A controversial new law on citizenship has been passed in Hungary, despite concern voiced in neighbouring countries. It will now be easier for more than two million ethnic Hungarians living in central and eastern Europe to obtain Hungarian citizenship.
The new law, passed in parliament, removes the requirement for people to spend time in Hungary if they want to apply for citizenship. They will just have to prove Hungarian ancestry and speak the language.
Political analyst Zoltan Kiszelly said: “There could be conflicts, mainly with Ukraine and Slovakia, where a large number of Hungarians live along the borders. These countries are scared that if Hungarians live on both sides of the border, then perhaps in the future, it could serve as a legal basis for a future Hungarian government to modify the borders based on ethnic principle. They’re afraid this could endanger their young statehoods.”
Some five million ethnic Hungarians live beyond Hungary’s borders, mostly in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine.
The government says it simply wants to end the current discrimination where Hungarians living in Canada or Germany, for example, can obtain dual citizenship easily, while those in neighbouring countries cannot.