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Ethnic tensions continue to simmer

FOLLOWING an attack on an ethnic Hungarian girl in Nitra last week, a 19-year-old Hungarian teen was attacked by six men in Sládkovičovo on Saturday, allegedly because he was speaking Hungarian. The victim remains in hospital with serious chest injuries, while police are treating the case as one of alcohol-related hooliganism, rather than as ethnically motivated.

The incident occurred shortly before the Hungarian government summoned the Slovak ambassador in Budapest, Juraj Migaš, for talks on what is believed to be a recent rise in ethnic tensions between the two countries. At the meeting, the government handed Migaš an official note of protest.

“Hungarians in Slovakia have recently been encountering expressions of hostility that are impossible not to connect with the fact that forces promoting xenophobic and anti-minority opinions have become part of the Slovak government,” said Hungary’s deputy foreign minister, László Szoke, referring to the presence of the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) in the Robert Fico administration.

Migaš promised that Slovak state organs would investigate every such incident thoroughly and that the government would take a tough approach to extremism. At the same time, he asked the Hungarian side for news on the progress of an investigation into the anti-Slovak banners displayed recently at two football matches in Budapest.

According to the Pravda daily, both government and opposition MPs have begun calling on Fico to take a more active approach to the rising tensions.

“Our side has been too quiet for my taste,” said MP Tibor Cabaj of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Party.

“Our Foreign Ministry should take similar steps, because certain attacks have also taken place in Hungary.”

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