Minister of State for Church, Nationality and Civil Society Relations Miklós Soltész finds it a joyful development that not only the Government supports the summer camps of young Hungarians from beyond the borders in Hungary, but this is now also a wide-spread and natural practice for municipalities and civil society organisations.

The Minister of State spoke about this on Wednesday in Balatonmáriafürdő where a mother tongue camp was organised for the first time for young people from Vojvodina. Thanks to the Rákóczi Federation and the Metropolitan Municipality of the 7th District, sixty children are spending a summer holiday in the locality by Lake Balaton from Tuesday to Saturday.

The Minister of State who came to welcome them pointed out that Hungary has in recent years been able to organise a great many camps which have also been implemented with united efforts.

Upon speaking to the Hungarian news agency MTI, he said that in these camps young people may gain experiences which will help them remain Hungarian even amidst difficult economic circumstances and in minority.

He said: the governments in office before 2010 did not concern themselves with young Hungarians beyond the borders, they made mention of the Hungarian community in Transylvania at most, while there was no mention at all of the Hungarian communities in Vojvodina, Transcarpathia and Slovakia. This has caused “lasting wounds” which have manifested themselves, among others, in young people abandoning their native land, he added.

He highlighted that the nation policy of the past seven years has brought about major changes, as part of which, in the wake of a Government Resolution adopted in June, the civil society organisation Rákóczi Federation which focuses on the promotion of Hungarians living beyond the borders may have received grants worth HUF 150 million.

Mr Soltész also pointed out that Hungary has launched a number of economic programmes in Vojvodina and Transcarpathia in recent years with grants worth tens of billions of forints in order to help people stay in their native land.

The results of these efforts are already beginning to emerge, the Minister of State said, stressing that the grants that demonstrate the love and attention of the motherland will have to continue also in the future.

Csongor Csáky, Secretary General of the Rákóczi Federation reported that, in addition to Balatonmáriafürdő, there are mother tongue camps organised by them in Ópusztaszer, Balatonföldvár, Győr and Tata as well between 30 July and 13 August, with the participation of four hundred young Hungarians aged between 10 and 18 years from scattered communities.

The participants of the camps came from localities where the use of the Hungarian language as well as the system of Hungarian institutions are receding, he added.

“We try to give them an opportunity now so they can freely use their mother tongue at their leisure, immerse a little in Hungarian culture, and reinforce their Hungarian identity within the framework of a relaxed summer holiday by Lake Balaton”, the Secretary General said. He also highlighted that the youths attending the Máriafürdő camp came from disadvantaged regions, and it is important to support them also from this respect.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)