The parliamentary representation of ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary – which will be accomplished following the 2014 elections – will hopefully bolster Hungary's sense of responsibility for them, Parliamentary State Secretary Zsolt Németh declared in Paris on Monday.

Zsolt Németh attended a ministerial conference in Paris that focused on ways of maintaining ties with the national diaspora living abroad. The conference was initiated by Helene Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad, and attended by officials from 32 countries.

The Hungarian State Secretary said that “mother countries” had been demonstrating an increasing sense of responsibility for their ethnic minorities living abroad.  This sense of responsibility is all the more important for Hungary because, in addition to the traditional ethnic Hungarian communities living in the neighbouring countries and also residing in more remote countries due to the wave of emigration following the ’56 Revolution, over half a million Hungarians are living and working in other EU member states, Zsolt Németh stressed. Hungarians living in other EU member states represent a new type of diaspora, the primary focus of the conference in Paris.

It is important for Hungary to strengthen the national community of Hungarians, Zsolt Németh declared. In the Carpathian basin this entails demanding cultural autonomy for Hungarian minorities, whereas in the diaspora in Western Europe and overseas this means supporting all kinds of association, such as scout groups or church communities. The Hungarian State Secretary highlighted the Portuguese and Moroccan examples as successful practices, since these countries had been sending hundreds of language teachers to their diaspora throughout the world.  

Referring to the remarks made by the representative of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) at the conference, the Hungarian State Secretary said that the institution of dual citizenship had become more and more accepted all over the world.

Hungary's law allowing the acquisition of Hungarian citizenship within the framework of a simplified procedure took effect on 1 January 2011. Under the law, people are eligible for Hungarian citizenship if they or their ascendants were Hungarian citizens before 1920 or between 1938 and 1945. Unlike previously, permanent residency in Hungary is not a requirement. Later on, voting rights in Hungary were extended to Hungarian citizens living beyond the borders.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)