25th weekly media review of hungarian communities abroad


Published on

25th Weekly Media Review of Hungarian Communities Abroad
Heti nemzetpolitikai összefoglaló (25.hét)

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

25th weekly media review of hungarian communities abroad

  1. 1. Weekly Media Reviewof HungarianCommunities Abroad25/2011
  2. 2. Hungarian-Slovenian Committee on Minorities HungaryDeputy state secretary for Hungarian communities abroad Zsuzsanna Répás called thescheduled one-day negotiation with the Slovenian delegation on minority issuessubstantial and fruitful after the meeting of the Hungarian-Slovenian Mixed MinorityCommittee. The Slovenian co-chair Boris Jesih state secretary similarly praised the pow-wow and envisaged a co-operation agreement. Répás welcomed that the minority policyof the two nations keeps the right way. The negotiation took place in an openatmosphere of constructive cooperation that enabled the parties to discuss evensensitive issues. The small minority communities of the two countries need the supportof the kin-states, since they are extremely exposed to ethnic diminishing, said Répás. Theleader of the Office for Slovenians living abroad and in diaspora said at the pressconference that Slovenia was committed to the cause of minorities from the outset thatwas truly demonstrated by concluding the minority agreement first with Hungary. Transylvania - ErdélyHeightened responsesAccording to deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén, the PDL-proposed division ofRomania’s regions represents an intentional and unacceptable change of the country’sethnic map. The new proposed arrangement poses a serious threat to the survival ofHungarians in Szeklerland and Transylvania, said the minister in charge of the policy ofHungarian communities abroad. Similar plans had surfaced in the past, and it was hard totell amid the current “stormy” political circumstances how serious they were, Semjénadded. “It is a matter of life and death for the Hungarian minority that the historic regionof Szeklerland and Hungarian-populated counties should remain as one. Romania haseven undertaken international obligations not to change its ethnic map by force,” – theminister said. The plan evoked bad memories of anti-Hungarian measures during theCeauşescu rule when the autonomous Maros/Mures area was scrapped, Semjén said.Hungary’s position is that even if changes are introduced, the “reality” of Szeklerlandmust be respected, he added. Semjén insisted that if the co-ruling PDL party’s proposedmerger of existing counties were to go ahead, the proportion of Hungarians in the newadministrative units would drop dramatically, in some cases falling under the critical 20percent that would lead to losing special rights attached to minorities. Deputy statesecretary Zsuzsanna Répás signified the utmost support of the Hungarian governmentfor the unified standpoint of the Hungarian minority in Romania over the territorialreform plan that is exclusively represented by the draft law of the Democratic Union ofHungarians in Romania (RMDSZ). It must be emphasized that it is only the RMDSZ thathas officially submitted its own draft law to the parliament on the territorialreorganization of Romania, unlike other parties. The senator György Frunda called totask the Democrat-Liberals because they had failed to present a concrete plan or bill thatthe parties could negotiate upon. The official Romanian viewpoint following theHungarian deputy prime minister’s statements is that Hungary intervenes in Romania’s 2
  3. 3. internal affairs. Semjén’s words triggered criticism most notably from prime ministerEmil Boc and foreign minister Teodor Baconschi. The Hungarian ambassador inBucharest, Oszkár Füzes had been summoned to the foreign ministry. Baconschi askedHungary to communicate truthfully and to stop making “far-fetched” statements. “Unfor-tunately, provocative statements coming from Budapest have increased lately and theylook like an intrusion in some other’s state business”, said Baconschi. Füzes was told thatthe deputy minister’s attitude was “inappropriate” and “unorthodox”. In retort, theambassador said that Hungary’s interest in reorganization was natural. “We are askingwhat the plans of the Romanian government and parliament are (…). In my personalopinion, Hungary’s interest is natural because territorial reorganization is an importantmatter for the Hungarian community in Romania”, concluded Füzes. In his turn,Baconschi said he was amazed to see “useless emotional escalation and revival ofnationalist impulses which he thought were long gone.” In an interview, the ministerunderlined the fact that the administrative reform process is aimed at limitingbureaucracy and helping EU fund absorption and should not give birth to any suspicions.