Wednesday

16th Aug 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Focus

Hungary's Orban wins another term, Jobbik support jumps

Hungary's centre-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban was handed another four years in government after national elections on Sunday, early results show, while the far-right Jobbik scooped a fifth of the votes.

Focus

Jobbik MEP accused of working for Russia

Hungary’s Prosecutor’s Office has requested the European Parliament to waiver the immunity of far-right Hungarian MEP Bela Kovacs amid allegations he is working for Russia.

Focus

Hungarian PM breaks ranks on Juncker

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he will not support Jean-Claude Juncker's bid to become president of the European Commission even if the European People's Party wins the European elections.

News in Brief

  1. Russian power most feared in Europe
  2. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  3. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  4. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  5. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending
  6. Low support for Norway's labour party ahead of elections
  7. Slovakia's future is with core EU, says PM
  8. Italy relieved as migration drops to lowest level since 2014

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  3. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  5. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  6. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  8. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  9. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  10. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides
  11. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  12. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey