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President Gašparovič visits 'most Slovak' village in Hungary

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič went to Hungary on June 2 to visit the ethnic-Slovak village of Mlynky (known as Pilisszentkereszt in Hungarian), which is currently celebrating its 260th anniversary.

The celebrations included a meeting in the House of Slovaks, a Catholic mass celebrated in Slovak, a wreath-laying ceremony in the Memorial Park in remembrance of the villagers' ancestors, an art exhibition, a parade, and other cultural events.

The village, located in the Pilis hills north-west of Budapest, has more than 2,000 inhabitants, 53 percent of whom officially declare themselves to be of Slovak nationality. This makes Mlynky the most Slovak village in Hungary.

Gašparovič praised the residents for holding on to their identity, culture and traditions over the 260 years that the village has been in existence.

"I believe that we (in Slovakia) owe a lot to Slovaks living abroad ... who need much more support, mainly cultural and moral," said Gašparovič.

Gašparovič said that he is pleased that Slovaks living in Hungary and elsewhere support the countries in which they live.

"I'm convinced that minorities living in Slovakia have everything that Slovak citizens need for good quality of life, culture, and of course, education," he said. "Ethnic minorities in Slovakia have this, and I would be very glad to see the Slovak minority in Hungary enjoying the same."

Hungarian Parliamentary Chair Katalin Szili was also present at the event. She said that the fact that Slovakia and Hungary have become fully-fledged members of the EU has opened up new vistas of tolerance and reconciliation. In conclusion, speaking in Slovak, she wished the village's residents plenty of luck, a good life and good health.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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