null Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary holds work meeting with head of Austrian Ombudsman Board

Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary Dr. Ákos Kozma paid an official visit to the head of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, Secretary-General of the International Ombudsman Institution (IOI) Ms. Gaby Schwarz in Vienna on 30 October 2023.  At the work meeting, the closure of the road section between Somfalva (Schattendorf) and Ágfalva (Agendorf), among others, was discussed.

Earlier, some Hungarian citizens turned to Dr. Ákos Kozma with their complaint that the public road connecting the Austrian village Schattendorf with the settlement of Ágfalva on the Hungarian side, whose construction had been co-funded by the European Union, was first closed from motor vehicle traffic by the municipality of the Austrian Schattendorf in the morning and evening hours in January 2023, thus preventing the Hungarian citizens working in Austria from reaching their workplaces, then this road was completely closed down from 1 March 2023, by referring to road construction works.

According to the decision adopted by the Schattendorf municipality, the use of the road was only permitted at request, on the basis of a special assessment, by introducing further restrictions after 1 July 2023, by tying the permission of the use of the road section to the payment of a predefined fee.

With regard to the fact that the measures restricting the entry of Hungarian nationals to Austria involve the threat of the violation of the fundamental right to the free movement of persons and labour force,  in his letter of August 2023, Dr. Ákos Kozma asked the head of the Austrian Ombudsman Board Ms. Gaby Schwarz for information on whether the Austrian ombudsman’s office had launched an investigation into the measures already implemented, and those planned to be implemented by the municipality of Schattendorf, and if so, when and with what content. If such has not happened, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary asked his Austrian colleague to conduct an investigation with a view to finding a solution that is acceptable for the citizens of both countries.

At the work meeting, Ms. Gaby Schwarz informed Dr. Ákos Kozma on the current status of the investigation. The Hungarian ombudsman asked the participation of his Austrian colleague in finding a solution to the problem that is reassuring for the citizens of both countries.

In the framework of the coordination meeting, an agreement on the further strengthening of the cooperation between the Hungarian and Austrian ombudsman institutions was also reached. Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary Dr. Ákos Kozma expressed the Hungarian ombudsman institution’s intention to continue playing an active role in the work of IOI in the future as well.