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Government Announces HUF 50bn Development Programme For Ethnic Hungarian Region Of Serbia

Ferenc Sullivan 2016.04.13.

At a press conference following the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasised that the scheme is good for Serbs, the ethnic Hungarian community, Hungary and the European Union alike. He also welcomed the fact that the programme was devised by VMSZ and the Hungarian government only had to support the project because this is always better than if a decision on what would be good for locals in a certain area of the Carpathian Basin is made in Budapest. The initiative also serves to “show other Hungarian communities the path of the future” and the first results are promising, he pointed out.

Calling on local ethnic Hungarians to participate in upcoming elections and support VMSZ with their vote, he explained that the Hungarian government thinks in terms of the nation and its responsibility is greater than a responsibility felt solely for those living within the country’s borders. He revealed his hopes that thousands of contracts will be signed within the economic development programmes, which makes clear that Hungary is strong enough to create possibilities for ethnic kin living abroad.

The programme applies for the period between 2016 and 2018, most of it – over HUF 30 billion – being a loan scheme and the remaining HUF 20 billion non-refundable state support. The programme will be carried out by the purpose-founded Prosperitati Foundation, with the first tenders called on 31 January.

Answering a question, PM Orbán said that Serbia needs a “sensible” economic policy if Hungarian enterprises are to arrive to the country and expressed his admiration for the Serbian Prime Minister for pursuing a rational economic policy which is yielding good results.

The Vojvodina (Vajdaság) region of northern Serbia, which is hit hard by poverty, unemployment and emigration, is currently home to around 250 000 ethnic Hungarians.