László Brenzovics, the leader of Trancarpathian Hungarian cultural association KMKSZ, said Ukrainian-Hungarian relations and the situation of the region’s Hungarian community had taken a worrying turn, and called for bilateral talks in an interview published in pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet on Monday.
“Nationalism has been running rampant” in Ukraine since 2014, Brenzovics said, citing “unprecedented events” such as anti-Hungarian demonstrations, threats and the petrol-bombing of KMKSZ’s offices.
He noted ongoing investigations by Ukrainian authorities of foundations in charge of handling the Hungarian government’s economic development scheme geared towards the Transcarpathian region and raids of his own home.
“But we are ready to face any investigation since those foundations are operating transparently and in line with Ukrainian laws,” the KMKSZ leader said.
Transcarpathian Hungarians make up only 0.3 percent of the country’s population and they are loyal citizens, Brenzovics said, highlighting efforts and support by the Hungarian government to help advance Ukraine’s integration with “Europe’s structure”.
Asked about Ukrainian-Hungarian ties, Brenzovics was pessimistic that they could progress in the near future, arguing that Ukraine “has not appreciated Hungary’s significant gestures”.
The KMKSZ leader said that “in the current political situation” he does not expect to see any progress made on the matters of education or language rights.
“But it is still better to have talks than to have none,” he said and welcomed the Hungarian government’s endeavours towards engaging in “normal dialogue” with the Ukrainian side.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI