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January 31, 2023

Hungarian parliament passes controversial citizenship law

Hungary’s parliament Wednesday passed a law that will make it easier for the ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries to get Hungarian citizenship, Hotnews reports. The law, which stirred up fierce opposition in Slovakia, passed 344-3, and five abstentions, and will allow ethnic Magyars living in Hungary’s neighbouring countries to apply for Hungarian citizenship, yet only if they can prove they are of Hungarian origin and can speak Hungarian. The law will allow the nearly 3.5 M ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary – most of them in Romania and Slovakia – to apply for Hungarian citizenship. However, only Hungarians living in Hungary will have the right to vote. The law, which comes into force as of January 1, 2011, sparked discontent among the Slovakian government, who threatened strong retort. The ruling Fidesz party would have desired the law to symbolically come into force as of August 20th, when Hungary celebrates its National Day. As a response to Budapest’s decision, the cabinet in Bratislava adopted a draft law reading that the Slovaks of Hungarian origin who ask for Hungarian citizenship automatically loose their Slovak citizenship, Romania Libera informs.

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