REPRESENTATIVES of Hungarians living in Slovakia discussed the issue of autonomy for Hungarians living in Slovakia with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during his recent visit to Slovakia, Pál Csáky, the newly-elected European Parliament deputy for the Hungarian Community Party (SMK), confirmed for the Sme daily.

The SMK, which often garners enough support in polls to win seats in parliament, spoke about educational, cultural and language autonomy. They also proposed a change in the self-governing regional division of Slovakia, with the establishment of 16 counties, including a Komárno county.

Orbán stated that the past four years were about building trust between Slovakia, Hungary and their PMs and in the following period they will speak about difficult issues related to minorities, the portal reported, as cited by the Sme daily. The ministries of culture and education reject autonomy plans.

The SMK party will introduce its autonomy plan during a summer camp organised by Via Nova, a youth organisation of the SMK, according to Sme. In education SMK wants a self-government unit for the Hungarian minority, similar to what the Slovak minority has in Hungary. It should have the right to veto decisions of the Education Ministry in the event that it wants to shut down a school. In terms of language autonomy, the SMK proposes posting bilingual signs not only at the borders of a municipality, but also, for example, at bus stops within it. The party also proposes that employees of state offices in ethnically mixed municipalities who deal with the public should be able to speak the language of the respective minority.

Another party representing ethnic Hungarians, parliamentary opposition party Most-Híd, has a similar minority policy programme named Vision 2016, which it introduced last year.

Most-Híd’s new MEP József Nagy said that the aim of the party’s vision is mainly to stop the forced assimilation of national minorities in Slovakia, Sme reported. They consider educational and cultural self-government and language rights the three most substantial things that help preserve identity. They do not think that territorial self-administration will help, but that it is rather a problematic element, he says. Territorial self-administrations do not come into consideration because the Hungarian minority in Slovakia does not live in a compact territory but mostly in mixed ones.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.