All religious denominations, including members of the Jewish community, can exercise their faith in safety in Hungary, unlike in a number of Western European countries in which anti-Semitism has intensified in consequence of migration, Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office said at the Ferrara plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which ended on Thursday.

In 2015 Hungary held the chairmanship of the international organisation, with Mr Takács serving as president. This year the chairmanship is held by Italy which organised a plenary meeting for the second time. The conference, which was also attended by Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Deputy State Secretary for Civil Society Relations at the Prime Minister’s Office, lasted three days.

Mr Takács, the head of the Hungarian delegation, told the Hungarian news agency MTI by telephone that the ever intensifying and worrying phenomenon of anti-Semitism in Europe was one of the topics of the organisation’s meeting. In his address, the Minister of State pointed out that the phenomenon must be investigated because it also manifests itself in acts of violence with fatal consequences at times, and it is a serious social, moral and security problem. He said this is a new type of anti-Semitism which partly stems from anti-Israel sentiments and is rife among anti-Zionist, extreme left and anarchist groups. On the other hand, anti-Semitism connected to radical Islam has also emerged which cannot be entirely detached from the process of illegal migration.

In his address, the Minister of State said that, with the Hungarian government’s support, the Budapest-based Action and Protection League established a European-level organisation which may offer effective assistance with action against intensifying anti-Semitism. The organisation will regularly assess the intensity of anti-Semitism in every Member State of the European Union. Mr Takács asked Member States of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to cooperate with the observer organisation which the Hungarian government will support with an annual contribution of EUR 1.5 million from 2019. The organisation will also have an office in Brussels and will cooperate with the European Jewish Association (EJA).

Mr Takács also highlighted that the agenda of the meeting further featured the future of the Budapest museum House of Fates. He informed attendees that in the Hungarian capital a holocaust museum and memorial centre has operated for almost twenty years with the Hungarian government’s support. Therefore, there is no need to rush with the opening of the House of Fates museum until a peaceful resolution is reached, Mr Takács said, asking attendees for their patience on the matter. He added that once there is an agreed concept regarding the content of the museum, it can then be widely discussed. Until then, however, he asked attendees not to criticise a concept, the content of which they are not familiar with, given that at this point in time there is no concept as yet.