Fidesz MEPs said on Thursday that the situation of national minorities in Serbia serves as an example to the European Union given that Serbia “cherishes national minorities”.
During a meeting of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages, attendees also examined the situation of Hungarians living in Serbia’s Vojvodina region. Kinga Gál and Andor Deli said in a statement to MTI that the European Commission “is not taking meaningful measures” regarding national minorities, as its approach to Minority SafePack has shown. They referred to an EU citizens’ initiative that aimed to improve EU protections of national and linguistic minorities but was ultimately rejected by the EC in 2020. “I think it is particularly important to point to examples outside the EU. Serbia takes the issue seriously and shows respect to national minorities, with a functional [minority] council system,” he said. In his speech at the EP intergroup meeting, Árpád Fremond, the head of Vojvodina’s Hungarian council, said ethnic Hungarians in Serbia were the greatest beneficiaries of good relations between Serbia and Hungary. “We are grateful to … Hungary for doing everything in its power to keep Serbia’s EU integration on the agenda of EU institutions,” he said. Gál, the intergroup’s co-chair, said her working group aimed primarily to have representatives of minorities brief MEPs firsthand. She praised the Hungarian National Council in Vojvodina as a way to preserve Hungarian minorities in Serbia. Ethnic Hungarians are the demographic group most committed to the country’s EU integration in Serbia, she said. She called for the accession process to be speeded up while keeping the protection of minorities a priority to ensure the rights of Hungarians are guaranteed, she added.