The Hungarian practice of promoting the rights of national minorities “model for Europe”

Hungary’s practice of promoting the rights of national minorities is a “model for Europe”, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies László Köver said on Tuesday at a conference held in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

Addressing the conference, held under the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of Europe, Köver noted that the Hungarian constitution recognizes the 13 ethnic minorities of Hungary as constituents of the state, and said that the indigenous minorities have the right to form autonomous governments, while the Hungarian state encouraged these governments with funds every year.

Concerning the Hungarian communities outside the country, the politician of Fidesz declared “that they fought the most in Europe to obtain the right to their national identity”. They have retained their national identity while “being loyal and hardworking citizens of the countries in which they live”.

Köver noted as an exemplary attitude that the Hungarian government had earmarked almost 1 percent of the central budget to support ethnic parents abroad.

In a spirit of European solidarity, Hungary has granted safe refuge to war refugees in the former Yugoslavia and has provided medical care to wounded Ukrainian soldiers and coronavirus patients from Romania, he said.

Hungary and the Hungarian ethnic minorities, however, do not enjoy similar solidarity, Köver said. As an example, he said that “while the current Ukrainian government intimidates and takes hostages the 160,000 ethnic Hungarians who live there, the Hungarian government recognizes the Ukrainian minority as a constituent of the state”.

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The law makes the use of the Ukrainian language compulsory in virtually all circumstances, with the exception of private conversations and religious ceremonies.

Köver called national identity a basis for the diversity of Europe and an indispensable condition for the existence of nations.

“We Hungarians and the overwhelming majority of other Europeans would like to live in a strong Europe based on the cooperation of sovereign nations building on their traditions and cultures, rather than in a post-Christian, post-national empire,” did he declare.

Köver noted that the Forum of Hungarian Carpathian Basin Legislators (KMKF) representing millions of ethnic Hungarians initiated in May 2020 the recognition of the right to national identity as a basic human right.

Illustrative photo presented by Dávid Pólya-Pető / National Assembly Press Office