“Transforming the already existent development regions into eight large counties withtwo or three million residents each has nothing to do with keeping the identity of variousminorities. In this context, the minister condemned the “provocative” statements ofHungarian officials. Baconschi insisted however that Bucharest could not ever be atdiplomatic war with Budapest and underlined that the rights that the Hungarianminority enjoyed in Romania guaranteed that the community’s identity remained verymuch alive.It is alleged that the firm intention of president Traian Băsescu and the ruling coalitionmember PDL is to settle the regional re-division of the country prior to the 2012 localelections. Based on the PDL-proposed plan, the projected eight counties would havelegislative bodies, whereas in parallel the current managing bodies of the now 41counties would disappear, along with the opportunity of the RMDSZ to reproduce itspolitical power. If the “eight-counties plan was pushed through, there would be barely acounty where the Hungarians would form a majority in the legislative body. RMDSZobviously disapproves of the plan and even threatened to leave the government if theproject is pursued. However, it would be a bad scenario bearing in mind the PDL’sintention. Recently, several members of Szekler organizations also threatened to resortto peaceful street protests and civic insubordination if the government’s administrativereorganization plan is carried out. This political game is good for one thing for sure: theRMDSZ must not give up the coalition, even not for the Minorities’ Act and must notadopt the PDL’s administrative reform plan. The opposition’s popularity index standsnow at 60 percent that is to serve as an alternative for the current governance.Minorities’ ActRMDSZ is unhappy with the changes operated by the Human Rights Committee of theChamber of Deputies on certain articles of the bill and wants coalition talks on thesubject. The debate in the committee was postponed because of the differences betweenthe coalition parties. 3
  4. 4. “The draft law has been changed in ways we have never agreed on with PDL, and, untilthe situation is clarified in the coalition, the debates have been postponed,” explainedAndrás Máté, the leader of the RMDSZ deputies. Last Thursday, the Human RightsCommittee changed the draft Minorities Bill, establishing that the boundaries of theadministrative-territorial units where the minorities hold a significant weight may bealtered without infringing their rights. The RMDSZ representative on the CommitteeAttila Varga criticized the amendment and said the Union supported the initial text of Art.14 of the draft law, prohibiting the modification of the borders of the administrative-territorial units and of electoral constituencies against the national minoritiestraditionally inhabiting them. According to Attila Varga, the phrasing used by theCommittee is “inappropriate from a legal point of view and violates the FrameworkConvention on the Protection of Minorities”. RMDSZ president Hunor Kelemen expressedhis hope that the draft Minorities’ Law would not be blocked and that it would bedebated by the Chamber in plenary sitting this week. Moreover, Kelemen claims the lawcould be adopted before the end of June, according to its agreement with PDL.Presidential veto on the Act on Use of Minority Languages Slovakia - FelvidékLast Wednesday, president Ivan Gašparovič returned the amendment to the Act on Use ofMinority Languages back to Parliament. The legislation was passed by the Slovakparliament with 78 votes on 25 May, but the head of state assumes that the House shouldnot adopt it in its current version. Gašparovič supported his decision in 19 points. Thechief stricture was that several provisions of the act endows minority languages withequal rights in comparison to the state language. The president also noted that changesin the sphere of the use of minority languages should have been carried out via adoptinga new law, rather than via amending the old one. The final version of the amendment isquite different from the original proposal that was drafted by vice-prime minister RudolfChmel. This was due to a number of objections raised by Igor Matovic, independent MPand leader of the Ordinary Peoples faction. Gašparovič is unsatisfied with the proposed15-percent threshold for the official use of minority languages in ethnically mixed townsand villages that could only be applied after the next population census. Prior to thepresidential veto, the Hungarian state secretary for Hungarian communities abroadexpressed heavy criticism over the amended act. Though, the cause for dissatisfactionwas drawn upon different aspects. The law henceforward maintains the atmosphere ofintimidation and vagueness. Many provisions of the act are of an optional, not of aprescriptive nature and the amendment upholds provisions, which place users ofminority languages at a disadvantage. Inter alia, it is still not an obligation to employ astaff that speaks the minority language. where nationalities on the grounds of theirpopulation quota are entitled to use their native tongue. The amendment to the actdefines a timeframe for the administration procedure in minority language that isconceived of a serious setback increasing the exposure of minorities. Furthermore, theobligation of subtitling minority language TV programmes on state language is assessed 4
