Semjén told a podium discussion held with representatives of Hungarian communities that the Hungarian state is currently spending an annual 130 billion forints (EUR 400m) on ethnic Hungarian communities as against 9 billion forints in 2009. The initial aim for supporting these communities was to help them preserve their identity, he said. Then, a few years ago, economic development schemes were launched and these have created win-win situations, he added. “This is good for [ethnic] Hungarians, for the majority nation, and also for Hungary because every forint invested resulted in another forint of growth and this had a positive impact also on the growth of the Hungarian economy,” he said. Semjén said the number of individuals who were granted Hungarian citizenship in a fast-track naturalisation process was near 1.1 million. In contrast with 1990, when Hungary was one of the weakest states in the Carpathian Basin, it has become the strongest in the region. “We are strong, we have self-awareness and we are progressing further,” he said.