Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu on Tuesday asked his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, in a phone call, to urgently create a humanitarian corridor that would allow the continuous transit through Hungary towards Romania of all Romanian citizens currently on the border between Austria and Hungary.
“Minister Bogdan Aurescu emphasized the very sensible nature of the situation created, also due to the fact that information was not available with sufficient time beforehand, and requested the support of his counterpart for the urgent creation by the Hungarian authorities of a humanitarian corridor that would allow the continuous transit through Hungary towards Romania of all Romanian citizens presently on the border between Austria and Hungary,” shows a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE).
According to the quoted source, Peter Szijjarto confirmed that Hungary will support, as an exceptional measure, applied once, the repatriation of Romanian citizens as soon as possible, the effective details regarding the entry on Hungarian territory and the transit of it to the border to Romania to be established, with the measures then to be implemented by the relevant authorities of the internal ministries of the two countries.
The discussion between the two ministers took place against the background of Hungary’s decision to close the borders for personnel traffic, decision that became applicable starting with March 17, 00:00 hrs, situation in which, in the absence of an official prior notice, led to blockages at the border between Austria and Hungary, at the entry on Hungarian territory, MAE mentions.
In this context and given multiple signals received from Romanian citizens currently at the Nickelsdorf border crossing who wish to return to Romania from different European states, Minister Bogdan Aurescu signalled the humanitarian situation created by the presence of a considerable number of families with children and elderly (in total around 3,500 persons up to this time) and requested the urgent adoption by the Hungarian authoriteis of measures that would allow them to continue to transit the Hungarian territory.
Furthermore, on the orders of Minister Aurescu, also on Tuesday, the State Secretary for European Affairs, Iulia Matei, had a meeting, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the Hungarian Ambassador to Bucharest, Botond Zakonyi, during which the requests mentioned above were repeated on this diplomatic channel. In addition, the Romanian side signalled on this occasion the lines of action adopted by the European Commission on March 16, 2020 regarding border management in view of protecting health and ensuring the availability of essential goods and services inside the European Union, which refer to the obligation of member-states to facilitate the transit of EU citizens and residents which are returning to their country of residence.
MAE mentions that a similar demarche was also made by the Romanian ambassador to Budapest to the Undersecretary of State for developing relations with Europe and the USA of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Commerce of Hungary, Ferenc Kumin.
In parallel, on the same subject, Minister Bogdan Aurescu kept in touch with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg.
The discussions took place as a continuation of efforts by the MAE to assist Romanian citizens in the context of restrictive measures imposed by several states in view of managing the COVID-19 epidemic.