Ujhelyi: Hungary is not a Russian colony!

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fotó: MTI

fotó: MTI

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.

“Soul Vaccination”: Gergely Gulyás and István Ujhelyi to support common cause

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soul“The task and the goal are common, this is a cause that goes beyond party politics,” said Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás and Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi in a joint video following the professional consultation on the proposals on the mental health situation of children in the context of the covid19 epidemic.

As is known, in his capacity as a Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Public Health, the MSZP politician had previously promoted a program called “Soul Vaccination”, in which he drew attention to the psychological impacts of the coronavirus and the need for government action in this area. Gergely Gulyás then invited the representative of MSZP and the professional organizations he had proposed for consultation, with whom a comprehensive and concrete package of proposals was prepared and presented to the government.

In addition to the MSZP representative, Zsuzsanna Szabó and Tamás Totyik from the Trade Union of Teachers, Erzsébet Nagy and Tibor Fehér from the Democratic Trade Union of Teachers, head of UNICEF Hungary’s children’s rights department Viola Szlankó, and State Secretary for Public Education Zoltán Maruzsa participated in the meeting on Monday afternoon. The joint package of proposals prepared by István Ujhelyi and the experts includes, among other things, an urgent and comprehensive assessment of the state of the school psychologist network currently in place and the mental health impact of the coronavirus epidemic on children. They also called for a general information campaign to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and the possibilities for getting mental health support. 

Reducing the workload of teachers and school psychologists, and increasing the number of school psychologists, including through the addition of qualified mental health professionals on contract, was a point of emphasis in the package.  Another proposal on the government’s table was that teachers should receive appropriate professional training in mental health as soon as possible, so that they can identify and help children suffering from mental health problems as a result of the epidemic.

In the video recorded after the meeting, Gergely Gulyás said: “We need to minimize the damage caused by online education, which is why the government has always been in favour of the introduction of face-to-face education in Hungary, when the epidemic allows it. The Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office said that there was no obstacle to the start of face-to-face education from September and that the government was open to professional proposals on the mental health situation of children. “We hope that we can eliminate as much as possible the problems caused by the challenging period of the past year and a half,” Gergely Gulyás said.

Following the meeting, István Ujhelyi, the initiator of the Soul Vaccine program said that it was an exceptional situation standing up for a cause together with a government representative, but, as he said, the mental impacts of the epidemic were also exceptional. Referring to a survey by UNICEF Hungary, Ujhelyi pointed out that more than half of Hungarian parents had noticed some negative mental changes in their children’s behaviour during the epidemic, but only a fraction of them had received help. Ujhelyi confirmed that the government had been constructive and open to the proposals made jointly with trade union and children’s rights experts. “If no concrete steps shall be taken after this, I promised Minister Gulyás that I will keep pushing, I will not let this issue fade out. This must be a cause that transcends party interests both in Hungary and the European Union”, István Ujhelyi concluded in the joint video.

Budapest/Brussels – 17.08.2021.

Ujhelyi: they are likely to refer to administrative reasons when delaying Gergely Karácsony’s referendum

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kair-ujh“All politicians and oligarchs who abuse laws and EU funds beware, because if we get to replace Orbán’s regime next year, the first thing we will do is join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office,” said Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi at his online press conference on Thursday. He confirmed that his party fully supports the five-question referendum on, among other things, joining the EU Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was put forward by prime ministerial candidate Gergely Karácsony.

MSZP’s European politician added that the current government will probably hinder the referendum with reference to administrative reasons, but that the opposition community must make it clear that it is united in its support for the referendum questions and for joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The latter is confirmed by the polls, too: according to the latest survey by Závecz Research, the majority in Hungary is in favour of accession; and even among Fidesz voters, there are more who support cooperation with the EU prosecutor than those that do not.

At the press conference, Ujhelyi stressed that “Orbán and his regime are running” from the European Public Prosecutor’s Office because they fear any independent body that can “look into their dirty games”. The Socialist politician pointed out that Hungary is the ultimate EU leader in fraud and irregularities committed with EU funds, and one of the most important findings of the recently published rule of law report was that EU public funds are not safe in the system set up by the Hungarian government. 

Ujhelyi stressed that this is why the European Union is considering a possible freeze on funds, and not, as the government propaganda claims, because of the adoption of the homophobic law. “If we do not want Hungary to lose money and if we want to receive in time and use the unbelievable amount of EU funds that Hungary is entitled to, the Hungarian government must put the rule of law in order. If the current one is unwilling to that, the next one will,” Ujhelyi added.

Budapest/Brussels – 29.07.2021.