- The Government of Hungary declared state of danger on 11 March 2020 via Government Decree 40/2020. (III. 11.). The state of danger extends to the entire territory of Hungary for the elimination of the consequences of the human epidemic endangering life and property and causing massive disease outbreaks.
- In response to the pandemic situation, DLA Piper Hungary has launched a new series called ‘Special Legal Order and the State of Danger in Hungary‘, through which Noémi Radnai and Gábor Papp, legal experts of the firm summarize the special legislation issued during the emergency period.
- The first part of the series explored the basics related to the state of danger, and the second part provided a summary of the Government Decrees issued by the Government of Hungary under the state of danger between 11 and 31 March 2020. The below summary covers the period between 1 and 15 April 2020 – please note that the below offers a high-level overview rather than a comprehensive summary and cannot be considered legal advice.
1. Government Decree 81/2020 (1 April)
- Extends the duration of certain measures adopted during the state of danger until the end of the state of danger.
- The Prime Minister remains responsible for the elimination of the state of danger (assisted by the Operative Corps).
- Higher education institutions still cannot be visited by students.
- The identity documents of Hungarian citizens do not expire until 15 days after the end of the state of danger.
- Foreign citizens, with certain exceptions, may not enter the territory of Hungary.
- Hungarian citizens, upon arrival to the territory of Hungary via passenger transport, shall be exposed to an obligatory health check, and depending on the outcome of the examination shall be quarantined at a designated facility or at home.
- The Hungarian Defence Forces shall assist the Police in enforcing the special legal order.
2. Government Decree 82/2020 (3 April)
- In case of procurements of medical devices or protective equipment conducted by a central budgetary institution or a state-controlled company for the fulfilment of country-wide supply needs, if such medical devices and protective equipment are being transported to the warehouse of the National Healthcare Services Center, the organization conducting the procurement shall be considered a representative of the National Healthcare Services Center.
3. Government Decree 83/2020 (3 April)
- During the period of state of danger, the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition shall not examine the evidence of payment of the administrative service fee as a prerequisite for the assessment of the application if the application is submitted to have the authority make, for supply reasons, a decision for the purpose of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, or if the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition issues an authority decision applicable for a fixed period not exceeding six months.
- The Minister of Interior and the Minister of Human Capacities may, until the end of the period of state of danger at the latest, have access to, and may process, personal data processed by patient care providers and the healthcare state administration organ, or in the National eHealth Infrastructure, through its operator.
- Adult persons participating in secondary or higher-level vocational education and training in healthcare may be involved in performing tasks relating to the health crisis.
- By way of derogation from their authorisations, authorised warehouse keepers under Act LXVIII of 2016 on excise tax shall be allowed to manufacture disinfectants having the composition specified in the provisional authorisation for biocidal product issued by the competent national authority under Article 55 (1) of Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 from alcohol products without partial denaturation. The authorised warehouse keeper shall, without amending its tax warehouse authorisation, notify the state customs and tax authority of such manufacturing no later than 12 hours before its planned commencement.
4. Government Decree 84/2020 (3 April)
Lays down derogations applicable to the provision of postal services during the period of state of danger.
- Items that cannot be delivered by way of a letterbox shall not be delivered by the postal service provider to the specified location if it is registered by the epidemiological authority as a place of isolation, observation or quarantine during the period of quarantine; instead, it shall be held at the disposal of an authorised person not subject to quarantine at the delivery point, and after the expiry of the holding period, the rules on undeliverability shall apply.
- In case of delivery by the universal postal service provider, items sent only with delivery as registered mail shall be placed into the letterbox and the fact of the delivery shall be recorded without the recipient’s signature. An item of correspondence, official document, or postal parcel, sent with advice of delivery or declaration of value shall be delivered by verifying the data necessary for identification of the recipient while maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters, and personally recording the details of the recipient, without recording the recipient’s signature.
- In case of delivery by postal services replacing universal postal services and to postal services not replacing universal postal services, the postal service provider shall be authorised to deliver registered postal items to the addressee without personal hand-over. In this case, the postal service provider shall deliver, after establishing personal contact, the item at the address or delivery point, verifying the required data of the recipient while maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters, and personally recording the details of the recipient, without recording the recipient’s signature.
