Hungary has finally replied to Slovakia’s proposed agreement concerning dual citizenship between the two countries and the rights of ethnic minorities, but unfortunately Slovakia’s southern neighbours have a different opinion on how the issue should be dealt with.
State secretary with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zsolt Nemeth, confirmed his country’s stance in an official letter sent to the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which stipulates that further talks would be needed to resolve the issue.
The Hungarian side looks like it will stick to its guns in supporting the right of ethnic Hungarians or anyone with Hungarian ancestry abroad to request Hungarian citizenship, something that it has set out in its new Constitution.
Many people are still in limbo after the Slovak government under Robert Fico reacted to Hungary’s plan by the adoption of a counter-law, which has prevented many Slovaks abroad from requesting citizenship of another country or has led them to suspend their applications, as they could then lose their Slovak citizenship as a result.
The current government tried to revise the law but did not manage to get its motion passed in parliament, also thanks to the stance of independent MP Igor Matovic, who was thrown out of the SaS party caucus as a result of him voting against the bill.
The Slovak government therefore tried to reason with Hungary by way of the amicable bilateral agreement, but that does not seem likely now. Hungary was supposed to reply in February to a call from PM Iveta Radicova to establish the agreement, but it is only now that an answer has come.
The Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also trying to push for an agreement concerning support on both sides of the border for the culture and education of national minorities in line with the agreement, but more talks will be needed also in this area.
Both Matovic and Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party want conditions for granting dual citizenship to be stricter so that it is not just granted to anyone, but only, for instance, to those who have lived for at least one year in the other country. The issue will be dealt with at the next parliamentary session in September.