IN SHORTS

Hungary completes draft of status law

THE DRAFT of Hungary's status law has been completed and will be debated in the coming weeks at the Hungarian Standing Conference and later in parliament, Hungarian prime minister Peter Medgyessy told journalists in Budapest on April 14.

He said the wording of this legislative measure was very important, because Hungary wants to keep its most essential provisions.

"We want this law formulated in a way compliant with European Union (EU) expectations... [and] we also have to respond to fears and questions raised by neighbouring countries in the recent past," said Medgyessy.

The status law provides some government money to ethnic Hungarians living in states bordering Hungary. The law also provides health, pension, and travel benefits to ethnic Hungarians who are citizens of other countries while they are in Hungary.

Slovakia and Romania have criticised the law, saying it infringes on their sovereignty and creates inequality among their citizens on ethnic grounds. The ethnic Hungarian minority in Slovakia is estimated at 500,000 people.

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