December 5th, 2011

American-Hungarian Federation turns to US Congress over widening Slovak citizenship row

The American-Hungarian Federation has turned to the US Congress Helsinki Commission with an appeal for it to take action in the case of a Slovak of Hungarian origin who has been stripped of his citizenship on the ground that he took up Hungarian citizenship, the alliance’s chairman told MTI.

The case involves Hungarian-Slovak businessman Oliver Boldoghy, who has called on the Slovak government to scrap a law which strips successful citizenship applicants of another country of that status in their own land. Boldoghy, of the city of Komarno, has said all Slovaks should have the right to dual citizenship.

Slovakia enacted the law after Hungary introduced a fast-track citizenship procedure for Hungarians living beyond the border. Under Slovakia’s recent legislation, 126 residents have lost their Slovak citizenship, including 15 who had been granted Hungarian citizenship.

Chairman of the American-Hungarian Federation, Ferenc Koszorus, told MTI at the weekend that a letter sent to the co-chairmen of the US Congress’s Helsinki Commission, Christopher H Smith and Benjamin L Cardin, noted that Slovakia had deprived Oliver Boldoghy of his citizenship in “the latest anti-Hungarian incident” after he took up Hungarian citizenship.

“This decree not only runs contrary to American and European practices, it also violates the Slovak Constitution, too […],” the letter said.

“This decree must be withdrawn,” it added.

99-year old ethnic Hungarian stripped of Slovak citizenship

The Hungarian government’s Nation Policy State Secretariat has learnt with dismay that another ethnic Hungarian – this time an elderly lady born in 1912 – was deprived of her Slovak citizenship after she had applied for and was granted Hungarian citizenship, MTI learnt from a statement on Friday.

Hungary firmly rejects this attitude and is ready to appeal to international forums, Deputy State Secretary Zsuzsanna Repas said in the statement, adding that the government would also provide all legal aid to 99-year-old Mrs Aladar Tamas, a retired teacher.

Repas called the Slovak move inexplicable and one running contrary to European values. “What risk could have a centenarian lady awarded with Hungarian citizenship posed to the Republic of Slovakia?” the statement asked.

Mrs Tamas had applied for Hungarian citizenship under Hungary’s dual citizenship act and took the citizens’ oath in April last year. She reported the fact to Slovakia’s authorities as required by Slovak regulations, including a statement that she intended to retain her Slovak citizenship as well. However, on Friday she received a letter notifying her that she was no longer a citizen of Slovakia.

So far, 16 ethnic Hungarians have lost their Slovak citizenship under a Slovak legislation which stipulates that those who apply for citizenship of another country should be stripped of their rights.

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  • George Dunn

    This is truly an outrageous act. Any human rights observer should be extremely concerned over these developments in Central Europe with a NATO ally and member of the European Union member. Unbelievable.

  • TiborB

    As both countries are members of EU, practical consequencies of being stripped of slovak citizenship is close to zero…

    • Tibor

      Shame on you Hungarian name that you have no clue about consequencies you really…. They are Hungarians live in Slovakia on Hungarian land what Hugary lost by Trianon (you know 3times bigger old Hungary lost terrotories to Romania called Transylvania Szekler’s land,Slovakia,Ukraina,Serbia,Slovenia) so you lived in a country that you didn’t choose but you got no choice.Then you got an option to get citizenship from your motherland,and your are allowed to take by the Slovakian Law,then when you had it the Slovak government try to take away your Slovakian citizenship that you had since birth and you got less rights in the country that you call homeland! did you get it ???

  • olga

    @ TiborB

    IMHO which of course is subjective, as far as Slovaks go I think you are the most reasonable and likable specimen from that country who ever posted on this website, and I only wish you could be traded for the Parasite in Budapest.

    re: “As both countries are members of EU, practical consequencies of being stripped of slovak citizenship is close to zero…”

    I am guessing here because I don’t know, but I thought about what you wrote and you must be wrong.

