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Miroslav Lajcak |

Hungary’s old-new strategic partner

Alica Árvay
January 10, 2011

Former Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajèák has been appointed as head of department at the External Action Service of the European Union on a territory that is of significant importance for Hungary and its EU Presidency.

 

 

Lajèák is responsible for increasing the weight of the EU in Russia, the Eastern Neighborhood and the Western Balkans. This means that EU President Hungary could welcome a well-known partner in this strategically important position.

Lajèák is a lawyer holding a Ph.D. in international relations from the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow and is also a graduate of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, he speaks seven languages. In June 2007, Lajèák succeeded Christian Schwarz-Schilling in the post of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was so popular in that capacity that the daily newspaper “Nezavisne novine” chose him as the Person of the Year in December 2007.

In Hungary, he is more known for his official statements after Hungarian president László Sólyom was not allowed to enter Slovakia in August 2009. According to Lajèák, it would serve Hungary no good to turn to Brussels because of this incident, EU would not serve justice, the solution is high-level bilateral negotiations to resolve diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The previous Slovak government introduced a language law that affected the minorities. The greatest minority is the Hungarian minority (9-10% Slovakia's population of 5.4 million). Based on this law, great fines could  be imposed for speaking in Hungarian in certain cases. The law received quite some criticisms but Lajèák said on euobserver.com that “we are sure that Slovakia's State Language Act does not go beyond good European standards, and that it is nothing unusual in Europe." It is similar argument to what the media perceives as the current Hungarian government’s view on its media law.

 

 

Alica Árvay

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