Economy

Good news for Hungarian-Romanian border commuters

A freshly adopted bill (no. 209/2020) will speed up the border-crossing process at the Hungarian-Romanian border for thousands of workers who live in Romania but work just across the border in Hungary: A commuter card will now grant them access to a dedicated lane so that they can get to work on time and don’t have to spend hours waiting in line.

The bill, initiated by Ödön Szabó, acting president of the Bihar/Bihor County division of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym RMDSZ) and Member of the Chamber of Deputies, has granted the right to obtain a similar card to family members of commuters, a decision that will ease the life of tens of thousands of people living near the Romanian border.

People working abroad but living in Romania – defined as frontier workers – and their family members can request a commuter card, which will be valid for a maximum of five years or expire on the date their work agreement ends.

The bill also requires border police to allocate a lane to frontier workers because they must get to work at a specific time, so standing in line with those crossing the border for other reasons – as it works now – is not a solution.

It is still unknown whether or not the mandatory 30-kilometer travel limit imposed by the Hungarian authorities will apply to frontier workers holding the commuter card. We reached out to the Consulate General of Hungary in Csíkszereda / Miercurea Ciuc for clarification and will update the article as soon as we hear back.

As Ödön Szabó pointed out to Maszol, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required by law to produce a memorandum specifying deadlines for the decisions required to put this bill into practice, and the methodology will be adopted within 90 days of the bill being published in the Official Bulletin.

Title image: Border police inspect the documents of a border-crosser. Image source: Politiadefrontiera.ro

Author: István Fekete