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Hungarian Press Roundup: Ethnic Minority Petition Backed by Over a Million

Hungary Today 2020.05.09.

A pro-government commentator condemns the Democratic Coalition as the only party in Parliament not supporting a petition demanding direct European cohesion funds for ethnic minority regions.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

Background information: The Szekler National Council, an NGO advocating autonomy for Hungarian majority regions in Romania, has gathered over one million signatures for its citizens’ initiative addressed to the European Union in support of ‘ethno-regions’. The signatories demand that instead of directing cohesion funds to national governments alone, some such transfers should be directly allocated to ‘ethno-regions’ in order to help them develop their infrastructure and thereby preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage. According to the rules, in order for the petition to be discussed in the European Parliament, the million signatures should be collected from 7 member countries and should number at least 750 times the number of MEPs from each country. Hungary, Slovakia and Romania have fulfilled those numbers, but no other member country is even near the threshold. The initiators of the petition have asked the European Commission to extend the deadline by six months.

 

 

 

On 888, Tamás Hováth welcomes the extraordinary unity shown by Hungarian politicians and other public personalities in support of the initiative, regardless of their sharp divergences on most other issues. Whatever the fate of the initiative, he writes, ‘we have won, because in supporting our Szekler brethren, we have managed to overcome the lethal pest of destructive partisanship’. He blasts the Democratic Coalition as the only exception, whose position, as he sees it, is only supported by a loud minority of frustrated people.

 

On Átlátszó, economist Tamás Bauer, former vice chairman of the Democratic Coalition dismisses the initiative as a hopeless attempt – even if the necessary number of signatures are collected. Hungary, he argues, is seen in the European Union as a troublemaker and has very few supporters in any of the decision-making bodies. What’s more, the issue of ethnic autonomy is highly sensitive and any initiative implicitly promoting that idea is bound to be rejected, Bauer explains.

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