Ujhelyi: Records from Brussels prove Orbán-government did nothing to help those vaccinated with Eastern vaccines

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PZ__0187The Orbán government has abandoned Hungarians who had been vaccinated with vaccines from the East, (i.e. vaccines not authorized by the EU), as confirmed by Brussels records, said MSZP MEP István Ujhelyi in his online press conference.

The Socialist politician based his statement on the fact that although the Hungarian government delegate had numerous opportunities to make proposals in the competent committee to ensure the free travel of Hungarian citizens with Eastern vaccinations, he did not do so, according to the minutes from the meetings he had requested. At the press conference, Ujhelyi described the EU’s single Digital COVID Certificate as an important achievement the creation of which, he said, had played a significant role in preventing Europe’s functioning and economy from collapsing completely due to the impacts of the epidemic. He added, however, that there are at least two million Hungarian citizens who, having been forced to take vaccines from the East, are not entitled to the privileges of the single COVID certificate and are therefore discriminated against when traveling for work, study or commuting, for example, because they do not qualify as fully vaccinated.
“I was called an anti-vaccination murderer when I warned the government about this, but even then it was more concerned with propaganda and serving Fidesz economic circles than the fate of the Hungarian people”; Ujhelyi said. He added that after the government was unable to conclude a sufficient number of bilateral agreements with other countries on the recognition of Eastern vaccines, it started lobbying for at least the third, EU vaccines to be recognized as a condition for the COVID certificate. Ujhelyi said that in September last year, at his request, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, confirmed in writing that the issue would be put on the agenda of the Health Security Committee meeting.
However, this would require a proposal from a Hungarian government delegate at one of the panel’s meetings, the MSZP politician pointed out. At the press conference, the Socialist MEP explained that they had asked to see the minutes of the committee’s meetings, and they prove that the Fidesz government’s delegate had not once raised the issue of travel restrictions for Hungarians vaccinated with Eastern vaccines.
“Gergely Gulyás said at a recent government info session that the government delegate must have done everything he could on the matter and that he would look into the details. And pertaining to this case Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said: ‘we are literally lobbying on the matter’; Like hell you do! Not only have they not lobbied, but they are not even able to give us any answers on the matter, nor will they tell us who the government representative on this committee is. The government is lying and does not even realize the hardship that its decisions have caused hundreds of thousands of Hungarians. Fidesz is apparently only interested in political and financial gain in the management of the epidemic”; István Ujhelyi said.
MSZP’s European politician stressed that the EU is currently in the process of renegotiating the European covid-pass framework, so this will be an opportunity for the government to take substantive action, if they failed to do so thus far. Ujhelyi added that, as an MEP, he is in permanent consultation with the European Commission and will table the necessary amendments during the parliamentary process to ensure that the situation is handled in a reassuring way.

Budapest/Brussels – 18.01.2022.

Ujhelyi asks Brussels for accounting records of Hungarian EU-money for free covid-tests

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epf másolatSince the Hungarian government has not responded to his inquiry, István Ujhelyi is now asking the European Commission for the accounting records of the EU funding provided for free covid tests, as he believes that the use of the HUF 900 million budget is highly suspicious of corruption. This was announced by the MEP of MSZP-Dialogue in his online press conference, which was held in house quarantine due to covid infection.

Ujhelyi said it was stomach-churning that people and business circles linked to Fidesz had demonstrably profited from the purchase of equipment linked to the epidemic, and that this could also affect the HUF 900 million EU budget that the European Union granted the Hungarian government last year for the purchase of tests, although no information is yet available on the exact use of the money.
Ujhelyi said that almost a week ago he turned to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to find out exactly how and to whom free or reduced-price covid tests were provided from the non-reimbursable budget, which Ujhelyi, among others, had initiated in the European Parliament. The MSZP politician pointed out that the HUF 900 million package for Hungary as part of the €100 million overall framework would have provided a reduced-rate test last year to Hungarians who had to travel for work, study, commuting or other personal reasons, but were obliged to take the test because of restrictions.
Because of the flat-rate amount set by the European Commission, this could have affected hundreds of thousands of people, but as Ujhelyi pointed out, there is no real sign of this option in government communications. The MSZP politician said that since the government had failed to respond to his request in this regard, he would now turn to the European Commission to obtain the accounting records submitted by Hungary, which in principle should have been sent to Brussels in November last year. Ujhelyi stressed that if it turns out that business circles close to Fidesz have been profiting from this budget, he will also file the necessary report with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
A significant part of the population has suffered because of covid; many people have lost their loved ones and their livelihoods because of the epidemic, while Fidesz, entirely ignoring opposition criticism, has done nothing apart from making political and economic profit”, the MSZP MEP said.
Ujhelyi recalled that in September 2020, the public interest data he requested revealed that the government had first purchased covid tests worth HUF 9.6 billion, but even then there were some suppliers that were mainly engaged in real estate sales or had appeared in Azeri cases important to the Orbán government.
The Socialist politician also said at the press conference that Lőrinc Mészáros is also known to have interests in at least two companies, in one of them together with a local Fidesz-representative from Hévíz, that have recently recorded billions in sales, thanks in part to their booming covid-testing service. Referring to information published in the press, Ujhelyi also mentioned a company originally providing Thai massage services, which in a short time has become a nearly HUF 2 billion business thanks to a contract with the National Hospital Directorate General for antigen tests, and in which a former Fidesz MP and former state secretary was also involved.
At the same time, Ujhelyi called the deal involving the former Fidesz parliamentary group leader of Ferencváros the “most brazen and vile, suggestive of serious corruption”, in this case the National Hospital Directorate General ordered rapid tests worth HUF 3.1 billion from a company that the ruling party politician had only founded in the months before the contract was signed. Moreover, as a further detail of the peculiar business, the MEP added that the Fidesz politician quickly sold the company to a young man in his twenties living in a village in Borsod after the deal. According to Ujhelyi, the question is therefore whether any of the HUF 900 million budget frame he initiated and made available to Hungary ended up in Fidesz’s circles through similar deals. The MSZP MEP made it clear that if need be, he would sue for the necessary data in EU and Hungarian courts.

Budapest/Brussels – 12.01.2022.