    Just because someone has EU citizenship does not mean they are eligible for benefits in other countries – hope to God for Hungary’s sake that just because I am a Hungarian citizen, it doesn’t mean I can move to Budapest tomorrow apply for welfare, unemployment benefits, a health card and if I were of pensionable age and in poor health, I could be a drain on the health care system plus apply for old age pension.

    My guess is that the Hungarians we are discussing who lost their Slovak citizenship also lost all the benefits they had as Slovak citizens . I hope I am wrong

    • TiborB

      I presume that her old-age pension and health care is not affected, but I dont know for sure.

      For a person, who is working here and paying health care payments, this would not be a question. Though for a pensioner??

      But on the other hand she has a record of ‘worked out years’ and this gives her a title for pension.

      I dont track this issue (I mean overall stripping of citizenship) very closely, but I had not ever read or hear that somebody would have this kind of problems after being stripped of citizenship. Of course most of such cases are peoples who are living abroad and then yes, they can have (more) troubles when returning back

      • justasking

        @Tibi,

        “I presume that her old-age pension and health care is not affected, but I dont know for sure”

        If you really think about it, of course her pension and health-care would be cut off. Why would a country continue to pay an individual benefits, if they are not a Citizen?

        Is it possible for you to find out more about her case…to see if those benefits have been cut off and if she is okay?

        Seriously…a 99 year old elderly lady gets her ass kicked to the curb like that, because of a political pissing contest? That’s not right.

        • Viking

          justasking says:
          December 12, 2011 at 4:09 am

          Seriously…a 99 year old elderly lady gets her ass kicked to the curb like that, because of a political pissing contest? That’s not right.

          The Hungarian Tax Office recently started an investigation on 80 (or 88?) yo woman could pay off her forex-loan in one lump-sum (and one can wonder which bank ever gave her that loan…)
          So, right or not, gunning for old folks is a tradition in this area

          No age discrimination here…

      • Viking

        In the EU there are no big difference if you have citizenship or permanent residence permit
        All ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia have, according to EU-rules, minimum right to permanent residence permit
        To be expelled these persons need to commit so grave crimes that these crimes do have the possibility to expel the convicted person for a time or for all time, from the country

        With such a permit you are on par with the local citizens, except for being expelled as a convicted criminal and voting in the National Elections
        Normally you can vote in the local elections, but that is up to each member state to decide the rules for this

        You can also vote in the elections for the European Parliament, which then can field candidates for just “your group”

        The local Tax Office will gladly accept your taxes, regardless citizenship and the Local State will pay out State Pension (1st pillar) and earned pension (2nd pillar), if you have qualified for that
        Or in my case here in Hungary I opted out for it

        2nd pillar will be paid out regardless if you live in the country or not, based on your contribution to it
        Normally you need 15-40 good years to get a decent pension, so it will not be so much starting if not starting early

        The biggest practical problems in short term will be all papers and ID-numbers that can change totally if you are a citizen or not

        And both Olga and Justasking are welcome to move “home” to Hungary and claim welfare, if their Hungarian State Pension (1st Pillar) is not enough to live on
        That is how stupid we Europeans are…

        • justasking

          @Viking,

          “And both Olga and Justasking are welcome to move “home” to Hungary and claim welfare, if their Hungarian State Pension (1st Pillar) is not enough to live on
          That is how stupid we Europeans are…”

          I agree…I’m so against this ‘perk’ on so many levels, I swear I’m gonna have a brain aneurysm!!!!

  • DoubleH63

    @TiborB “consequencies of being stripped of slovak citizenship is close to zero…”

    This outrages act [with the assistance of “Hungarians” like Bugár and Grendel] had a consequence for Ilonka néni.
    What Beneš couldn’t make her do this shameful law did. She has left the SK [Sohasemvolt Köztársaság] because her health deteriorated over this. She is living with her daughter in the truncated homeland right now.

    @olga & justasking

    She is still entitled to her healthcare and pension.

    (In my next post there is a link to Hírek.sk about her, I just don’t want this post to sit in moderation mode for hours like that one will.) [Hail to the freedom of expression in this enlightened new world!]

    • justasking

      @Double,

      I meant to thank-you for the link, I’m sorry for the delay.

