Government Must Make COVID Vaccine Free for All!

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jegyzetcover11“We demand that when the safe and usable COVID vaccine is available, the government provide the vaccine free of charge to all Hungarian citizens who request it,” Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi announced at an online press conference on Friday.

As a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Public Health he added that MSZP expects the government to already guarantee that the vaccine will be free of charge. Ujhelyi pointed out that Slovakia had already pre-ordered millions of vaccines and aims to provide them to the population free of charge. He also recalled that the Greek and Serbian governments have already made similar announcements.

“The European Commission has recently ordered more than 400 million vaccines from nearly half a dozen large pharmaceutical manufacturers, which means that joint procurement process will take place, and the Hungarian government must also play a role in this. We expect to be informed: on the basis of what scenario and with what sort of schedule does the Hungarian State intend to provide people with the safe vaccine,” said the MEP of MSZP, urging more active participation of the government in European anti-pandemic co-operations.

Ujhelyi added that MSZP, as a social democratic party, is a committed supporter of the establishment of the European Health Union, because in their opinion safe and fair healthcare for all European citizens – including all Hungarians – can only be guaranteed if a European guarantee system obliges Member State Governments to ensure fair conditions, respect for healthcare workers and patient safety in ways that meets minimum requirements.

The MSZP politician recalled that he first raised the concept of the European Health Union more than a year ago, when many still doubted its feasibility. Ujhelyi reminded that since then, the S&D Group in the European Parliament was first to adopt the program it had developed, and then it had become an important pillar of the Public Health Strategy adopted by the EP, and most recently President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stood behind the concept in her State of the Union Address.

The MSZP politician added that another important milestone of success was the recent adoption by the European Parliament of additional documents calling for a European Health Union and minimum quality standards, such as the EP resolution on EU coordination of health assessments and risk classifications and a parliamentary document on the shortage of medicines.

Budapest – 25/09/2020

Ujhelyi: Hungary Must Also Be Member of European Health Union!

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ujhelyi_istvan_sm (1)It is of paramount interest not only for the entire European Community, but also for Hungary that the concept of the European Health Union be realized, said Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi at his online press conference on Thursday.
MSZP’s politician was one of the developers of the concept and of the responsible persons for it in the S&D Group of the EP. In the past year, together with the Hungarian Medical Chamber and other Hungarian professional organizations, as well as European health interest groups, he has shaped the content of the package of proposals intended to set quality standards for healthcare.
“When I first came up with the concept of the European Health Union and the minimum-standards, professional organizations and policy makers alike had their doubts about its feasibility, but the hard work of recent months has paid off: first, the S&D Group in the European Parliament adopted the program, then the concept was included in the adopted health strategy adopted by a majority of the European Parliament, and now, as a historic breakthrough, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has made this program an important part of the next work plan”, said István Ujhelyi.
The socialist politician emphasized that the implementation of the European Health Union means shorter waiting lists, fewer hospital infections and resulting illnesses and death, but it can also bring higher wages in healthcare systems. István Ujhelyi emphasized that, contrary to government propaganda, Fidesz spends less on healthcare than the EU average, and it is no coincidence that Hungary lags behind in terms of quality care.
“While a Czech doctor earns twice as much, a Belgian doctor earns nine times more than his Hungarian colleagues. Today, someone in Hungary is three times more likely to get a serious nosocomial infection than in Germany. These differences are untenable, and the concept of the health union will help to eliminate them,” added the European politician of MSZP.
István Ujhelyi emphasized that after the European Parliament, the European Commission has now made a commitment to the program he initiated. He said now it was the turn of the European Council of Heads of State and Government to support the implementation.
“The joint work has begun, and I also expect my fellow opposition and pro-government MEPs to stand behind the program and help it to be implemented as widely as possible. Without strong health care, there is no strong Europe, without a strong healthcare system, there is no happy Hungary,” the MSZP MEP said at his online press conference.

Brussels – 17/09/2020

Ujhelyi: Von Der Leyen’s stand for Health Union is a historic breakthrough!

