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European Journal

Hungary/Slovakia: Worthless Passports

Relations between Hungary and Slovakia are strained. The government in Budapest is offering passports to members of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian minority - to the outrage of Bratislava.

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Ungarn - designierter Regierungschef Viktor Orban / FIDESZ

In a no-holds-barred move, Hungary's new conservative-populist prime minister Viktor Orban has allowed ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia to apply for Hungarian passports - without informing the Slovak government beforehand. As expected, the Slovaks have reacted aggressively, threatening to strip ethnic Hungarians who take up the offer of their Slovak citizenship. Yet the whole purpose of the passports appears senseless. Not only will these people not enjoy voting rights in Hungary; they will also have no claim to welfare benefits there.