Fidesz: No Need to Amend Citizenship Law

(MTI) – Hungary’s protections against citizenship abuses are effective, the head of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee said on Thursday, ruling out any amendment of the relevant law.

The number of Hungarian citizenships issued illegally was not in the range of tens of thousands as press reports suggest, Zsolt Nemeth said after a joint session of the foreign affairs, law enforcement and national security committees. Wherever abuses in the process were found, authorities filed the cases with the police, he told a news conference.

The number of criminal reports is between 100 and 200. Hungary withdrew citizenship in 22 cases and investigations are still under way in some other cases, Nemeth said.

The joint session came after news portal index.hu last week reported that a large-scale “mafia network” has been set up specialised in obtaining Hungarian citizenship with false documents by abusing the 2010 law that enabled ethnic Hungarians abroad to obtain citizenship in a fast-track procedure.

Head of the national security committee Zsolt Molnar, of the opposition Socialists, said after the meeting that the problems are associated with the citizenship granting procedures and not with the institution of dual citizenship itself. Stricter rules should be implemented, especially when it comes to checking the language skills of the applicant, he added.

Defence and law enforcement committee member Agnes Vadai, of the opposition DK, said that eligibility checks should be tightened up and this means extra work for the Hungarian secret services. It may be necessary to carry out checks with retroactive effect, she added.

National security committee member Bernadett Szel of the green LMP party said that it is not necessary to introduce restrictions in the citizenship procedure but checks must be kept at a high level to handle existing problems effectively.

Photo: Daily News Hungary