Playing the Hungarian National Anthem was forbidden before. However, from 15 May, even singing the anthem will be punishable by a EUR 7,000 fine, for example, at football matches or school celebrations. In Slovakia, there are half a million Hungarians living in one block in the southern part of the country, and this is not the first law depriving them of basic rights. According to the inter-ethnic Híd-Most party, however, they will solve the problem soon.
Law against a Hungarian football club in Slovakia
According to the newly accepted law, a foreign country’s national anthem cannot be sung or played in Slovakia unless an official delegation of that state is present – reported parameter.sk. In fact, the Slovak National Council approved the bill with a huge majority. During the parliamentary debate,
only Ondrej Dostál from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS, opposition) raised a voice against the rigidity of the bill
and proposed the abolishment of the ban on singing and playing anthems if no official delegation is present. Dušan Tittel from the Slovak National Party (government) replied that “I recommend that you go to Dunaszerdahely to watch a football game; I’d love to go with you, especially when the 9,000 fans of the DAC start singing the Hungarian anthem. We can try it, but I don’t think it would make you feel good.”
This is because it is a tradition among the fans of the football club to sing the anthem before each match. In fact, even though Dunaszerdahely is now in Slovakia, 75 pc of the locals are Hungarians, and their football club (FC DAC) is a kind of symbol of the half a million Hungarians living in the country. Importantly, these Hungarians did not choose to move to Slovakia – the great powers changed the borders after WWI and WWII, and nobody asked them or their ancestors whether they wanted to become citizens of Czechoslovakia or Slovakia. Therefore,
the new law can be considered as Lex DAC.
Below, you can find a video of how the national anthem sounded after FC DAC defeated Slovan Bratislava. The victory was important for the fans because FC Slovan is considered to be the “national” Slovak club:
It was even harsher before
SNS even wanted to fine individuals
for singing a foreign national anthem, but thanks to an amendment of Dostál, the accepted law applies only to corporate bodies like schools, football clubs or NGOs.
In Slovakia, there is an ethnic Hungarian party (not present in the parliament) and a Slovak-Hungarian, Híd-Most (meaning ‘bridge’) inter-ethnic political party (present in the parliament). The latter is even a member of the governing coalition of SNS and the social-democrats (Smer), and they have, of course, ethnic Hungarian MPs as well. However, probably out of blind trust in their coalition partner, SNS, only two of them abstained, the others present on the sitting voted for the bill. Only Ondrej Dostál and his SaS group voted against the bill.
Legal expert Lajos Mészáros Jnr. said that it depends on the local authorities whether they start a procedure if somebody breaks the law. This is because penalising is not compulsory; it is only a “possibility”.
Will there be a satisfying solution soon?
The ethnic Hungarian party of Slovakia, the Party of the Hungarian Community, said that they would ask President Andrej Kiska not to sign the law. Furthermore, they will start to collect signatures for the free use of Hungarian national symbols in Slovakia – felvidek.ma reported. Meanwhile, according to Új Szó, Béla Bugár, chairman of Híd-Most, agreed with Kiska, and
the president will veto the law.
Furthermore, parliamentary group leader of Híd-Most Tibor Bastrnák agreed with his SNS counterpart to modify the law. MPs of the party asked for forgiveness from Hungarians living in Slovakia.
The Hungarian government condemned the acceptance of the law. Foreign minister Péter Szijjártó talked with his Slovak counterpart, Miroslav Lajcák, and said that they would find a satisfying solution soon – felvidek.ma said. The biggest opposition party, Jobbik, demands the
immediate revocation of the law
and proposes the hibernation of the bilateral relationships until that happens – reported azonnali.hu. The Hungarian green party, LMP, would like to turn to the European Council saying that, in this case, there is no way for opportunism. Momentum said that they join the youth organisation of Jobbik in protesting against the law. According to the Democratic Coalition, everybody should sing the anthem they want while Dialogue for Hungary also condemned the law. The Socialists asked the governing Slovak Socialists (Smer) why they supported the bill.
Source: parameter.sk, azonnali.hu, felvidek.ma, Új Szó