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Hungarian, Slovak premiers clash

History

Gyurcsány said the two sides disagreed over the cause of several attacks, adding there was “no place for extremist policies” within a government. Gyurcsány's comment referred to the Slovak National Party, whose leader Jan Slota is known for anti-Hungarian remarks. The 550,000-strong population of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia is a legacy of the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. The neighbors had to recognize their minorities as a condition of EU membership. Now, their governments are trying to join the euro, and Slovak PM Robert Fico is under pressure to keep the coalition together and win backing for economic reforms such as trimming the budget deficit. “You must be talking about another country,” Fico said at the press conference in Visegrád, northern Hungary, after prime ministers from Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland held an annual meeting. Sitting next to Gyurcsány, Fico said the Slovak government condemned attacks against Hungarians and is fighting extremism. Tension between the two countries arose in August after a 23-year-old student in Nitra, Slovakia, said she was beaten by two men because she spoke Hungarian. Three days later, a 19-year-old was beaten by six men for the same reason. (Bloomberg, Magyar Hírlap, Népszava)

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