Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, the man in charge of Hungarian communities abroad, has pledged to continue economic development schemes that support Hungarian communities in neighboring countries.
At a parliamentary committee hearing on Monday, Deputy PM Semjén said economic support was crucial to preserving communities of Hungarians. But schemes aimed at strengthening Hungarian identity, maintaining ties with ethnic Hungarian parties beyond borders and fast-track Hungarian citizenship were also instrumental.
He told parliament’s national cohesion committee that while the previous Hungarian government had provided 9 billion HUF (28.6 million EUR) in 2009 for schemes promoting Hungarian identity, the amount granted by the current government exceeded 100 billion HUF in 2017.
Deputy PM Semjén noted that more than one million Hungarian citizenships have been granted so far, adding that more Hungarians among the diaspora were interested in gaining citizenship.
On the subject of voting rights of Hungarians beyond the borders, he noted that 225,000 had cast valid votes in Hungary’s recent parliamentary elections, twice as many as in 2014. He argued that Hungary’s election law should be reviewed and simplified.
In the new round of government, Minister Semjén expects to keep his post of deputy prime minister responsible for Hungarian communities abroad, church policy and national minorities.