‘We’re fed up!’ Hungarian foreign minister breaks rank to attack EU over vaccines

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the European Commission was still failing to provide a steady supply of jabs. Budapest has secured millions of doses from China and Russia, but the bloc is yet to approve either eastern vaccine whilst it also criticises Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his choices.

Mr Szijiarto told RT yesterday Hungary was expecting to receive around 700,000 additional doses of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia in the next two weeks.

The Hungarian politician said thanks to Mr Orban’s approach more than 1.5 million people in Hungary have already been vaccinated.

He said: “More than 1.5 million Hungarians have already been vaccinated and this would have not been possible if we had not decided to buy vaccine also from the East.

“Vaccine is not a question of ideology for us, it’s a matter of saving lives.

“Around 700,000 have received the first shot of an eastern vaccine, so it’s easy to calculate in what a worst position we would have been if we had not bought Chinese and Russian vaccines.”

In a blunt attack on Brussels, he added: “We have never made a question of ideology out of the issue of the vaccine.

“A huge mistake which was committed in, let’s say, other parts of Europe, was that a question of ideology was made out of the issue of the vaccines.

“I wouldn’t say a bad word… if they had not attacked us for looking for different directions.

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“That was the most frustrating that while it became obvious that the shipments managed and coordinated by Brussels are not satisfactory, we were under attack by the same people, by the same bureaucrats, by the same politicians [because] we want to buy additional vaccines for our own people.”

Mr Szijiarto said the bloc’s rules allow for member states to grant medical approval for emergency medicines before an official united stance on the drug.

He added: “That’s what made us a little bit fed up that the way Hungary has approved Sputnik was considered in the western part of Europe, and the global media, as we had made something against the European regulations which is not true.”

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He argued his country was used to seeing western member states follow Hungary’s approach after an initial campaign against the country’s strategy.

He said: “We are actually used to that.

“Whatever we are doing here in Hungary is immediately attacked, and a couple of months or years after everybody follows.

“Of course, no one gives the credit to us for being the first, but this is not how politics works.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is considering the Russian jab for approval.

But on Sunday, European Commissioner Thierry Breton said the bloc does not “need” any more vaccines to fight the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Breton argued the doses secured by the EU for the second quarter of the year will be sufficient to vaccinate 70 percent of European citizens by mid-July.

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