The Trianon Peace Treaty, which ceded two-thirds of Hungary’s territory to neighbouring countries, is a memory Hungarians have not been able to come to terms with, President Janos Ader on Tuesday, the Day of National Cohesion, which was marked at events throughout Hungary.
Anyone who ignores that trauma and “turns a deaf ear to the voice of young Hungarians living in other countries”, or wages a campaign against dual citizenship, is “not a decent person”, the president said, meeting ethnic Hungarian youths.
Ader gave his visitors — 38 secondary school kids from Hungarian communities in Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Austria — a personal tour of the presidential Sandor Palace, and thanked their parents and teachers for helping the young generation in preserving their national identity and Hungarian culture and traditions.
At an event in Pecs in southern Hungary, deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen said the Hungarian nation would survive only if it remains united with those who live beyond the borders. In order to strengthen Hungarians’ national identity, Hungary has introduced the dual citizenship scheme in a simplified procedure, organises school trips for Hungarian children to areas beyond the borders with ethnic Hungarians, and supports the ethnic Hungarians’ fight for autonomy, he added.
Some 450,000 people have applied for Hungarian citizenship under the government’s scheme so far and the 500,000th citizenship oath is expected to be taken by the end of the year, he said.
The Day of National Cohesion is also a day for the real European spirit and an uncompromising change of the system, said Janos Lazar, the state secretary who heads the Prime Minister’s Office, when he officially declared the National Historical Memorial Park of Opusztaszer a place of national commemoration. For Hungarians, Europe is not about giving up our national identity but about mutual respect for national self-awareness and the unconditional representation of national interests, Lazar said.
Deputy state secretary for Hungarian communities abroad Zsuzsanna Repas said at the House of Hungarians that “we have redefined our relations to ourselves, to the nation.” The power that reformed the country, and the trust and will for revival have stood the test of time, she added. “This is a stable bastion for we Hungarians,” she said. The tree for national cohesion was inaugurated at the event and students from Transylvania, southern Slovakia, Vojvodina and Hungary hanged small houses on the branches, with each house showing a message that strengthens cohesion.
Commemorations abroad started a few days ago. An event marking the anniversary was held in Kisszelmenc, a Ukrainian village near the Slovak border. National cohesion is particularly important for local families which were sealed off from their relatives living on the other side of the border during the Soviet times. The anniversary of the Trianon peace dictate was commemorated in Marosvasarhely at a young apple tree planted in the churchyard last year to symbolise national cohesion. The ethnic Hungarian inhabitants of Orisziget in Austria also marked the event at an apple-tree representing cohesion and common roots.
MEP Krisztina Morvai, of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, said that at a time when talks have started about Serbia’s European Union accession, Hungary should use the opportunity to express demands for autonomy to ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina and stepped-up action against anyone who commits ethnically motivated attacks.
The Hungarian parliament declared June 4 the Day of National Cohesion in 2010 to mark the anniversary of the day the peace treaty was signed in the Grand Trianon chateau of Versailles in 1920.