National minority issues and Hungary – a source of tension

Analysis of our Senior Researcher Csilla Varga

National minority issues in Central and Eastern Europe are a delicate topic. In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Balkan region, the situation of national minorities has never been adequately settled. In Central Europe, ethnicity and state rarely coincide. Minorities live outside their nation-states due to war twentieth-century history and redrawing borders. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the new democratic states of the CEE revived the minority issue after remaining dormant during the Communist era. In the Hungarian case, the legacy of the Treaty of Trianon (1920) led to a new awareness of Hungarian minorities who found themselves outside the state borders. This report provides a short historical overview of the national minority issues in CE, the state and nation-building efforts of countries in the region since the 1990s, as well as the Hungarian approach to ethnic Hungarian minorities residing in neighbouring states and why is it – between Hungary and its particular neighbours - still a source of political tension and hindrance of friendly relations and cooperation. The study introduces national minority issues in Central Europe and the present situation of Hungarian minorities in neighbouring states.

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