5. Government Decree 85/2020
- A third-country national who has been expelled in relation to epidemiological offences under the Criminal Code may not request immediate protection measures during the judicial review of the administrative decision ordering such expulsion.
- Residence permits issued under Act I of 2007 on the entry and stay of persons with the right of free movement and residence and Act II of 2007 on the entry and stay of third-country nationals shall be valid until after 45 days of the expiry of the state of danger. The suspension of procedures under these laws shall be extended until the expiry of the state of danger.
- Providing inaccurate statistical data or information in response to a request by a body entitled to take action in connection with the state of danger constitutes a misdemeanour offence. The related fine may range from HUF 5,000 to HUF 500,000.
- Hearings in misdemeanour procedures shall be conducted via a telecommunication device, with the proviso that witness testimonies may be submitted in writing. If either of this is not possible, the court or authority conducting the procedure may suspend proceedings for up to three months.
- It also introduces provisions relating to the central budgetary reporting of municipalities, and the service duties of law enforcement and government officials.
6. Government Decree 86/2020
- During the state of danger, in the course of identification of critical infrastructures, the Minister of Defence recommends, designates and registers critical infrastructures, while also coordinating their supervision.
- Identification of critical infrastructures takes place ex officio. An identification report is not a prerequisite for the commencement of the identification procedure. The Minister of Defence decides on the designation within two days of the commencement of the procedure.
- The Minister of Defence shall decide on the designation of the critical infrastructure, set a deadline for the development of a security plan and impose conditions on the operator related to the protection of the critical infrastructure, considering its specific characteristics and environment and the extent of potential hazard.
- Under the Decree, the review of the decision of the Minister of Defence (judicial or non-judicial) is not provided for.
- Also contains provisions relating to the service duties of Hungarian Defence Force officials.
7. Government Decree 87/2020 (5 April)
During the period of state of danger, no waiting fee shall be paid for using for waiting with a vehicle the waiting areas of local public roads, and publicly accessible private roads, squares, parks and other public spaces owned by a local government, and national public roads, and publicly accessible private roads, squares, parks and other public spaces owned by the State.
8. Government Decree 88/2020 (5 April)
- Contains further provisions relating to social and child protection services.
9. Government Decree 89/2020 (5 April)
- Contains provisions relating to mutual assistance in criminal matters.
10. Government Decree 90/2020 (5 April)
- Contains provisions relating to the enforcement of criminal sentences.
11. Government Decree 91/2020 (5 April)
- Relates to the use of Széchenyi Pihenő Card (a popular way of providing fringe benefits to employees in Hungary) during the state of danger.
- Until after 60 days from the expiry of the state of danger, the payment service provider may not charge the employee a fee for the unused funds transferred as a benefit to the Széchenyi Pihenő Card.
- The payment service provider shall inform the cardholder within 15 days after the end of the state of danger of the amount of the fee for unused funds applicable from the 61st day after the end of the emergency.
12. Government Decree 92/2020 (7 April)
- Contains further detailed provisions for derogation from Act LXXI of 2019 on the central budget of Hungary for the year 2020 with a view to providing funds for measures required for the elimination of state of danger.
- It also allows for derogation from Act CXCV of 2011 on public finances and the provisions of law relating to the National Employment Fund.
13. Government Decree 93/2020 (7 April)
- The Operative Corps may request data from any organization in order to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in order to coordinate the performance of epidemic-related tasks of state actors. The organization must comply with the request free of charge.
- By force of this Decree, the Operative Corps is entitled to process personal data of persons suspected to have contracted COVID-19 and their contacts with a view to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to coordinate the performance of epidemic-related tasks of state actors.
- The Minister responsible for transportation, by force of an individual decision, may determine a special transportation order, transportation limitation or transportation ban. In case the decision concerns cross-border transportation, the agreement of the Minister responsible for border control is required. Under the Decree, the review of such decision (judicial or non-judicial) is not provided for.
14. Government Decree 94/2020 (7 April)
- The designating authority of critical infrastructures decides to include the operator in the registry of operators providing essential services in case the operator fulfils certain criteria.
- The operator, in case of a catastrophe or a threat of catastrophe, shall notify the disaster management authority, and, in case of a critical infrastructure, the Hungarian Defence Forces without delay.
15. Government Decree 95/2020 (9 April)
- Extends the restriction of movement until withdrawal. The Government reviews the decision on a weekly basis.
