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Hungarian Foreign Minister reacts to Fico’s speech on minorities

The speech delivered on February, 26, by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the state-funded cultural organisation Matica Slovenská, provoked reactions from many.

The speech delivered on February, 26, by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the state-funded cultural organisation Matica Slovenská, provoked reactions from many.

“We did not establish our independent state in the first place for minorities, although we do respect them, but mainly for the Slovak state-forming nation,” said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, adding that he has detected what he called a “strange tendency to put forward the problems of minorities” to the disadvantage of the Slovak nation “as though Slovak men and women do not live in Slovakia at all”.

On Hungary's national public service TV, Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi said Fico’s speech concerning minorities did not conform to the EU. Martonyi said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that at a Wednesday meeting with his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajčák, he was told by the latter that it is not always necessary to follow the words but rather what is actually going on. Martonyi added that Slovak-Hungarian relations have been developing well and that the official visit of Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič to Hungary was a success; Martonyi added he would visit Bratislava on March 13.

In an interview for the Hungarian language daily published in Slovakia, Új Szó, Fico said that he would not apologise, but rather, explain his words. He stressed he did not mean to insult anyone, but in referring to one specific case, he was generalising. However, he failed to specify more in detail, Új Szó wrote. The Prime Minister stressed repeatedly that he continues to be a proponent of good Slovak-Hungarian relations and wants to maintain the status quo, as promised last year. Fico also explained that he gave the interview because he considered relations between Slovakia and minorities crucial, and that he supports maintaining good ties with Hungary. He also pointed out that since his government took the helm, a lot has been done for minorities.

(Source: TASR, Új Szó)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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