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Ursula-von-der-Leyen-1200x800I consider it a significant breakthrough that in her annual State of the Union Address President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also stood firmly behind the concept of the European Health Union which I advocated. This clearly marks the path and the opportunity for the widest possible implementation. I also consider it an important breakthrough that the number one person of the Commission has also raised the issue of rethinking the health competences of the Member States, as this is essential in order to eliminate the serious discrepancies that exist between health systems.
I had an important commitment at the beginning of my second term as MEP to put on the table of European decision-makers a comprehensive concept that ensures minimum standards of quality healthcare in all European Member States and guarantees patient safety. Not only domestic but also international professional organizations took an active part in this work, and the Social Democratic Group in the EP also took on to promote my initiative as their own.
It was an important milestone a few weeks ago, when this finally became one of the cornerstones of the health strategy adopted by a large majority in the European Parliament. Today’s clear statement by the President of the European Commission is another significant step forward. Parliament and the Commission are therefore ready to set up the European Health Union, therefore we expect the European Council, including the Heads of Government of the Member States, to take part in the joint implementation.
Without strong healthcare, there is no strong nation. Without strong care systems, there is no strong Europe.

István Ujhelyi
MEP (MSZP)
Brussels, 16/09/2020

No shame in being a party propagandist, just awkward to deny It!

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jegyzetcover844Undoubtedly, one of Orbán and his gang’s most cunning moves was to cannibalise the Hungarian news agency MTI as soon as possible and then make the news they now controlled and influenced free of charge. This way, they subjugated the public and mushroom-propagated the fake and semi-fake institutes, which echoed their views before the public on all platforms. We have all seen the “experts” and “analysts” in uniform suits who robotically repeat centrally issued templates in the government press. Make no mistake; each and every one of them is a paid party propagandist. As a matter of fact, there is no shame in this: being a party propagandist is a perfectly legitimate job (funding it from public money raises questions though), it’s just infinitely pathetic when they try to deny this.

I confess that I do not even understand those media outlets that do not consider themselves  government servants, yet regularly and without criticism interview, for example Dániel Deák in their news programs and analytical materials. Deák tries to present himself as a serious analyst of a government affiliated institute stuffed with money, but his trembling efforts to hammer exclusively Fidesz’ narrative into people’s heads makes him infinitely ridiculous. The situation is similar with the propaganda institute also cunningly called the Centre for Fundamental Rights. It is a joke in itself that they have only failed to stand up for the fundamental human rights the government has trampled upon in the past period, although they do not hide their position: their declared goal is to be a ‘counterpoint’ to human rights fundamentalism and political correctness that overflows many walks of life these days. I would like to point out once again that being a party propagandist is no shame, trying to sell yourself as a independent and objective expert while being one is, however, rather pathetic. This is also true for this case. The Centre for Fundamental Rights has made itself noticed as of late by organising a highly Fidesz “private event” (i.e. a garden party in a castle) that put half of the government into quarantine; we, of course, wish all coronavirus carriers a speedy recovery. But it is not only because of this that the “independent institute,” which operates from massive public funds, is a perfect example: they have also received millions from the Fidesz party foundation and one of the Hungarian National Bank’s foundations.

The head of the company bathed in public funds is Miklós Szánthó, a former member of the Christian Democratic KDNP’s youth organization, but according to press reports, he has also represented Fidelitas in the youth section of the European People’s Party. At the moment, by the way, he is, not incidentally, the leader of the Fidesz media golem, put together by state aid and controlling hundreds of newspapers and other media. The strategic director of the centre is István Kovács, who was on the Fidesz EP list last year but slipped off the mandate in the last minute, but there is also research director Péter Törcsi, who is reportedly a very lucky company founder: in 2018, as soon he started his own consulting business, he already received orders in the value of millions of forints from the Prime inister’s Office and the Fidesz parliamentary group. But the leadership of the centre also includes deputy director Miklós Panyi, who bashfully only writes about himself on the website that he was the “Hungarian press adviser of the People’s Party of the European Parliament”, which translates to the fact that he worked as a press secretary for Fidesz MEPs. Several of the company’s leading analysts have recently worked at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office dealing with government propaganda, and analyst Eszter Párkányi, who is a regular face in the government media, recently held press conferences as a spokesperson for Fidelitas. And before the pro-government comment commando, trained by István Kovács’s Megaphone project, jumps at me with a sharpened keyboard: there is nothing wrong with all this. Educated, well –travelled people work at this government affiliated institute. More precisely, at this institute as well.

The trouble is that these propaganda companies (or, as the government press would put it “pseudo-
civilians”) are stuffed with taxpayers’ money, and the analyses, statements, and declarations they convey are taken seriously by some instead of treating them like the repackaged positions of the Fidesz government, which they are. Orbán has built a well-functioning, professional tell-it-like it-is network to influence the public. If we actually see this, we know it and we take the words of their
actors with the deserved seriousness, they can bend reality in any way, it will always make way for
itself.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
August 30, 2020