Hungarian foreign policy can only be successful if the goals of the nation are an integral part of it, Tibor Navracsics, the nominee for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

At a hearing by the National Cohesion Committee, Mr Navracsics said Hungarian foreign policy could contribute to the aims of policies focused on Hungarian communities abroad, and as far as foreign economic affairs are concerned, foreign policy would support Hungarian cross-border economic life in areas inhabited by Hungarian communities over the border.

Hungarians living beyond the border will be helped to prosper in the land of their birth if Hungarian firms operating there are successful, and all support will continue to be available to ensure this, he said. The aim for economic ties with the mother country should cross as many points as possible, he added.

Mr Navracsics, who is the outgoing Minister of Justice and Public Administration, said it was important to clarify certain issues related to the past, and this would solve current problems and assist the future of ethnic Hungarians. As far as the past is concerned, he noted the reconciliation process which has started with Serbia. On the topic of current issues, he said that Slovakia is the only neighbouring country which has a problem with Hungary's naturalisation initiative -- though there are reassuring signs on this point, he added.

Mr Navracsics noted the significant population decline in Hungarian communities abroad tied up with assimilation and emigration. Whereas the toolkit of foreign policy is limited, everything must be done to reach out to scattered Hungarian communities as well as compact ones, he emphasised.

Over the past 25 years in Hungary the policy for Hungarian communities beyond the border and foreign policy have been separated institutionally, he stated. There were good reasons for this, and there still are, since in every area of policymaking the goals of the nation must be kept ever present so as to help the lives of Hungarians beyond the border and to protect their interests, he added.

(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)