According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Ukrainian education law was a brutal attack on the institutions built by the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia on the part of Ukrainian nationalist power.
Zsolt Semjen said in an interview given to the public service media on the occasion of the Day of Hungarian Scattered Communities which was also broadcast on the M1 public service television news channel that while the former approach was that the Hungarian State feels responsible for every Hungarian, the Constitution now in force lays down in black and white that the Hungarian State bears responsibility for every Hungarian. He stressed: this is an important change, and reflects a much stronger commitment.
The Government honours its undertaking in every respect, among others, by granting citizenship, he stated. It is practically the Hungarian State that keeps the system of institutions operational in Transcarpathia by supplementing the salaries of physicians and teachers, contributing to the meals of young children, and supplying vaccines, he listed. Helping “our own brothers and sisters forming part of the same nation is our natural constitutional duty”. The structure of providing assistance has, however, sustained a brutal attack, he stressed.
He reiterated that Hungary fully supported the Ukrainians, and was an advocate of granting them visa-free travel. In light of this, they behaved most unfairly, and until they revoke the language legislation, the Hungarian Government will foil everything that is important for them, he underlined. He said that Ukraine has now also “fallen out” with its other major supporter, Poland.
Citizenship for Hungarians in Transcarpathia is not only an issue of sentiments, but it is equally important existentially as that is what allows them to move freely in the world. The Government is making every effort to ensure that being a Hungarian national should be an advantage after the hundred years of oppression that followed the Treaty of Trianon.
The Deputy Prime Minister also spoke about the European civic initiative Minority SafePack. He said: it is important that the European Union should discuss and take seriously the protection of autochthonous national minorities. In his words, “there is a great deal of chaos in people’s heads” when the same term is used to refer to sexual minorities. The concept of national minorities denotes something completely different, and while, for instance, any newly-arriving Chinese people, too, are entitled to certain rights, these are not the same as those enjoyed by the Croatians or Swabians living in Hungary. In other words, the term autochthonous national minority denotes something different from national minority. “We are making every effort to gather the required one million signatures”, Semjen said.