Hungary, Romania open borders to daily commuters

Hungary has decided to open its borders to people commuting between Romania and Hungary, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced on his Facebook page. The announcement comes after his visit to Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca last week, where he met with Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ. The two discussed issues related to helping citizens move between the two countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the interest of their livelihood, I asked Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade for the Hungarian state to remove obstacles to their daily crossing,” Kelemen said at a press conference following the private meeting.

As we previously reported, Hungary had closed its borders in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 (mostly mentioned as coronavirus). The move, however, severely affected many people living on the border between the two countries, as many of them have jobs just across the border.

“Our duty isn’t just to protect people’s health but also to protect the viability of the economy in the best possible way,” Szijjártó said in the video announcing the decision. The agreement with Romania follows the model developed with Austria and Slovakia, which aims to lift the ban on movement for commuters living along the borders of the aforementioned countries. As a result, Hungary has opened its borders to Romanian citizens in Létavértes (Romanian: Leta Mare), Nyírábrány and Méhkerék (Romanian: Micherechi).

Title image: Police officers at a Hungarian border-crossing station. Image source: Police.hu

Author: István Fekete