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Hungary Provides Substantial Aid To Ethnic Hungarians Threatened By Social Crisis In Ukraine

By Tamás Székely // 2015.04.13.

Hungary’s government has earmarked 652 million forints (EUR 2.2m) to support the Hungarian community in western Ukraine, considering the current hardships there, deputy PM Zsolt Semjén said. A total of 486 million forints will be provided towards the wages of about 2,000 teachers, he said. Some 116 million forints will be contributed towards providing meals for children in kindergarten and another 50 million to support the work of pastors. Minister of State for Hungarian communities János Árpád Potápi referred to requests from PM Viktor Orbán and cabinet chief János Lázár, in which they asked Budapest and municipalities of county level to support Transcarpathian settlements. He said that they want to coordinate the process, therefore all Hungarian local governments will be addressed in writing concerning the aid.

Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén said that the Hungarian government has made this decision based on a proposal from the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ), who had earlier consulted with teachers’ associations and the historical churches of Transcarpathia. László Brenzovics, head of KMKSZ, thanked the Hungarian government’s support at a time “when the Hungarian community there is living through one of the gravest crises of its history.” Currently the monthly salary of a newly-qualified teacher is equivalent to seventeen thousand forints and the average monthly wage to thirty thousand forints – but even the best-paid do not earn more than fifty thousand forints (€168, $178). Pensions in Ukraine are around fourteen thousand forints, Brenzovics said.

Meanwhile Zsolt Semjén has addressed the launch of 2015 programmes in the House of Hungarians under the government’s scheme to help Hungarian communities around the world nurture their identity and language and culture, named after Kőrösi Csoma Sándor. A strong Hungary alone is not sufficient for the survival of the Hungarian nation, maintaining ties with the diaspora Hungarians is of key importance, he said. Semjén added that the success of the scheme since its launch in 2011 had surprised even him. Whereas in the first year, fifty young Hungarians worked in diaspora communities under the scheme, this year one hundred are doing so in Canada, the US, Latin-America, South Africa, Israel, New-Zealand, Australia and in other European countries. The Hungarian diaspora numbers about 67,000 in Australia, while there are 316,000 in Canada, half a million in the US, 200,000 in Latin America and 388,000 in Western Europe.

via and photo: wikimedia