  • DoubleH63
  • George Dunn

    We must remember Ms. Tamas is not the only one affected by anti-Hungarian Slovak actions. Slovakia changed its citizenship status law specifically in reaction to Hungary’s extending citizenship to ethnic Hungarians. That is discriminatory. Hungary’s law, on the other hand, extended citizenship to ALL ethnic Hungarians worldwide, not particularly Slovakian Hungarians. This was not a Slovak vs. Hungary issue until Slovakian radical right wingers made this an issue.

    A sovereign state, like Hungary, has a right to grant citizenship. Hungary, like most developed states, allows dual-citizenship – to Slovaks, Americans, and others. It is an international norm. The Slovak constitution also says no one must be deprived of the citizenship of the Slovak Republic against his will. This is also an international norm.

    Ilona Tamas, Oliver Boldoghy and others who have lost citizenship all informed Slovak authorities about their gaining Hungarian citizenship and their desire to NOT lose Slovak citizenship. Honesty was there mistake? Sure, some are informing Slovak authorities as a protest.

    Let us also remember that in 1912 Rimaszombat was part of Hungary and Ms. Tamas was born a Hungarian citizen.

    Slovaks, and all people of good conscience, should be embarassed and work to change these horrible policies. This, like the language law, is just another anti-Hungarian action that has no place in 21st century Europe.

    • Viking

      George Dunn says:
      December 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Slovakia changed its citizenship status law specifically in reaction to Hungary’s extending citizenship to ethnic Hungarians. That is discriminatory

      A sovereign state, like Hungary, has a right to grant citizenship. Hungary, like most developed states, allows dual-citizenship – to Slovaks, Americans, and others. It is an international norm. The Slovak constitution also says no one must be deprived of the citizenship of the Slovak Republic against his will. This is also an international norm

      Even if the *reason* for the law can be seen “discriminatory” in a political sense, it is not “discriminatory” in a legal sense
      In a legal sense only the application/implementation of the law can be “discriminatory” and so far no one have been able to prove that

      “A sovereign state, like Hungary, has a right to grant citizenship”
      Yes and any “sovereign state” has the right to revoke a citizenship – that is also an “international norm”

      And there is nothing like “international norm” on multiple citizenship, that is up to each “sovereign state” to have a position on that, as stipulated by international law

      Fidesz cannot use International Law to get Slovakia to change its position here, except making the whole EU implementing the same rules, but that will take time and the result can be that these fast-tracked Hungarian citizenships without residence will not be allowed, so it is probably not a route Fidesz wants to take

  • Mihai Liptak

    In order to ensure the survivability of the newly formed Slovak entity, there must be some ways to homoginize the country. It is granted that the law so far only used against ethnic Hungarians, whereas none of the Chech or even Slovak nationals (by far out number in having dual citizenship) were affected, however it could be a deterrent on the long run or can force the Hungarian government to do more concessions.

    As far as homogenizing the country with 20+ % Gypsies living there (most speaking Hungarian), it is a tall order even for Slota and the like.

  • Curious George

    Why do the Hungarians there (eg Ms Tamas) want Slovak citizenship? I’m just curious.

    • TiborB

      technical comment – they are magyars by nationality and slovaks (slovak citizens) by citizenship. So they should not be reffered to as hungarians until they have hungarian citizenship.

      OK, I understand that in english words magyar is not used…

      • Leto

        They are Hungarians, regardless of their citizenship, no matter what. Got it, hülye tótocska?

        • Viking

          Leto says:
          December 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm

          They are Hungarians, regardless of their citizenship, no matter what

          So a Swab living in Hungary is a German, always been a German and will always be a German?

          And can never become an Hungarian?
          So List was wrong to change his name to Liszt and claim “Je suis Hongroise”?

    • Leto

      Just because. Hope that’s enough to satisfy your “curiosity”.

      • Curious George

        No, I don’t buy that. Since the AHF was bringing this up to their congress, I was actually hoping someone from their organization could explain why a Hungarian (as you insist) would want Slovak citizenship.

