Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

Orban upsets neighbours by call for Hungarian minority self-rule

  • Orban's words earned a rebuke in Warsaw (Photo: kormany.hu)

Hungary’s ambassador to Ukraine was summoned by the foreign ministry in Kiev on Tuesday (May 13) to explain what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban meant when he spoke of a special status for Hungarian minorities in the region.

Orban, who was re-elected for a second term in April, said in his inauguration speech that ethnic Hungarians who live in neighbouring countries in the Carpathian Basin are entitled to special rights.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Highlighting the fate of some 200,000 Hungarians in Ukraine, he noted that they must be granted dual citizenship, full minority rights, and the right to self-administration.

"This is our clear expectation from the new Ukraine,” Orban said.

He added that the "Hungarian issue has been unresolved since the Second World War” and that “the Hungarian issue is a European issue”.

Large Hungarian communities live in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine after a peace treaty in 1920 sliced off large chunks of formerly Hungarian territory.

For his part, Orban’s foreign minister, Janos Martonyi, was already forced to jutsify his PM’s statements in the margins of a meeting with his EU colleagues in Brussels on Monday.

Croatian daily Jutarnji List had earlier slammed Orban's comments as being similar to Russian President Vladimir Putin's line on protecting ethnic Russians outside Russia.

But Martonyi said Orban's statements did not add anything new to a policy which has been pursued by consecutive Hungarian governments over the past 25 years.

"We firmly reject any misinterpretation, be it made in good or bad faith," he said on the Jutarnji List analogy.

Orban's statements also appeared to unnerve Warsaw, which Orban visited right after his re-election to demonstrate the two countries’ strong ties.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday called the Hungarian leader’s statements “unfortunate and disturbing”.

“We need to be careful, that in no way, whether intentional or not, it should sound as backing the actions of Pro-Russia separatists” Tusk was quoted as saying by Warsaw Voice Online.

The Polish PM added that he will raise the issue during the Globsec security summit in Bratislava on Thursday (15 May), where Orban is also a guest.

Meanwhile, Martonyi reiterated in Bratislava that Hungary is not demanding the ethnic Hungarian minority in western Ukraine be given territorial autonomy.

Hungarian diplomats, for their part, point out that Orban did not use the word "autonomy" in his speech when speaking about Ukraine.

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

News in Brief

  1. Idea of road transport agency gains momentum among MEPs
  2. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  3. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  4. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  5. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  6. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  7. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  8. Danes are the happiest workers, study says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)