PM Orban calls for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians beyond borders

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his speech in front of the Hungarian Parliament, after taking his oath of office, in Budapest, May 10, 2014.

(Reuters) – Hungary will stand up for its rights within the European Union and wants autonomy for ethnic Hungarians living beyond its borders in central Europe, including Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday.

Orban, who was formally endorsed by parliament as prime minister for a second consecutive term after last month’s landslide election win, said ethnic Hungarians supported his policies to unite the nation “above the borders.”

His previous government granted ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries citizenship shortly after it took office in 2010, as part of his efforts to restore a battered sense of national pride.

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There are a lot of Hungarians living outside Hungary, especially in Romania. This is a legacy of World War I, when the Austria-Hungary was on the losing side, whilst Romania had joined the winners.  Austria, of course, started the war after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo.  Ironically, the Hungarians did not want to go to war, but the Austrians talked them into it.