Slovenian, Hungarian presidents open minority centre
Lendava, 15 July - President Borut Pahor and his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak cut the ribbon at the opening of the newly renovated House of the Hungarian Community in Lendava on Friday. Novak encouraged community members to preserve their Hungarian identity, while Pahor advocated the nurturing of identity and harmony.
Pahor said in his address that Slovenians and Hungarians needed to nurture their identities, also within the EU. He believes the past has taught the nations that harmony was the best protector of national identities.
The president said that Slovenia's relations with its neighbours had never been as good as they were today. "I base this assessment also on the assessments of Slovenians beyond the country's borders and on assessments of the Italian and Hungarian communities in Slovenia."
"There is a predominant atmosphere of harmony, not without problems, not without worries and resentments, but there is strong hope that we can improve the time we live in," Pahor said.
Novak meanwhile said that the situation of the Hungarian minority in Slovenia was better in many respects than that of Hungarian communities in Hungary's other neighbouring countries because the community has an MP in parliament, language and education rights, and cultural autonomy.
"We are very thankful to our Slovenian friends for this," said Novak, calling on community members to nurture their Hungarian identity, use Hungarian at home, at public offices, schools, companies and in science.
The minority's MP Ferenc Horvath, a member of the council of the Pomurje Hungarian Self-Governing Community, said the opening of the Hungarian Community House was a dream-come-true for the minority.
The renovation was supported financially by the Hungarian government, with Horvath saying that governments of both Slovenia and Hungary had provided substantial aid to the community in the recent years, allowing it to carry out a number of projects.
The event was also attended by Karel Holec, the president of the Slovenian Self-Governing Community in Hungary, who expressed the wish that his community would soon get a similar centre. The project is in the pipeline but has stalled somewhat. He hopes building works will begin next year.