2001

Report of Venice Commission

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In 2001, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law concerning persons of Hungarian identity who are citizens of neighbouring states of Hungary: Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine. This law, which grants preferential treatment to those citizens, has been criticised by some of the countries concerned. The main objection to it concerns the unilateral approach adopted.
The Venice Commission (The European Commission for Democracy through Law), which was asked for its opinion on the law, prepared its report by a comparison of Austrian status law (1979), Slovenian status laws (1996 and 2002), Slovakian status law (1997), Romanian benefit law (1998), Greek national identity card law (1999), Russian law on compatriots (1999), Bulgarian status law (2000), the Constitution of Italy (1991) and the Hungarian status law (2001)
In the report (Report on the Preferential Treatment of National Minorities by Their Kin-State) the Commission considers that states must adopt a bilateral approach to protecting kin-minorities and that any laws on the matter must be based on four principles: territorial sovereignty, pacta sunt servanda, friendly good-neighbourly relations, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the prohibition of discrimination.