We don’t pass anymore! Since 1er September, Hungary closed its borders to all foreigners. Hungarians returning from another country will have to undergo 14 days of isolation and provide two negative Covid tests to return home.
But there are exceptions, especially for business travelers, says Jeanne Dubard. The Frenchwoman has lived in Budapest since the 90s. “Hungary does not want to come to a complete stop, it needs the economy to continue and function as well as possible and people to be able to work. “
The international community accuses Prime Minister Victor Orbán of using the pandemic as an alibi to further isolate his country politically.
A conviction for having banned the Central European University (CEU), forced to leave Budapest last year for Austria. Jeanne Dubard puts it into perspective:
“Everyone is politically profiting from the Covid for a lot of things. Many countries are starting to close and impose a quarantine. Orbán, I don’t know what his game is, but he has no interest in locking himself up, rather in doing be careful because everyone is watching him and is on his guard. “
Born in Dijon, graduated in law, Jeanne Dubard began her career in a large law firm in Chicago, in the United States, before being hired in Budapest by an American audit company.
Now retired, elected advisor to French people living abroad, she notes that here too, many professions are bloodless:
Hungary refuses tourists, there are no more in Budapest, all the restaurants are a little empty. Many people who lived in this area are not going to resume. It is really a part of the economy that has suffered extremely.
“In sanitary or IT, on the other hand, it held up better. In marketing, people stopped, there were no expenses, no investments” , adds the Frenchwoman.
Especially since in Hungary, the pandemic is far from over: “The virus is circulating all over the country, whereas before it was rather only in Budapest. Wearing a mask is strict in bars, restaurants and public transport because the fines are high. had no restriction but it’s starting. “
Foreign companies established in Hungary benefited, but only until September, from some government aid: partial unemployment or moratorium on loan repayments and charges. French companies have done the big thing, but few of them have left the country so far.
The recovery will be very slow. There are a lot of big investors in Hungary. They will ensure that it picks up and the smaller entrepreneurs whose clients are multinationals will pick up slowly.
The number of French people in Hungary is estimated at 3,500 to 4,000, with large groups in the environment, banking, agribusiness, distribution or a Vinci subsidiary which is building part of the Budapest metro.
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Find this portrait on the website, the app and in the international mobility magazine French abroad
TheUFE Hungary (Union of French Abroad)