The Hungarian government must make it clear during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tomorrow that we expect them to speed up the approval of the Russian vaccine in Europe and provide all the necessary documentation, said Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi at an online press conference on Monday.
According to the MSZP MEP, the Hungarian and Russian governments must jointly address the problem that Hungarians vaccinated with Sputnik are subject to significant restrictions when traveling to the majority of European Member States in the absence of an EU licence, as the Russian vaccine is currently not automatically accepted in the common European certification system.
According to Ujhelyi, the European Union has indicated in advance that it will not automatically accept vaccines without a European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorization, and it is therefore a result of the “stubbornness” of the Orbán government that the current situation has arisen.
The Socialist politician stressed that by adopting the European Parliament’s proposal, the final legislation now contains a loophole that Member States can conclude individual agreements with each other on the single EU COVID certificate and accept other vaccines, such as Sputnik, on the basis of bilateral agreements. “It is the government’s homework to reach a similar agreement with EU Member States after Uzbekistan and Mongolia, as currently most EU Member States do not accept Eastern vaccines,” Ujhelyi added. According to the Socialist MEP, the government also made a mistake when it did not convince its Russian and Chinese business partners to obtain the necessary European licences before starting to administer the vaccines.
At the press conference, István Ujhelyi also said that the EMA has been investigating the Sputnik vaccine since January because, unlike the Chinese, the Russian party at least submitted the necessary application. However, the MEP pointed out, according to the latest official communication, the EMA has still not received all the necessary and requested documentation, so the authorization is delayed. “Lavrov’s visit to Budapest is the moment when the Hungarian government may have a chance to convince and persuade its Russian counterpart to speed up the licensing procedure. This is in the interest of many hundreds of thousands of Hungarian citizens,” Ujhelyi said, adding that Sergei Lavrov will surely understand that “Hungary is not a Russian colony” but part of the EU, therefore, Hungary follows the common European regulations. “If a Member State’s Government circumvents this, there will be consequences,” the MSZP MEP said.
Budapest/Brussels – 23.08.2021.