Hungarian-Slovenian ties set an example to Europe for how to handle minority issues, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér said. The two countries plan to submit a joint proposal regarding minority issues when it comes to debates concerning Europe’s future, he told a press conference in Lendava (Lendva) after talks with his Slovenian counterpart Dejan Židan and representatives of ethnic Hungarians from Slovenia’s Mura region. Around 10% of Europeans are ethnic minorities from the continent, Kövér noted. Working out European minority standards therefore is a Europe-wide issue, he added. Today was the first time that visits to ethnic Hungarians in Slovenia and ethnic Slovenians in Hungary were held concurrently, he noted. Kövér proposed joint visits to their respective ethnic minorities, Židan said, adding this would be a regular practice from now on. The two politicians visited the Rába region, in western Hungary, with a large Slovenian population, and held talks with leaders of the Slovenian community focusing on local business development plans.
As well as efforts to preserve their culture and mother tongue, strengthening the economy in the border regions helps minorities to survive, Kövér told reporters in Felsőszölnök, the Rába region’s seat. Plans to develop the region have been drafted and will be submitted to the Hungarian government soon, he added.
Meanwhile, the Slovak-Hungarian mixed committee for minority affairs approved a proposal for the drafting of a comprehensive law on national minorities by the Slovak government, the Hungarian co-chair of the committee said in Bratislava. Ferenc Kalmár, who is the Hungarian government commissioner in charge of neighbourhood policy, called the proposal approved by the committee the most important accomplishment of the meeting. The proposal, he said, calls for the drafting of a law that would serve to ensure the survival of national minorities in Slovakia, including Hungarians. Though these types of proposals are not binding, the governments in question have a duty to address them, Kalmár said. The meeting covered a variety of issues, including the question of dual citizenship, he said. Though no breakthrough was achieved on the issue, the two countries did agree to revive the expert committee that had handled the subject prior to its hiatus in recent years.