Verbatim transcription of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press statement made on 20 October 2015 after his meeting in Budapest with László Brenzovics, President of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Transcarpathia (KMKSZ).

If you will allow me, I, too, wish to thank President Brenzovics for presenting such ambitious and well-prepared plans for improving the living conditions of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia in such difficult times as those which Ukraine is currently experiencing. The Hungarian government has not had a difficult task in this regard, because Hungarian organisations and educational institutions in Transcarpathia – as well as the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Transcarpathia – presented it with completed plans showing how the Hungarian communities living there could be supported and assisted. The situation is not easy in Hungary, either; here, too, we always have economic problems, but these cannot be mentioned in the same breath as the troubles and hardships which Hungarians in Transcarpathia – and the Ukrainian people in general – are compelled to endure day after day. At times like this it is the duty of Hungary to help those in need – primarily Hungarians, of course; but recently we have not only helped Hungarian people. There are also plans for the future. We take the view that Transcarpathia is an important region of the European continent. We believe that friendship, co-existence and cooperation with the Ukrainian people are treasured assets. We would like to maintain these in the future as well, and we are therefore also launching programmes which are aimed at the development of the whole of Transcarpathia, for the benefit of those who live there – Hungarians and Ukrainians alike.

This is also important because there will be elections at the weekend: local elections or, if you like, municipal elections. You yourselves must be aware that Ukraine is undergoing fundamental changes. In a country undergoing such fundamental changes, every election is of great significance, and may on occasion be decisive. I believe that the local elections taking place at the weekend will be such decisive elections. Local councillors who will represent Hungarians and Ukrainians living there may determine the entire region’s future. It is important that in municipalities Hungarians are represented with appropriate numbers, authority and quality. This is why I am asking Hungarians living in Ukraine to take part in the elections at the weekend under any circumstances, and to vote for the Hungarian lists. And I would like to ask your assistance, the assistance of the media, in calling upon Hungarians who have the right to vote in Ukraine – but who have come over to Hungary from Ukraine to live, study or work in Hungary – to be so kind as to go home and support with their votes the Hungarian political organisations which are active in Ukraine, in Transcarpathia. Every vote counts – and furthermore, it is the weekend before All Saints’ Day; it will be a long weekend, so they could combine voting with visiting the resting places of family members who have passed away. So I would strongly urge Transcarpathian Hungarians living in Hungary – those who work or live here – to go home this weekend, and to support their fellow Hungarians back home with their votes.

Thank you for your attention.

(Prime Minister's Office)