The results achieved by the government’s policy for Hungarian communities abroad “speak for themselves”, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said at his annual hearing in parliament’s national cohesion committee on Tuesday.
Over the past ten years, the government has increased funding for aiding Hungarian communities abroad ten-fold, helping some 3,000 ethnic Hungarian organisations and institutions sustain their programmes from year to year, the deputy PM in charge of Hungarian communities abroad, church policy and national and ethnic minorities told the body.
The government’s support for ethnic Hungarian communities extends to every city and town with a Hungarian population in the Carpathian Basin, he said, calling the naturalisation of ethnic Hungarians “historical justice”.
Concerning education, Semjén said the government had helped preserve and increase the number of students attending Hungarian-language schools in some 1,000 cities and towns. As part of its kindergarten development scheme, the government has helped renovate some 1,000 kindergartens and nurseries, he said.
Also, around 1,600 churches were renovated or rebuilt over the past ten years, Semjén said.
The government has also spent a significant amount on its economic development programmes, helping several thousands of Hungarian businesses beyond the border, he said. He described these schemes as “win-win situations”, saying that “they are good for the local Hungarian communities, the country… and the Hungarian economy.”
The deputy PM said no programme related to the government’s policy for Hungarians abroad had had to be cancelled this year because of the pandemic, adding that they had been given online platforms.
Answering a question by Zoltan Balczó of opposition right-wing Jobbik in connection with the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party in Romania, Semjén said it was the only party that stood a chance of winning seats in the Romanian parliament and “had the political strength to protect Hungarian communities and Hungarian people” in the neighbouring country.
Asked about the issue of autonomy by independent lawmaker János Bencsik, Semjén said the Hungarian government would never stop supporting Hungarian communities beyond the border in their endeavour to achieve that.
He added, however, that each community had to work out its own concept of autonomy for whose implementation the Hungarian state would provide all assistance.
Asked about the language law of neighbouring Ukraine, Semjén said the Hungarian government was asking that country’s government to recognise the status of its Hungarian community as an indigenous community ensuring them the right to their mother tongue. In return, he said, Hungary was prepared to support Ukraine’s aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration.
featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI