The Hungarian government will provide a total of 5.4 billion forints (EUR 17.4m) in support to ethnic Hungarian farmers and small and medium-sized companies in southern Slovakia this year, the foreign minister said in Bratislava on Tuesday.
The economic development programme will support more than 1,500 local ethnic Hungarian farmers and SMEs, Péter Szijjártó said after talks with leaders of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian party MKP.
“These numbers speak for themselves,” Szijjártó said at a joint press conference with MKP leader József Menyhárt. He said that besides benefitting ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia, the programme would also benefit Hungarian-Slovak relations and the Slovak economy.
The minister said Hungary and Slovakia had made progress on several matters concerning Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian community.
These include the display of dual-language signs at train stations, the situation of ethnic Hungarian schools and the use of the Hungarian language in civil procedures, he said.
But there are also areas in which progress is lacking, Szijjártó said. He added, however, that “sensitive issues” would also be discussed in due time, because the success enjoyed by Hungary and Slovakia allow for this. Timing, however, is crucial, so as to avoid “destroying” the two countries’ achievements, the minister argued.
Menyhárt talked about the accomplishments of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarians over the past year and their plans for 2018. Among the community’s achievements, he mentioned the Hungarian government’s kindergarten and economic development programmes.