakh capital for refuelling and other technical purposes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó on Thursday handed over 200,000 face masks and 10,000 protective gowns to representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. He said Hungary, located “in the neighbourhood” of the Western Balkans, had an interest in promoting “peace, calm, stability, and prosperity” in the region. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a key role in those endeavours, he said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is “on a migration route, therefore it is important that the country continues to do everything to stop migratory trends,” Szijjártó said.
After talks, he said that participants were in agreement that “illegal migration is dangerous and must be stemmed”, adding that, in the current circumstances, migration “not only poses security risks but a very serious health hazard, too”.