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Hungary accepts 'hundreds of Venezuelan people with Hungarian ancestry'

Hungary accepts 'hundreds of Venezuelan people with Hungarian ancestry'
By Mark Armstrong with Reuters
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Hungary's anti-migrant government has confirmed it has accepted hundreds of refugees fleeing Venezuela.


A media report in Hungary claimed that the country has accepted around 300 refugees from crisis-struck Venezuela.

An article on the news website said Venezuelans with Hungarian ancestry are being brought into the country under a government programme with the help of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta.

Euronews contacted the charity which said it couldn't answer questions "regarding the current political situation in Venezuela, diplomatic processes and the news that you can see in the media in the interest of the people involved."

An unnamed source confirmed to Euronews that the article was accurate and said thought charity could be unwilling to confirm the existence of the programme due to fears it could be shut down.

The report on Index said that around 5,000 Hungarians emigrated to Venezuela, most after World War II.

It's understood that the charity is helping to transfer the descendants of these people to Hungary, by providing airline tickets, housing, and documents to enable them to find work. They are also being offered cultural and language courses in Hungarian and English.

The programme was started in April last year and the report said around 300 people have been accepted by Hungary under the initiative so far.

Programme in line with government policy

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party has championed an anti-immigration policy in the country.

However, a government official said the Venezuelan programme did not break the country's own laws in respect of that policy due to the Hungarian ancestry of those concerned.

"We are speaking about Hungarians and we do not consider Hungarians migrants," Orban's Chief-of-Staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a news conference in response to the report.

"They, like any other Hungarian, have a right to return home," Gulyas said, confirming that the first arrivals came to Hungary last year.

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