        • Leto

          A Hungarian wouldn’t want Slovak citizenship. Maybe some ethnic Slovaks, Hungarian citizens living in the Pilis or in the Great Plains near Békéscsaba, wanted and acquired that. Let them have it, we don’t care.

  • TiborB

    It is granted that the law so far only used against ethnic Hungarians – no, lately there was statics in slovak newspapers, of about 130 peoples deprived of slovak citizenship only 20 or 30 are magyars…

  • Curious George

    @Tibor – Thanks. I’ll rephrase my question to “Why do the Hungarians living there need Slovak citizenship. If they don’t need it, why do they want it?”

    • TiborB

      I believe they can hapily live there (here) without it, but perhaps deep in their mind they know that slovakia is their country and Hungaria is only on second place…

      But, this is a question for them, not for me…

      • Leto

        Uh, are you serious? This post didn’t make any sense whatsoever as a reply to CG’s question. 😀

  • olga

    @ TiborB

    re: “but perhaps deep in their mind they know that slovakia is their country and Hungaria is only on second place…”

    I am only guessing because obviously I don’t know the answer but if they considered Slovakia their country, I doubt very much they would go through all that hassle given the circumstances.

    I don’t know about you, but I can assure you that I wouldn’t apply for Hungarian citizenship in Slovakia if I thought of Hungary as “second place” ; unless that document meant a great deal to me, it would not make sense to risk the consequences.

    BTW, how did you get a name like Tibor? – If you have no Hungarian background, I was thinking your parents were political activists and gave you a Hungarian name to show their support for the Hungarians in your neighbourhood :))

    • TiborB

      I would say that citizenship of “abroad magyars” is just overkill solution. Most of such new citizens just are not going to utilize the citizenship in any significant way. I mean, they are not going to move to hungary and so on..
      So for many hungarians, Hungary is a “promised land” where they just dont want to live.
      Or perhaps I would compare the situation to a man with wife and lover. Lover is exciting, superb and everything, but wife is a person with whom the man’s life is completely bound… (uf, terrible sentence in english for me)

      As for the name Tibor, wiki says: “The name Tibor is also found in Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.” So this name is not uncommon even though not frequent in slovakia. And somebody would say that this is gypsy name 🙂

      I was born during “normalization” (post 1968 era) so my parent were not any political activits, I am sure 🙂

      • Leto

        “Most of such new citizens just are not going to utilize the citizenship in any significant way. ”

        Surprise, surprise… 😀 Any chance this would tell you something? (in relation to the question CG asked and which you simply failed to get)

        • Viking

          The question is *what* is “significant way”?

          What can I use my Swedish citizenship for in Hungary, except asking to be in contact with the Swedish Embassy when being arrested?

          If the Swedish State would help me with my legal problems, they would also expect me to foot the legal bills, regardless I have a Permanent Residence Permit or just being here over the week-end

          Given Fidesz love for using Public Funds for their Political Propaganda I would expect similar legal aid to Hungarians in Slovakia be very expensive for the Hungarian Tax Payers (which are anyway a sub-set of the Hungarian citizens, plus we all foreigners who work officially in Hungary)

          On a side-note, the ‘foreigners’ who work illegally in Hungary are mostly people who satisfy the demands for these ‘fast-track Hungarian citizenships without residence’, then speaking Hungarian is in reality a must here

          The workers we hire are divided if they will apply for this new citizenship and none of them are from Slovakia, then Slovakians expect more money than what they will get in Hungary
          The Ukrainians are hesitating a bit, afraid of possible harassment
          The Romanians just do not seem so interested
          In general both groups want to stay where they are and not risk anything by upsetting their chances for living where they were born and earning money in Hungary
          Of course, if they want to stay, where they were born and get their pension there, they do not want to risk anything that could make that into a problem

          And as a Swede in Hungary I always have to fight with border control if I need to show my Swedish Passport or not, even at Schengen Internal Borders, like Ferihegy airport flying to Sweden
          I normally refuse that until they start to refuse me to board, so of course there are some problems being a citizen to another EU member state in Hungary, then my Hungarian National ID-card (which is green and not blue as for Hungarian citizens) is not accepted by the likes of Malév
          So this low-level harassment is part of the life living in Hungary as a non-citizen. I would expect it would be similar in Slovakia

      • justasking

        @ Tibi,

        ““The name Tibor is also found in”

        Hungarian land….

