“A nation with sufficient pride and agility will not be stripped of its future either by its borders being changed or by way of the interests of world powers,” the group leader of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democratic parties in the Budapest assembly said on Friday, marking the Day of National Cohesion. Hungary’s opposition parties on Friday also commemorated the 101st anniversary of the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty concluding WWI, under which Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory to neighbouring countries.
Fidesz-KDNP: Hungarian national ties are stronger than those of states
Zsolt Láng referred to the 1920 treaty as “the most unfair international agreement in the world” adding that “it is crucial that we know our own history and gain strength from its tragic events”.
István Simicskó, the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group leader, interpreted the message of National Cohesion Day as “no matter where they live, each Hungarian is important for the country, where they can always return”. “Hungary is our homeland, Hungarians are our nation and we all belong together,” he said.
Simicskó said that the Hungarian nation, including its ethnic minorities, “have been part of a Christian Europe since King Saint Stephen” and “though torn apart, it preserves its values and looks into the future with responsibility”. Referring to Hungary’s constitution, he said the document “gives a legal framework to values supporting Hungarians and the country’s minorities”, adding that “re-uniting through public law” the nation and ethnic Hungarians in other countries had been “the best possible reaction to the trauma of Trianon”. “The nation embraces each of its members wherever they may live in the world; it reacts in the language of love,” he added.
Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, attended a ceremony in Sátoraljaújhely, a city in north-eastern Hungary divided by the Trianon border with southern Slovakia, and pointed to the nation’s ability to “build communities without respect to borders, which can promote the shared Hungarian heritage”. “We may be separated by borders, however, national ties are stronger than those of states,” he added.
Referring to the Hungarian parliament’s granting preferential citizenship to ethnic kin, Gulyás said that “now one million Hungarian citizens [in other countries] can rely on Hungary’s protection and help”. “Citizenship has been granted to everybody that belongs to the Hungarian state,” he said, adding that the government was working to “ensure a future to cross-border Hungarians, too”.
Cohesion House opens in Budapest
Szilard Németh, state secretary at the defence ministry, inaugurated a National Cohesion House on southern Budapest’s Csepel Island on Friday, the anniversary of the post-WWI Trianon Peace Treaty.
“Today we have to fight for the same cause as our predecessors, to protect the homeland,” the Fidesz politician said in his address at the ceremony. “We need to defend the homeland not only within the borders cut in 1920 but in terms of the whole nation… what we think to be our homeland in the Carpathian Basin,” he said.
Németh read out a letter by the House speaker, in which László Kövér (Fidesz) warned that “in the future each European could be impacted by plans of a Trianon of the 21st century, bringing political subordination in one’s own homeland, economic exploitation and humiliation under the motto of a United States of Europe”.
Opposition: Hungary as a member of the EU can do much more for ethnic Hungarians beyond the border than it could as an “outsider”
Hungary’s opposition parties also commemorated the 101st anniversary of the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty under which Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory to neighbouring countries.
In a statement, the Socialist Party (MSZP) said that though the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty was a “national tragedy”, it was not enough to simply acknowledge this. Rather, the way forward for Hungary is to link the ideas of what it means to be Hungarian and European, they said.
The party said that June 4 was not just the anniversary of the signing of the Trianon treaty, but also a day to mark the nation’s cohesion.
They said that Hungary as a member of the European Union could do much more for ethnic Hungarians beyond the border than it could as an “outsider”. “One hundred and one years later, we are the members of a bloc in which the borders dividing the Hungarian nation are either increasingly insignificant or are gone altogether, and we believe that it is in this community that we can achieve and strengthen the free use of the mother tongue, self-determination and the enforcement of minority rights,” the statement said.
The party also called for a new compromise and cooperation regarding the policy for Hungarians abroad, which they said was key to national unity.
The Socialists said the policy for Hungarians abroad was therefore a key part of its opposition primary election platform. They added that their platform advocates the preservation of national identity and cultural heritage of Hungarians in their place of birth, as well as the territorial, cultural and linguistic autonomy of ethnic Hungarians beyond the border.
Green LMP said the Day of National Cohesion was a “symbolic bridge” that connected all Hungarians. It said the anniversary of the Trianon treaty was a day to commemorate the past and look to the future.
“The Carpathian Basin is our shared heritage,” LMP said in a statement. “This is where the strength of our national community is concentrated and this is where the connections that were lost 101 years ago are being rebuilt.”
The Liberal Party said that only a strong Europe could heal the wounds of Trianon. The party said in a statement that it was convinced that the interest of all Hungarians lay in a stronger and more unified European Union. “Because it is the EU that can guarantee the enforcement of minority rights in member states,” they said.
“Therefore we remain committed to the European Union’s enlargement and integration as well as Ukraine’s accession to the bloc,” the statement said. “We are convinced that only tolerant and welcoming nations are strong nations. And those who seek political capital from dividing the people commit a sin against the country as great as the pain caused by Trianon.”
Featured photo illustration by György Varga/MTI