“Europe in the 21st century can only be strong through assuring the rights of indigenous national minorities and a strong national identity”, Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog declared in Berlin at the launch of a book by the German Federal Government’s former Delegate for Immigration and National Minorities Hartmut Koschyk entitled Heimat, Identität, Glaube (Homeland, Identity, Faith).

In his statement to public media at the event, the Minister of Human Capacities stressed: “The Hungarian Government is fighting for the acknowledgement of national identities to enable strong national identities and nations to work together for a strong Europe”.

DownloadPhoto: Gyula Bartos

“It is a misconception that strong identities are dangerous, because it is precisely weakened identity and  confused self-interpretation that makes people vulnerable to manipulation and the incitement of hatred”, he said.

“A strong 21st century Europe is unimaginable without guaranteed the rights of indigenous national minorities, and this includes cross-border Hungarians, German minorities in other countries and the Roma community alike”, Mr. Balog underlined.

“The basis of cohabitation is that everyone has the right to their own homeland and nobody should feel like a ‘second rate citizen’ in their own homeland simply because they do not belong to the national majority”, the Minister added.

“Christian culture is a true bedrock for all of these European identities, through which we not only respect each other’s values, but reinforce them”, Mr. Balog stressed.

DownloadPhoto: Gyula Bartos

Bavarian Christian Socialist Union (CSU) politician Hartmut Koschyk added: “People who are not certain of their identity become susceptible to populism, extremism and fundamentalism. But people who feel at home in their own homeland, and whose lives are directed by firm values and faith, ‘do not become confused by the consequences of globalisation’, and accordingly more attention must be paid to the issues of homeland, identity and faith”.

In his speech on the new publication, Mr. Balog said, amongst others, that there are some who see the essence of European integration in the ideal of a “United State of Europe” that operates as a “melting pot”, and who want to force the ideal of “theocratic progression”, which is alien to real life, in addition to which the idea that unification means solely economy integration is also characteristic. “In contrast, in a manner that is in harmony with the efforts of the Hungarian Government, Hartmut Koschyk professes that Europe is made up of national minorities, which are characterised by the strong identity, openness and solidarity that stems from Christian faith”, he explained.

DownloadPhoto: Gyula Bartos

With regard to the achievements of the Hungarian Government’s minority policies, the Minister highlighted the fact that since the current government came to power in 2010, the number of students attending German nationality schools has increased six-fold from two thousand to twelve thousand.

In his speech, President of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said it was exemplary that in 2017 in Berlin on the anniversary of the 23 October Hungarian Revolution, Zoltán Balog commemorated the Roma heroes of the 1956 revolution, bringing with him to the German capital an exhibition on their fate. “Through this gesture, the Minister also took a stand against the divisions that exist in Hungary”, the Council President highlighted.

In his statement to public media, Mr. Balog said with relation to this that cooperation is excellent with the head of the Sinti and Roma community, who “in contrast to many can see the results of Hungary’s nationality, minority and Roma policies”.

The book launch at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin was attended by over a hundred people, including many respected politicians from the CSU and other parties of the German federal parliament (Bundestag).

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)