István Ujhelyi and Sándor Pintér meet to discuss health tasks

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ceb73cc0-70b7-4e8e-9ba3-96997ca34ac2Immediately after the formation of the new government of Hungary, I indicated that, as a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Public Health, one of my first tasks would be to knock on the door of the new member of government responsible for health to consult him on health issues and proposals affecting Hungary. Despite the fact that, as an opposition politician, I am strongly critical of and dissatisfied with the Fidesz government’s policies, its relationship with the European Union and its exercise of power, we must be able to seek possible compromises on certain issues in order to effectively promote the national interest in Europe. That is why I have initiated a meeting with Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, with whom, as the person responsible for this area, today we discussed European issues in the health sector and my relevant proposals.
I handed over a four-point note to the Minister, in which among others I drew his attention to the fact that one of the most important, majority conclusions of the series of international conferences on the future of the European Union was that certain Member State competences, such as health care at present, should be partially reviewed and that more EU coordination and pan-European influence should be provided in this field in order to ensure efficiency and better quality of care.
In this context, I urged the government to show openness and support the wider implementation of the European Health Union, of which I was an initiator, such as the development of minimum quality standards for healthcare systems and their mandatory enforcement at EU level. During the consultation, I highlighted as a key issue the objectives and the way in which the Hungarian Government intends to use the resources of the multi-billion EU4Health programme, which is currently frozen due to problems with the rule of law, and whether they are willing to amend the national plan on the Recovery Fund. I made it clear to Minister Sándor Pintér that, as a Hungarian Member of the European Parliament, I consider it of the utmost importance that the government give priority to strengthening mental well being and the creation of programmes and national strategies related to this, as well as to the publication of the government materials already prepared and related to this as soon as possible.
In the four-point note, I also drew the Minister’s attention to the fact that the previous health administration knowingly and, in most cases, unlawfully withheld data of public interest, which seriously undermined confidence in the governance of the sector. I have also urged Sándor Pintér to review the circumstances of the procurement of healthcare supplies in recent years as soon as possible, in particular the vaccine and covid test contracts concluded by the National Public Health Centre and the National Hospital Directorate General, as it is unacceptable that there should be the slightest possibility of managerial incompetence, conscious or innocent violation of the law or corruption in a care sector that is a social priority and based on a fundamental relationship of trust. The conversation with the Interior Minister was a fair, professional discussion without political overtones. This is how it should work in a normal European country.

István Ujhelyi MEP
Member of the EP Committee on Public Health
Budapest – 04/07/2022