Hungarian Irredentism as a Threat to Stable Inter-ethnic Relations

Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS), within its continuous monitoring of the rights of national minorities in Serbia, believes that it is necessary to draw attention to the following:

The Officials of Hungary have issued statements that destabilize inter-ethnic relations in the region. These statements have been further radicalized by the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, which is the part of the ruling coalition in the National Assembly and the part of the Government of Serbia, represented with several state secretaries. Serbian government, under whose control are the media in Serbia, has not responded to this. Accordingly, in the media, this trend is not mentioned.

The lack of reaction of the Serbian Government and the Serbian public to this provocation is concerning. In the case of adverse developments in the process of Pannonian basin, the cost, as so many times before, is likely to be paid by members of the Hungarian minority. Their rights and their real position are irresponsibly being threatened by the acts of the Budapest Government, failure to act by the government in Belgrade, as well as by their most influential political party in Serbia, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians.

Mr. János Lázár, the minister in charge of managing the Office of the Prime Minister of Hungary said on May 31 in Mako, that the Trianon trauma “does not only have victims but also perpetrators, accomplices and beneficiaries. Monuments to their responsibilities, monuments of apologies are not found in Paris, among the castles of Versailles, not in the Felvidék, Erdély, Partium, Délvidék and the Transcarpathian”. Mr. Lázár stressed that the former Allied powers did not apologize to Hungarians and showed no signs of dealing with the past. Mr. Lázár said that Hungary did not require a revision of borders, nor a “return of the land”.

On the same occasion, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr. Zsolt Semjén said that “Trianon tragedy happened because the government that came into power did not consider the existence of national value and deliberately wrecked the army, government and paralyzed defensive reflex of the Hungarian nation.”

In the appearances of the Hungarian Ministers, evident is the chauvinistic stereotypical representation of their own nation as only the victims, but by no means as executors. The ministers did not mention the defeat of the Hungarian army on the Volga and the Don, where Hungary had fought as an ally of Hitler. Neither did they mention the mass physical extermination of Hungarian Jews and Roma under the rule of Ferenc Szálasi, during previous attempts to correct the “injustice of Trianon”.

At the central event on the occasion of celebrating the Day of National Unity, held on 3 June 2017 in Bački Vinogradi, there were present Dr. Pintér Attila, Hungarian Ambassador in Belgrade, Dr. Babity János, General Consul of Hungary in Subotica, Mr. Pásztor István, in the capacity of the President of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, and Mr. Hajnal Jenő, the President of the Hungarian National Council.

Mr. Dudás Károly, the president of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, on this occasion said that the root of the apple trees, which were planted in Bački Vinogradi in 2012, was a symbol of Hungarian unity, and that the fruits were the nation’s symbol of renewal. Mr. Dudás called an apple “our sacred fruit, which reminds us of where our home is, where our homeland is and if we get lost, it helps us to get back home.”

The statement of Mr. Dudás of Hungary as a homeland (rather than a mother-country) of Vojvodina Hungarians is openly irredentist. Mr. Pásztor, the President of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, found it necessary to react to the statement that derogates Vojvodina and which denies the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. Mr. Pásztor, the President of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, since 2014 to today has occasionally used the irredentist term “Délvidék” for the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

CDCS has every moral right to talk about the revival of Hungarian irredentism (among Hungarians in Vojvodina), as CDCS was the first, in 2002, to publish texts in Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian and English about the pogrom of Vojvodina Hungarians in 1944. CDCS was also the first to inform the Serbian public and international public about mass incidents against ethnic minorities, including Hungarian minorities, from 2003-2005. CDCS dealt specifically with anti-Hungarian outbursts in Temerin, which lasted until February 2013.

Now CDCS warns the public that the behavior of the Hungarian Government, the absence of the reaction of the Government of Serbia, and the behavior of the leadership of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Hungarian National Council, all lead to a deterioration of international relations, consequently, a possible deterioration of the situation of the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina, particularly in areas where ethnic Hungarians make up a minority of the total population. In these areas, there are about two-fifths of the total number of Vojvodina Hungarians.

Vladimir Ilić,

The Chairman of the Board