Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Hungary last March, the government has supported 1,434 investments at the total value of 1,676 billion forints (EUR 4.7bn), Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said. Speaking at the inauguration of Hungarian-owned Merkbau’s new plant manufacturing doors and windows in Kiskunhalas, southern Hungary, Szijjártó said the pandemic posed economic challenges as well as public health risks. The government has a duty to protect people’s jobs as well as their lives and health, he said. In the spring, the government decided to fight unemployment rather than financing it, he said. The past decade’s efforts have created a robust Hungarian economy, with Hungarian companies at its foundations which are becoming stronger and stronger, he said. Merkbau, an important construction company in southern Hungary, has invested 580 million forints to preserve long-term jobs for its 350 employees, Szijjártó said. The government has supported it with a 287 million forint grant, he added.