New Government Eases Up On Dual Citizenship

The issue of dual citizenship has been a thorn in relations between Slovakia and Hungary ever since Viktor Orban gained a constitutional majority in the Hungarian parliament in 2010 and changed the country’s constitution to offer Hungarian citizenship to all ethnic Hungarians abroad.

Robert Fico was still PM at the time thanks to an extended grace period granted by PM Ivan Gasparovic and so Fico pushed through a counter law in abridged proceedings, effectively banning Slovaks from requesting dual citizenship, anywhere, at the penalty of losing their Slovak citizenship.

Hungarian passport: cause for friction

Now Robert Fico’s new government plans to water down the Citizenship Act slightly, by allowing the privilege of dual citizenship to Slovaks again as long as they also have residence in the country in question.

Top tip for the post of interior minister, a post he held before, vice-chairman of Smer-SD Robert Kaliňák explained the right to dual citizenship would fall to people who have permanent residence in the other country. Without that, any Slovak requesting the citizenship of another country will still lose their Slovak one.

As would be expected, the change is regarded as too feeble by the Most-Hid party of Bela Bugar, whose voters comprise chiefly ethnic Hungarians. The party therefore plans to submit its own proposals to include the likes of people studying abroad or people with families abroad, but Kalinak has already expressed disagreement to the idea.

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