Zsolt Neimet: Hungary does not decides what is good for the Transcarpathian Hungarians!
Hungary is the nearest neighbor of Transcarpathia connected to it with a common difficult history, family relations and business interests of different levels. The interest of the western neighbor in the events in Ukraine and Transcarpathia is justified by tens of thousands of blood brothers who have been living on the territory of our country since ancient times. Therefore, various political forces try to interpret this interest favorable to them "colors". Meanwhile, officials, who actively visit Transcarpathia, clearly insist that their interest does not cross diplomatic boundaries. The conversation with the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of Hungary Zsolt Neimet was no exception. He participated in the Transcarpathian Free Summer University which took place in Mizhhiry district few weeks ago.
- So, what is the essence of decentralization in Hungary? And why is decentralization of power a key demand of the European Union to Ukraine?
- One of the most important results of the government system change is the transfer of powers from the central level to local democracy. Hungary was among the first countries to have accomplished a large-scale reform of local government during the change in the political system. In fact, all areas, that can be administered locally, were transferred to local governments under the Law on Self-Government in 1990 Local government is one of the most important features of European democracies. It is also important to note that European integration has a rather unambiguous safeguards to protect the democratic government.
- Did the public support the implementation of the reforms? In Ukraine, there have been loud slogans in the media, suche as: "Transcarpathia will lose its independence!" etc.
- Hungary is a country that has no historical regions. And I think that countries in Europe, that do have them, have found a way out by giving greater autonomy at the regional level. And if in these historical regions, there are national minorities with cultural and linguistic distinctions, the establishment of such territories is a customary in Europe. Such, as for example the communities in South Tyrol or in Catalonia.
- Mr. Minister, you are to some extent familiar with the law on the creation of Ukrainian communities, and know that it involves, the principle of voluntary association. Perhaps, in Hungary, it was also necessary to dispel the contradiction regarding the fatc that on the one hand, capable government are needed, on the other, the associations must be voluntary...
- When we talk about Ukraine or any other country where Hungarians live, it is important to keep in mind that Hungary does not decide what is good for them. They have their representative bodies. Thus, Hungary recognizes the KMKS as a legitimate representative of the Transcarpathian Hungarians. The KMKS, in turn, supports the creation of these governments. I am glad that Ukraine is steadily moving in this direction within the reform of the government, and I hope that the Hungarian settlements will be willing to subordinate their interests to creation of such communities.
- Is Hungary lobbying the creation of communities that are located at the places densely populated by the Hungarian minority?
- I think I need to repeat: if the KMKS deemed it necessary, then we support it. If KMKS ask us to raise these issues in bilateral discussions and debates, even at the level of the government, Kyiv, we are happy to do it. However, I believe it is important that Hungary does not tell Ukraine which government reform is right. We consider the principle of decentralization important, but the form of its implementation in Transcarpathian region should be determined by the KMKS.
- Mr. Minister, is it possible that an adequate representation of the Hungarian minority depends not on territorial reform, but on the change of electoral laws? For example, mandatory representation of minorities in local self-government and in the parliament?
- In my opinion, these two factors are not mutually exclusive. That is, both the administrative-territorial reform and representation of minorities at all levels are equally important. Regarding minorities, it is understandable that they should not expect the fulfillment of impossible requirements, and that they should be active to ensure a decent representation of their communities at all levels of political decisions.
- So, what does Ukraine have to do to make Hungary, as a member of the EU, treat it as equal partner?
- Hungary does treat Ukraine as a partner. Hungary has always been supporting Ukraine's independence. In our view, a strong Ukraine is a very important component both for Hungarians, and for transatlantic security. And now that the territory of Ukraine was attacked by foreign aggressors, we support Ukraine in its efforts to restore territorial integrity. We consider the aggression against Ukraine unacceptable! In this regard, the international community supports Ukraine. It will be a long struggle, but Ukraine can count on Hungary as well as the international community in this struggle!
Office for Reforms in Transcarpathian region
Якщо Угорщина так переживає за українских угорців, нехай їх забирає до себе і не дестабілізує наше рідне Закарпаття, а нам зі всіма проблемами добре живется в Україні, ми простий бідний народ виходимо з того, що маємо, так як чесною працею мілйонів не заробив.