Relations among Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin have been better and more successful over the past four years than at any other point in the last century, Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér said opening the plenary session of the Hungarian Parliamentary Assembly of the Carpathian Basin (KMKF) in Budapest on Friday.
Even the opposition parties that have “psychologically and politically moved on from the era of post-communism” view Hungarian communities beyond the border and now see them as assets, just as Hungary’s ruling parties do, Kövér said.
The speaker said that over the past four years, ethnic Hungarian political groups have developed new forms of cooperation with each other. During this period, central and eastern European countries also gradually formed a new kind of cooperation, Kövér said.
“The novelty of this new relationship is rooted in the psychological and political recognition that we, the peoples of this region will not be anyone’s servants — of either our western or eastern friends,” he added.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told the meeting that the core principle of the government’s policy for Hungarian communities beyond the border was that it was not the government’s job to say what is good for them but it was for the communities to tell the government what is in their interests.
The minister said that when deciding on and developing its related strategy, the government has four principles in mind.
Hungarian communities beyond the borders should have good relations between their birthplace and the motherland, and the Hungarian government, parliament and politicians should help to strengthen Hungarian communities beyond the borders where they live. They should be seen as a resource, he said, adding that if they need protection, the government should resort to mobilising international pressure.
Assessing ties with neighboring countries, Szijjártó said Hungarian-Slovak relations had never been as good or balanced as they are today.
In Serbia, however, with a few exceptions, the rights of the Hungarian community are far from being upheld, he said.
With regard to Romania, Szijjártó welcomed the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic high school in Targu Mures (Marosvásárhely) and the fact that it had been possible to resolve “a previously irreversible national minority issue”. He congratulated the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) for its efforts.
Ties with Slovenia and Croatia are balanced, even if there are several economic disputes with Croatia, he said.
Szijjártó also referred to the Ukrainian education law, noting that Hungary had firmly supported Ukraine’s aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration. But given that the law harms the rights of national minorities in violation of Ukraine’s bilateral and international obligations, Hungary will continue to thwart the country’s international aspirations unless an agreement with Transcarpathian Hungarians is reached and they are satisfied, the minister said.
Szijjártó also noted cross-border economic development schemes under way that have attracted almost 25,600 applications, and small and medium-sized businesses have received support of 28,8 billion forints (EUR 93m).
Featured image: MTI