- During the extended period of the restriction of movement, the rules of the Decree shall apply subject to the derogation that the local municipality may lay down arrangements for the opening hours of a market operating in its territory, and arrangements for access to the market by persons who are over the age 65. A timespan within the opening hours of the market shall be specified during which only persons over the age of 65 are allowed to visit the market.
- The local municipalities may specify stricter rules for the time of the Easter holidays.
16. Government Decree 96/2020 (10 April)
- Higher education students are entitled to further credit to cover their living expenses.
17. Government Decree 97/2020 (10 April)
- During the state of danger, the favourable tax measures stipulated in Government Decree 47/2020 (18 March) and Government Decree 61/2020 (23 March) extend to further businesses (for example, wineries and beer manufacturers).
18. Government Decree 98/2020 (10 April)
- Contains derogations from the rules relating to certain subsidies received on the basis of the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the European Cohesion Fund.
19. Government Decree 99/2020 (10 April)
- Defines derogations relating to the compassionate use of investigational medicinal products and medicinal products which do not have a marketing authorization.
20. Government Decree 100/2020 (10 April)
- Provides for ease of access to medicinal oxygen by residents of residential social institutions.
21. Government Decree 101/2020 (10 April)
- Defines operational rules for higher education institutions for the period of state of danger.
22. Government Decree 102/2020 (10 April)
- Contains important derogations from rules relating to the operation of companies, legal entities and organizations without a legal personality.
- The Decree regulates – among others – the following:
- Convening, holding and conducting the meeting of the decision-making body of the legal person during the emergency, the rules of decision-making;
- Holding the meeting of the decision-making body of the legal person by electronic means of communication, written consultation, written decision-making;
- The decision of the management of the legal entity on the acceptance of the annual report, the use of the after-tax profit and the urgent issues necessary for the decision-making body to maintain the legal operation of the legal entity, manage the situation in relation to the state of danger, and sound and responsible management;
- Special rules for state-controlled companies;
- Special rules for the operation of public limited companies.
23. Government Decree 103/2020 (10 April)
- Upon request, the Government Office, acting in its scope of employment authority, provides support to organizations employing scientific researchers and developers (excluding budgetary institutions).
24. Government Decree 104/2020 (10 April)
- Allows for derogations from the Labour Code: during the state of danger, the employer may order allocated cumulative working time for a maximum of 24 months. Collective agreements do not apply under the scope of this Decree.
25. Government Decree 105/2020 (10 April)
- Introduces the concept of reduced working time: as per the amendment of the employment contract, it means part-time work averaging at least half of the working time according to the employment contract before the amendment, but not exceeding seventy percent, corresponding to working hours of at least four hours per day.
- In case the employee is employed in reduced working time, the Government Office, acting in its power of public employment body, provides support to the employee at the joint request of the employee and the employer for economic reasons related to the state of danger.
- The duration of the support is three months.
- The rate of the allowance shall be seventy percent of the monthly absence fee (decreased by the personal income tax advance and contributions determined in accordance with the general rules) proportional to the thirty, forty or fifty percent of working time by which the working time of the employee has been reduced.
26. Government Decree 106/2020 (10 April)
- Modifies the monthly credit limit higher education students are entitled to (HUF 150,000).
27. Government Decree 107/2020 (10 April)
- Contains rules relating to temporary state subsidies which qualify as state subsidies under EU law and shall be provided in coherence with European Commission Communication C(2020) 1863 final on the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
28. Government Decree 108/2020 (14 April)
- Introduces an extraordinary tax obligation for credit institutions.
29. Government Decree 109/2020 (14 April)
- Introduces an extraordinary tax obligation for retail traders.
30. Government Decree 114/2020 (15 April)
- Extends the duration of state support provided for language examinations and transportation (rules of the road) examinations in relation to the state of danger.
31. Government Decree 115/2020 (15 April)
- Contains rules for road passenger transport operators relating to mail-order trade carried out for the purpose of supplying the population.
- Those pursuing this activity shall be subject to favourable tax rules.
32. Government Decree 116/2020 (15 April)
- Provides extra support for team sports organizations.
33. Government Decree 117/2020 (15 April)
- Introduces the development of the premises of the National Film Institute as an “investment of paramount importance for the national economy”. (Matters belonging to this category enjoy various privileges.)
Authors: Gábor Papp and Noémi Radnai