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Slovakia praises Venice Commission’s position on Hungarian constitution

Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry on June 20 welcomed a position taken by the Venice Commission concerning the new Hungarian constitution, saying that its position is in full accord with Slovakia's, namely that the country in which ethnic minorities live should be primarily responsible for their protection, the TASR newswire reported. The Venice Commission highlighted the individual character of human rights as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities does not list any collective minority rights. Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry views this as a key point in the interpretation and application of the new Hungarian constitution as well as other related legal norms.

Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry on June 20 welcomed a position taken by the Venice Commission concerning the new Hungarian constitution, saying that its position is in full accord with Slovakia's, namely that the country in which ethnic minorities live should be primarily responsible for their protection, the TASR newswire reported.

The Venice Commission highlighted the individual character of human rights as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities does not list any collective minority rights. Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry views this as a key point in the interpretation and application of the new Hungarian constitution as well as other related legal norms.

"Respecting the principles stated in the [Venice Commission's] stance is important not only for [maintaining] good neighbourly relations, but also for the overall atmosphere surrounding the co-existence of people in the countries of the unified Europe," reads the Slovak ministry’s official release, as quoted by TASR.

The ministry also welcomed the Commission's call for the principle of good neighbourly relations to be respected along with the need to avoid any extra-territorial effects that may concern neighbouring states and lead to ethnic tension.

"The aforementioned [points] correspond with the declaration made by Slovakia's parliament on May 27, 2011 on the adoption of Hungary's basic law, in which parliament stated that the legislation of other countries should not have any extra-territorial effects," said the ministry.

A Hungarian MEP for Fidesz, Jozsef Szajer, last week wrote on his blog that Hungary does not accept the critical opinion of the Venice Commission, which he claims has wrongly interpreted the constitution.

The Sme daily wrote on June 21 that the Hungarian constitution granted franchise even to members of Hungarian minorities living abroad.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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