Hungarians from Baranja (Drávaszög), in Croatia, who voted in Hungary’s recent general election, showed that “the mother country can rely on Hungarians beyond the border, and they can continue to rely on the support of the mother country,” Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said on Thursday.
After talks with Robert Jankovics, head of the Democratic Union of Hungarians of Croatia, Szijjártó told a joint press conference in Bilje (Bellye) that voters had been called on to make a decision concerning war and peace. It was important that on a matter “concerning the fate of the nation”, all members of the nation should be able to participate, he added.
He accused the left-wing opposition of planning to withdraw the right to vote by members of the Hungarian communities beyond the border.
Szijjártó noted that the Fidesz-led alliance had received a record number of votes from Hungary’s near abroad, and this was also true of Croatia. Some 390 ballot papers were submitted at the consulate general in Osijek (Eszék), twice as many as four years ago, he said.
The government will continue to finance educational, cultural and church institutions for Hungarian communities in Croatia, he said.
Three new Hungarian kindergartens and a culture centre will be built,
and the scholarship system for students of Hungarian schools will be maintained, he said.
Szijjártó said an economic development scheme for Baranja, in Croatia, had been a success, profiting both ethnic Hungarians and Croatians living in the region. A total of 791 businesses have received a total of 4 billion forints (EUR 10.6bn), enabling investments worth 6.7 billion forints, he added. Support for an additional 84 small farmers and agricultural businesses amounting to 430 million forints will induce investments worth 700 million forints, he said.
The minister said cooperation between Hungary and Croatia in minority protection “sets an example to the whole of the European Union”, enabling the countries “to find rational solutions based on mutual respect in difficult matters that crop up from time to time”.
“The stronger the neighbour the better things go for us,”
he added. Jankovics thanked Hungary for support it provided during the coronavirus epidemic and after the large earthquake of 2020. The support system of the Hungarian government has enabled members of the Hungarian community in Croatia to be stronger and more united, he said.