Romania backs Hungary's ethnic citizenship law | Dávid Harangozó

Romania backs Hungary's ethnic citizenship law

Romania supports a new Hungarian law that will allow easier acquisition of citizenship for ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries. The law will allow over two and a half million ethnic Hungarians to become Hungarian citizens without requiring them to live in Hungary.

Romania has no problem with a new Hungarian law which allows easier acquisition of citizenship for ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries, President Traian Basescu said yesterday. "It is a sign of mutual trust," Basescu said after meeting Hungarian President Pál Schmitt, who is on an official two-day visit in Bucharest at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart.

Romania already has a law allowing the induction of compatriots in neighbouring countries to citizenship. That caused concern ahead of its accession to the European passport-free Schengen zone next year, planned for 2011. The British and French media warned that Bucharest liberally issues passports to Moldovans - who declare themselves as Romanians and so open a backdoor into the European UNion for tens of thousands of illegal migrants.
Basescu is one of the leading advocates of the practice and has defended is as the right of Romanians who lost their citizenship after the Second World War to regain it now.

The Hungarian minority of Romania is the largest ethnic minority in Romania, consisting of 1.5 million people and making up 6.6% of the total population. Most ethnic Hungarians of Romania live in areas that were, before the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, parts of Hungary. These areas are today known as Transylvania, where Hungarians make up 19.6 of the population. Applications for Hungarian citizenship through the new procedure will be received from January 1, 2011. The government expects between 250,000-400,000 applicants in the first year.


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