Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hungary to End Restrictions at Schengen Border Crossings

Hungary will abolish border crossing restrictions on the internal Schengen borders from June 24, the Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, announced during a visit to Bratislava yesterday, reports.

Since September 1, due to high Coronavirus rates in the neighbouring countries, Hungary had tightened border crossing rules and closed them for foreigners.

“If the pandemic does not take an unexpected turn for the worse, we can eliminate the protection of internal Schengen border crossings,” Szijjarto said.

Since May 30, Slovenia and Hungary removed their internal border control, although the latter was on Slovenia’s red list of countries and travellers were subjected to a ten-day quarantine requirement upon arrival.

While since June 1, numerous countries have started implementing the COVID-19 passports for a free and safe movement amid pandemic for European countries, Hungary, alongside Malta and Finland, are still lagging behind in this regard.

Countries that so far have started implementing the document are Germany, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Countries ready to connect to the EUDCC gateway are Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, France, Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Malta.

The COVID-19 Passport or the EU digital COVID certificate is digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Coronavirus or has received negative test results or recovered from COVID-19.

The document’s main features are that it can be issued in both printed and digital format, contains a QR code for verification and is free of charge. The certificate is also issued in the national language of the issuing country and English. The document is valid in all EU countries. It also includes information on the holder such as first and last name, birthdate and the issuing country.

Every person who has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the European Medicine Agency (EMA) authorised vaccines can obtain the document. However, countries individually decide which vaccines they want to accept as valid. The document shows the number of doses administered, time and place of vaccination and information on the manufacturer and the issuing state.

Hungary introduced its COVID-19 immunity passport back in February, although it stirred debate among European Union countries.

Since May 11, Hungary and Turkey have reached an agreement to recognise each-others COVID-19 passports, allowing travellers to enter free of entry restriction requirements.

Hungary and Moldova have also lifted their entry restrictions from May 31, allowing each other’s travellers to enter the country quarantine-free and not obliged to take a PCR or RAT test.

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