Hungarian government to betray Serbia's Hungarian community

“Serbia’s EU accession talks offer a historic opportunity to enforce and enhance the rights of the Hungarian community living in Vojvodina but this chance will not be there for long,” István Szávay emphasized in the National Assembly. When Jobbik’s MP began his speech, state secretary Róbert Homolya exited the room so there were no government members left to listen to a speech that brought the problems of Vojvodina’s Hungarian community before the House. Jobbik backs the government’s economic development programme for Vojvodina/Délvidék but “money is just one thing”, Mr Szávay explained. 

The politician asserted that the chance for enhancing Hungarian minority rights “is now and not after the EU accession”. That is why he finds it unacceptable that Viktor Orbán and many other Fidesz politicians have clearly stated that they do not wish to set any conditions for supporting Serbia’s EU accession concerning the interests of Vojvodina’s Hungarian community. “So they are preparing for the same kind of betrayal that was committed in the case of Romania in 2005,”  added Mr Szávay.

Quoting Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, who had said that cultural autonomy “had de facto been implemented in Vojvodina” as well as the Prime Minister who had stated back in November 2016 that “Serbia makes a point of treating its Hungarian community right, and the country’s pro-minority policy is far outstanding in Europe”, Mr Szávay said the reality was quite contrary because:

 - Serbia has, to this day, been administratively hindering the rehabilitation and compensation for those who fell victim to the retaliations in 1944-45.

 - Kosovar refugees, who are mostly of Gypsy origin, are typically allocated to towns and villages with a Hungarian majority. 

 - Serbia announced 25th November as a National Holiday to commemorate the Serbian assembly’s 1918 declaration of Vojvodina’s secession from Hungary.

 - Serbia’s constitutional court has significantly curbed the rights of the Hungarian National Council.

 - Belgrade allocates more funds to Kosovar Serbs per day than to the Hungarian National Council in a whole year.

 - Due to low funding and privatization, such long-functioning Hungarian media outlets vital for the survival of the community have been closed down as the Radio of Szabadka (Subotica), for example. 

Referring to widely held concerns, he said “what Hungarian-Serbian friendship means in reality is just that Serbia generously allows Fidesz to provide billions of HUF to the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ) and its circle who uncritically support the Hungarian government all the time, while the Serbian government spends less on its Hungarian-speaking taxpayers than the VAT paid into the Serbian national budget based on Hungary’s funds to the VMSZ. The politician noted that MEP Krisztina Morvai had recently paid a legal monitoring visit to Vojvodina/Délvidék where VMSZ attempted to prevent her from addressing the public in the town of Zenta. 

Talking about the findings of the MEP’s monitoring visit, Mr Szávay explained that even though the Serbian state did have a legislation that guarantees citizens’ rights to use their native language, the reality check shows that these rights are hardly ever implemented due to lack of Hungarian forms or Hungarian-speaking officials. 

“After 2018, the Jobbik-led government will be Serbia’s friend on the condition that Belgrade ensures a broad territorial autonomy for the Hungarian community and treats them as a state-forming nation instead of a minority that should be expelled,” Mr Szávay asserted. The politician pointed out that the only time to achieve such results was now, i.e., before Serbia’s EU accession, and Croatians, Bulgarians and Romanians all wish to use this opportunity. The MP asked the government “not to be cowardly”, either.


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