The President of Hungary, Pál Schmitt, has accepted Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič's invitation to visit Slovakia. This was confirmed following their bilateral meeting in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic during the Visegrad Group (V4) presidential summit on Friday, November 5, the TASR newswire wrote, adding that the visit to Bratislava should be scheduled for either December or January.
The two presidents met for bilateral talks lasting more than an hour even though the meeting was originally scheduled to last only 30 minutes. Among the most important topics touched on were those related to minority agendas in both neighbouring countries and particularly Slovakia's State Language Act. The state language law and the criticism it received has stirred passions in both Budapest and Bratislava, TASR wrote.
"Slovakia is built upon the principles of civil rights and that's why we oppose any attempts to exercise collective rights of minorities," said Gašparovič, as quoted by TASR.
Schmitt said that Hungary was worried solely about the existence of sanctions for breaching the State Language Act. Gašparovič assured him that the sanction mechanism incorporated in the law is only to apply in cases when legal entities break the law, not individual citizens using their native (minority) language in everyday speech.
The Hungarian head of state said he was convinced that what is often referred to as 'Slovak-Hungarian tension' is now vanishing and expressed his country's interest in bilateral relations taking a good path in a positive atmosphere.
"I expect ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia to be good Slovak citizens. Only then they will be objectively allowed to exercise their rights," Schmitt said, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Nov 2010 at 14:00