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The first meeting of the Working Group of Hungarian Communities in FUEN was held in Lendava, Slovenia

We listen to each other, we support each other – this could be the motto of the first official meeting of the Working Group of Hungarian Communities (MKM) of the Federation of European Nationalities (FUEN). The meeting was organised in Lendava*Lendva, Slovenia, on 23-24 February. FUEN's fourth language group is the smallest in terms of membership - six - but represents the largest minority in Europe. The representatives of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), the Cultural Association of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ), the Hungarian Alliance from Slovakia, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Croatia (HMDK) were welcomed by the Hungarian Self-Governing National Community of Pomurje (MMÖNK), the organisation of the smallest community, representing 8,000 Hungarians in Slovenia. Their president, Dusan Orban, said he was honoured to host the event.

"The protection of minorities in Europe has come a long way since 2010, when a new era began in the life of Hungarian communities and the protection of minorities in Europe. We decided then that it was worth finding solutions to our specific problems within a European framework. It was important for us that Hungary supported this decision from the very beginning and provided support for it, and the joint decision that FUEN is the umbrella organisation that should unite European minority protection efforts was also important" - said FUEN President Loránt Vincze, MEP of the RMDSZ, at the opening of the working meeting.

The head of the working group, László Brenzovics, President of the KMKSZ pointed out that although there are regular events in Hungary which provide an opportunity for Hungarian organisations from beyond the borders to meet, the Working Group is the only forum where Hungarian communities from beyond the borders can support each other in dealing with common issues.

At the opening of the event, Andor Ferenc Dávid, Ambassador of Hungary to Ljubljana, praised the outstanding role of FUEN in the protection of minorities in Europe and said that "it is in the interest of all Hungarians that the work leading to the adoption of the Minority SafePack Initiative continues and that this wonderful idea becomes a reality". Réka Brendus, Head of the Department of the State Secretariat for National Policy and Domokos Vékás, Director of the Hunineu Foundation of the Hungarian Parliament were invited to the meeting.

At the meeting, member organisations assessed the situation of their communities. In Romania, the RMDSZ aims to maintain its political wight in a year of four elections, while in Slovakia the Hungarian Federation is aiming to get back into the European Parliament. In Serbia, politics is characterised by uncertainty, and the VMSZ, which is preparing for internal elections, must face up to this situation. In Croatia, the electoral result of the major parties could affect the position of the HMDK.  In Slovenia, the MMÖNK is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Ukraine has not held a census since 2001, but it is estimated that the number of Hungarians living in the country and in Transcarpathia has fallen dramatically. According to László Brenzovics, there are about 70-90,000 Hungarians currently living in the country, but the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia has not collapsed, nor has its institutional system. All the schools, colleges and churches are functioning, and the deputies and mayors have remained in their posts, but the pressure is mounting on them, he said. In Ukraine, the terms of the parliament and the head of state expire this year, but there will be no elections because of the war.

At the meeting, the organisations agreed to prepare a joint statement on the stakes of the upcoming European elections and to discuss the possibilities of the Hungarian presidency. The organisations are planning several joint projects for this year. The MKM visited the Consulate General of Hungary in Lendava, and in Domonkosfa they visited the country house and took part in a traditional event of the local community.