Hungarian Prime Minister Commissioner for Minority Protection and Autonomy Katalin Szilia said in Budapest on Saturday that the issue of national minorities is not an internal one, but a European one, informs MTI, Agerpres reports.
The European Union is ready to address the problems of all types of minorities, except for the 50 million people belonging to national minorities who represent 10% of the Union’s population, Szili said in a speech to the general assembly of the Federation of Hungarian National Associations in Western Europe (NYEOMSZSZ ).
Szili cited as an example a resolution adopted by the European Parliament in 2019 on the fundamental rights of people of African descent, which included the recognition of their right to work and housing, adding that the European Parliament has never adopted a similar resolution on national minorities.
Hungary is therefore supporting its proposals on this issue through the Council of Europe (CoE), Szili said.
Hungary held a series of conferences on the protection of minorities during its six-month presidency of the CoE, which led to the drafting of the so-called Strasbourg Declaration stating that the issue of national minorities is not an internal one, but a European one. nationality and citizenship are different concepts, she added.
Other countries should follow Hungary in recognizing the role of national minorities in shaping their states, she said, adding that this is not currently the case in Romania, Slovakia and France.
Szili proposed that the closing statement of the General Assembly state support for NYEOMSZSZ in favor of “a consistent Hungarian government policy for ethnic Hungarians abroad”, for the Strasbourg Declaration, as well as for the European citizens’ initiative Minority SafePack and the initiative to protect minority regions. .
Arpad Janos Potapi, Secretary of State for Policy for Hungarian Communities Abroad, proposed transforming NYEOMSZSZ into a pan-European organization and including the countries of Central and Balkan Europe.
Regarding the Hungarian government’s policy on minorities, Potapi said that last year the Budapest executive supported a total of 270 activities organized by 82 institutions dealing with national minorities.
Also in 2021, the Hungarian government provided grants totaling 132 million forints (EUR 365,900) to 208 applicants from the Hungarian diaspora to cover operational costs and development projects. In addition, about 43 million forints were paid for 138 applicants in support of organizing events, he added.