Since 2010, diaspora Hungarians have formed part of the Hungarian nation “with equal weight and respect” as ethnic Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén told the 9th plenary session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council in Budapest on Thursday.
Semjén, who is in charge of Hungarian communities abroad, said that diaspora Hungarians had been regarded as “enemies” during the communist era and neglected afterwards between 1990-2010.
But since 2010, when the Fidesz-Christian Democrats came to power, all members of the diaspora have been welcome in Hungary, he said.
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Semjén welcomed that more than 1.1 million Hungarians have become citizens of the country as a result of simplified citizenship procedures launched by the Fidesz government.
He thanked the diaspora for always supporting Hungary and Hungarians even in difficult situations.
Deputy PM Semjén, PM Orbán, and State Secretary Potápi at the 9th plenary session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Semjén told a press conference that a new scholarship programme would be launched by expanding the scheme dubbed Stipendium Hungaricum. The new scholarships will be offered to descendants of diaspora Hungarians to help them pursue studies in Hungarian universities. A relevant proposal will go before government in the near future and the scholarships will fully cover all financial aspects of the studies.
Semjén also said that the establishment of an emigration and diaspora centre is under way to collect and present objects and archives returned to Hungary under the arrangements of the Mikes programme. Nearly four hundred boxes of material have arrived so far, he added.
Árpád János Potápi, the state secretary for ethnic Hungarian communities abroad, said that representatives of some 100 organisations from 32 countries attended the plenary session this year.
In the featured photo: Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI