PÉTER SZIJJÁRTÓ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, said it was great that the Assembly was not meeting in a virtual format, as the essence of diplomacy is to meet, talk and do one’s best to overcome challenges. The last two years have seen a lot of problems, but while the situation has improved a bit, the crisis is not yet over. Vaccination is the only answer. Vaccines must be provided to everybody and produced in as many places as possible. Vaccines should not be a matter of ideology or politics because saving lives should not be ideological or political, he said, urging regulations at the national, regional and international level to authorize different types on the basis of facts, leaving politics out of the equation.
Discussing the pandemic’s serious economic consequences, he said the most important task now is to save as many jobs as possible, or at least to recover the lost jobs and create new ones. People must make their living from work and not depend on social assistance. Work brings dignity and a predictable future, he said, noting that Hungary has decided to pay back income tax to families with children if economic growth reaches 5.5 per cent. On cybercrime, he called for strict international regulation to protect families and children from extremist propaganda, pornography and cyberbullying on the Internet.
Without vaccines for everybody, there will be future massive waves of migration, he said. The more the virus spreads, the more people will migrate, and as more people migrate, the more the virus will spread. After 20 years in Afghanistan, the international community must analyse what mistakes were made, but for now the main duty is to mitigate the damage. Afghanistan must not be a safe place for terrorists, but additional migration from that country will threaten security in the region and in Europe. Afghanistan’s neighbours say its problems must be solved within its borders and that is the approach that the international community should follow. Hungary evacuated all Afghans who assisted its troops who participated in the international mission and it will take care of them, “but we will not receive anyone else”. Hungary, which opposed the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, will protect its border, stand up to pressure and decide itself who will enter its territory, he said.