  5. 5. not just as discriminative but as an effort that is aimed at making minority commercialbroadcasting impossible, which causes competitive economic disadvantage forminorities. The provision demanding the consent of all local policemen being involved ina case to use minority language is unacceptable, in some cases even humiliating. TheHungarian government therefore stresses the absurdity of the amended act and willsubmit its remarks to international forums (OSCE High Commissioner on NationalMinorities, Council of Europe). The Slovak parliament may discuss again the returnedamendment only after 28 June when the next session commences.Radičová – Orbán meetingFollowing the V4 summit in Pozsony/Bratislava on Thursday, prime minister IvetaRadičová said at a meeting with her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán that sheresolutely rejected and condemned recent misrepresentations involving Slovak historymade by the Hungarian House Speaker László Kövér for a Czech daily. Inter alia, Kövérsaid that Slovakia brutally changed the Hungarian-Slovak border when constructing theGabcikovo/Bős-Nagymaros dam; adding that Hungary could have responded militarily atthe time. Radičová said that she viewed Kövérs words as insulting. She called upon theHungarian side to make sure that such manners never occur again. "Never ever again.Because it is a serious obstacle in maintaining good neighbourly relations," – emphasisedRadičová; adding that she requested Orbán to convey her message in his homeland.Orbán assured Radičová that his government would do its utmost to maintain thefriendship between the two neighbouring nations, but deemed the words of the primeminister heavy. He expressed his respect to all good-hearted Slovaks.The Hungarian prime minister met Hungarian Coalition Party (MKP) leader JózsefBerényi in the course of his official visit to Slovakia. The leaders held consultation on thematter of the act on use of minority languages, on dual citizenship and on the evaluationof transborder co-operation projects.Serbia stands by Slovakia SerbiaThe Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremič understands the misgiving of the Slovakpolitical elite related to the prospective voting rights for Hungarians living in Slovakia.The politician noted during his visit to Pozsony/Bratislava that the Serbian governmentwas not opposed to the practice of dual citizenship, since Serbia also granted Serbiancitizenship to its kin fellows living abroad. However, it is important to hold dialogueswith countries concerned before adopting an act of such a high importance, stressed theminister. European regulations covering voting rights for citizens living abroad is not arecent development, and indeed not a political invention of Hungary. For the majority ofcountries – including Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and France –the only precondition for the right to vote is valid citizenship. In other words, there is noneed for someone to have a registered residence in their country of citizenship in order 5
  6. 6. to vote in that country. The statement of the Serbian foreign minister is unexpected inthe light of the facts. Both, Serbia and Slovakia can be classified into the group of statesthat provide voting rights for their nationals holding dual citizenship, but without apermanent residence in the country. Slovakia recognized dual citizenship until the statepassed a law on 7 July, 2010 prohibiting and punishing the acquisition of a secondcitizenship. The political alliance between Serbia and Slovakia is evidently cemented bythe Slovak rejection of the independent legal status of Kosovo. However, a strategicpartnership binds Serbia to Hungary as well as the latter contributes to pave the way ofSerbia into the European Union. Transcarpathia - KárpátaljaSeething SzvobodaThe far right Szvoboda party demands the intervention of the authorities against theresolution of the district council of Beregszász/Berehova that endorsed the playing of theHungarian anthem beside the Ukrainian one at the beginning of the sitting of the body ofrepresentatives. The party’s Transylvanian county organization called upon theUkrainian president, the parliament, the national secret service (SZBU) and the stateprosecution in its statement to respond without delay to the unconstitutional decision ofthe district council. “We consider the decision as a further assault against the Ukrainianstatehood, being part of a series of attacks that has been exercising by chauvinistHungarian circles in Transcarpathia for 20 years. ” – stands in the announcement of thenationalist party. The writing also stated that should the requested institutions remainsilent in the matter this time again, the party would start a drive for a protest campaignin the defence of Ukrainian interests. 6