        Excerpt:

        1) The name Tibor is of Hungarian origin and the meaning of Tibor is “of the tiber (river)”.

        2)Meaning of “Tibor” Hungarian name

        In Hungarian, the name Tibor means- holy place. The name Tibor originated as an Hungarian name. The name Tibor is most often used as a boy name or male name.

        Hungarian Name Meaning – holy place
        Origin – Hungary

        c)Pronunciation: tee-boar

        Gender: Boy Name
        Origin: Hungarian
        Name Meaning: Meaning “hallowed place.” Tibor Jannoshy was a famous Hungarian sculptor
        ————–

        You obviously have some hidden Hungarian blood in you, thats why you have this urge that you can not explain, to apply for a certain citizenship… 😀

        • TiborB

          “…derives from the Latin meaning the river Tiber (Tiberius) or, more loosely, “holy place”.” So the question is if the origin of the name Tibor is Latin or Magyar.

          Anyway, if we say it is hungarian name, what ‘hungarian’ refers to? Does it mean “magyar”, or does it refers to the country? It would make difference.

          Though, if I think about it, whole discussion about my name is purely “academic”. If I was only non-magyar in the world with this name, it still would not matter a bit. Nobody cares. If I was named like winetou, then it would be a big problem for me 🙂 🙂

          • justasking

            @Tibi,

            “Does it mean “magyar”, or does it refers to the country? It would make difference”

            I thought we had this conversation before?

            Magyar(ország)(Nationality and country), Hungarian and Hungary is all one and the same. One is how it is written in English (Angol) and the other, how it is written in Hungarian (Magyarul)…so, what difference are you talking about…my Magyar cousin? 🙂

          • TiborB

            re Justasking:

            “Magyar(ország)(Nationality and country), Hungarian and Hungary is all one and the same.” – all right, so then f.e. Ludovit Stur (you know the name I believe) was hungarian or not?

          • justasking

            @Tibi,

            “all right, so then f.e. Ludovit Stur (you know the name I believe) was hungarian or not?”

            Actually…you had me at f.e.? Have not a clue what you’re talking about. But I will say this…you are what you say your are.

            So, if you are/or even ‘feel’ you are, a certain Nationality, species, sex etc, for whatever reason, it resonates in your soul…to me? You are that.

            Who am I, and what right do I have to question you on it?

            This is where the evil Liberal comes out in me. God save me!!! 🙂

          • TiborB

            @ Justasking

            That was complicated answer. I just wanted to point out, that while he definitelly was hungarian, he was not a magyar. So word Hungarian does not equal magyar.

            Maybe for somebody living few thousand kilometers far, this issue doesnt matter much but we living here should distinguish the two words..

          • Viking

            Are we not coming back toa question that raised a week or soback:

            * Did the 1848 Slovak Nationalists not complain that the 1848 Hungarian Liberals wanted to change the name of Hungary, from the “Kingdom of Hungary” to “Hungary”, similar to what happens now from 2012-01-01?

            The reason for the complaint was that living in “Kingdom of Hungary” was seen as OK (with additional language rights and some level of ‘autonomy’), but it was a ‘step back’ to be living in “Hungary”, then that would assume all and every would be ‘Hungarians’ (in the sense Magyars here)

            In a Kingdom you can all be loyal to the King and the institution, even if not being a strict Magyar

            I remember I read something similar as an argument from Slovaks around 1848, but I have misplaced it…

        • Curious George

          @JA, Olga – Tibor’s parents were indeed activists, and were way ahead of all of you because they gave him a Narnian name. In one of our languages, it means “I don’t understand”, basically to show that they didn’t really care what the fuss between Hungary & Slovakia is all about 🙂

  • I love Hungary

    Wow. I’ve been gone a long time. When did Helsinki get a congressional seat?

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