The Politics of Dual Citizenship in Hungary

TitleThe Politics of Dual Citizenship in Hungary
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKovács, M. M.
Journal titleCitizenship Studies
Year2006
Pages431 - 451
Volume10
Issue4
Abstract

The study reviews the politics underlying the 2004 referendum in Hungary on whether the country should offer extraterritorial, non-resident citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in the neighboring states of Romania, Slovakia, Serbia-Montenegro and the Ukraine. The study argues that the issue of dual citizenship for ethnic minorities and kin-states in Central and Eastern Europe is quite distinct from the issue of dual citizenship in West European immigration countries. Transborder ethnic relatives make up large proportions of some of the contiguous countries with whom Hungary has a long history of border disputes which is why the Hungarian reform initiative touched upon sensitive issues connected to the sovereignty of these states. In addition, the large size of the non-resident Hungarian population means that their potential Hungarian citizenship would have serious consequences for the Hungarian welfare state, and the determination of the political future of Hungary, where even much smaller numbers of voting non-residents might swing the vote. The article outlines the arguments that were made in favor of the reform by the political right and those against the reform by the left. It examines the initiative from the European Union's perspective and compares the Hungarian case to cases of dual citizenship in other countries of Europe. The article also raises questions about the long-term implications of this form of dual citizenship for the “re-ethnicization” of citizenship.

Languageeng
Notes

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