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Автор Тема: Reuters: Hungary citizenship law triggers row with Slovakia  (Прочитано 544 пати)


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Reuters: Hungary citizenship law triggers row with Slovakia
« на: Мај 27, 2010, 12:02:39 »

Reuters, 25 May 2010
Hungary citizenship law triggers row with Slovakia

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary is expected to pass a law Wednesday that will make it easier for ethnic Hungarians in Central Europe to get Hungarian citizenship but could trigger countermeasures from Slovakia, which strongly opposes it.

Granting dual citizenship to more than two million ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring states has become a symbolic issue for Hungary's incoming center-right government, which won a strong mandate in parliamentary elections last month.

But the plan has shattered already fragile relations with Slovakia, home to more than half a million Hungarians, and raised tensions there ahead of an election on June 12.

Analysts said if the law is passed, it could lead to a lengthy legal dispute between the two countries even though the legislation is in line with relevant European Union (EU) rules.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose leftist SMER is a favorite to form a new government after the June vote, had said the citizenship plan was a "security threat" to Slovakia.

The Slovak government will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to debate a draft law designed to strip people of their Slovak citizenship if they apply for a second citizenship in any other state.

Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister-designate Zsolt Semjen dismissed Slovak concerns Tuesday as "hysteria," saying it was part of the election campaigning there.

"We cannot make practicing our most natural rights dependent on what (head of Slovak nationalist party SNS) Jan Slota or Fico come up with," Semjen said in a television broadcast.


Hungary plans to allow ethnic Hungarians to apply for citizenship without requiring a stay in Hungary if they have Hungarian ancestry, and speak Hungarian, but the legislation does not automatically grante them voting rights.

Parliament is expected to vote on the law Wednesday, which will be applied from January 2011, when Hungary takes over the rotating EU presidency.
"Ensuring Hungarian citizenship for Hungarians living beyond the borders is a basic part of identity," Semjen said, adding the statute was based on the Romanian example and conformed with EU laws.

"It's very important for the new Hungarian government to provide this symbolic gesture toward Hungarians beyond the borders," political analyst Zoltan Kiszelly said.

"The conflict is due to the Slovak election campaign ... if Slota's party is in the coalition again after the election this will evolve into a lasting conflict, if not, then the intensity of it could subside," he added.

"But we can expect a dragging international legal dispute."

Fico has said Slovakia will turn to the European Commission and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to explain its concerns.

The two ex-communist states repeatedly have sparred over the treatment of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, most recently about a new language law.

There are Hungarians living in Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, and Austria whose ancestors lost Hungarian citizenship as a result of the peace treaty ending World War One.

In another symbolic gesture, the new Hungarian government has submitted a proposal to parliament to name June 4, the anniversary of the Trianon treaty signed after the war, as a day of national unity.

"I fully support it (dual citizenship). It's an important administrative element of belonging together," Laszlo Szundi, a pensioner in Budapest, said.

"Those who got stuck beyond the borders have suffered a lot and for them this is a moral reward."

(Reporting by Krisztina Than and Martin Santa in Bratislava)


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Одг: Reuters: Hungary citizenship law triggers row with Slovakia
« Одговори #1 на: Мај 27, 2010, 12:03:55 »

Deustche Welle, 26.05.2010
New law granting citizenship to ethnic Hungarians sparks row with Slovakia

Ninety years after Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory in the Treaty of Trianon, a new law grants Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in bordering nations. But not all border nations favor the law.

Hungary's incoming parliament has adopted a controversial law that will grant citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries. Wednesday's vote came despite a major diplomatic row with Slovakia, which borders Hungary to the north. Slovakia's government has described the Hungarian legislation as a security threat.

The new law will allow millions of ethnic Hungarians residing in neighboring countries to apply for Hungarian citizenship. The only conditions are that they can prove Hungarian origin and speak the language.

The vote comes almost 90 years after Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory under the Treaty of Trianon which followed the First World War. About three million ethnic Hungarians live in those lost areas, which are now part of border nations such as Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine and Romania.

The citizenship bill was an old pledge of the center-right Fidesz party, which won elections in April and now holds a powerful two-thirds majority in parliament. A Fidesz government is to be sworn in on Saturday.

Slovakia responds

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has condemned the citizenship law, which will come into force in January. He says granting Hungarian citizenship to Slovakia's half a million ethnic Hungarians amounts to a serious security threat for his nation.

Fico said it was "egotistic and arrogant" that the law was announced without any consultation with his country, adding that the policy would harm bilateral relations.

The Slovak parliament reacted by passing legislation the same day which will strip anyone of their Slovak citizenship if they take citizenship of another country.

Janos Martonyi, who is set to be foreign minister in the new Hungarian government, has described the Slovak prime minister's reaction as part of a campaign for the Slovak general elections in June.

Martonyi insists that the Hungarian legislation in no way affects Slovak interests or its territorial integrity and condemned what he views as political hysteria ahead of the parliamentary elections.

Bratislava has already recalled its ambassador from Budapest for consultations.

Internal critics

Several Hungarian legislators have also criticized the law as discriminatory because, while it grants citizenship, it does not grant voting rights to the ethnic Hungarians. Dozens of parliamentarians abstained from voting on the law, which was approved by 344 of the 386 Hungarian deputies.

Outgoing foreign minister Peter Balazs is concerned about the possible negative impact of the legislation on Slovakia's Hungarian minority.

He says the incoming government in Hungary should not rush the legislation ahead of Slovakia's elections, which are expected to be won by Prime Minister Fico. Balazs suggests that it can only harm the prospects of ethnic Hungarian politicians joining the next Slovak government.

The mounting tensions between Slovakia and Hungary are being closely monitored by the international community.

The two nations are part of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which are both interested in stability in this often volatile region.

Author: Stefan Bos (mz)
Editor: Susan Houlton


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Одг: Reuters: Hungary citizenship law triggers row with Slovakia
« Одговори #2 на: Јуни 01, 2010, 10:45:16 »

Deutsche Welle, 31.05.2010
Slovakia approves law to strip citizenship from ethnic Hungarians

Slovakia has approved legislation, now signed into law by the president, which will allow the authorities to strip citizenship from Slovaks who become Hungarian citizens.

In a tit-for tat move against Hungary, the Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic on Monday signed into law legislation to allow stripping ethnic Hungarians living in the country of their Slovak citizenship, if they take on additional Hungarian citizenship.

The law is a response to legislation passed by the Hungarian parliament last Wednesday making it easier for ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries to acquire Hungarian citizenship.

Many ethnic Hungarians, including more than half a million living in Slovakia, reside in areas that were once part of Hungary until the end of World War I.

The Slovak government condemned the Hungarian move, calling it a security risk.

Hungary lost territory after World War I

The new Slovak law now requires any Slovak who acquires another citizenship to inform the authorities immediately, or face stiff fines. In addition, government employees, including lawmakers, police or intelligence officers, will lose their jobs if they become dual citizens.

Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory after World War I and some 2.5 million Hungarians found themselves citizens of foreign states in Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia when the victorious Allies and a reluctant Hungary signed the post-war Trianon peace treaty.

The status of ethnic Hungarian minorities shows that old wounds have not healed. They remain a thorny and emotional issue in the region in the nine decades since the Trianon treaty was signed on June 4, 1920.

Editor: Rob Turner