Hungarian PM’s office demands recognition of all of Ukraine’s Zakarpattia as “traditionally Hungarian”

June 28, 2024 in News by RBN Staff



Among the 11 demands of Hungary regarding the protection of the rights of national minorities, a key stumbling block is the designation of areas in Ukraine with a special level of guarantees for the rights of Hungarians. In particular, this refers to the country’s westernmost Zakarpattia Oblast, where, according to the 2001 census and previous years, the proportion of Hungarians was over 10%.

Source: European Pravda, citing all Hungarian demands

Details: This provision is also in the current legislation of Ukraine: it refers to cities and villages with a “significant number” of minority representatives (starting from 15%) and with “traditional” minority residence (from 10% over the last 100 years).

However, this was not enough for Budapest, and they began to demand that all settlements in Zakarpattia be automatically recognised as “traditionally Hungarian” – even those where Hungarians have never lived historically.

The Orbán government demands the abolition of the 10% norm in principle, claiming that if even a small number lived in an area traditionally, then it is to be considered “Hungarian” territory.

Hungary also demands that Ukraine abandon the decision-making process conducted by local councils in this regard and make the assignment of the “historically Hungarian” status automatic.

The government in Budapest insists that only the 2001 census should be used for that purpose, although the number of Hungarians living in Zakarpattia has almost halved since then.

The key point is that the Orbán government explicitly calls this block decisive for the entire set of 11 demands. This is because Orbán sees that the share of the Hungarian population in Zakarpattia has fallen below 10%. Now Budapest sees a chance to use a historical opportunity and blackmail Ukraine into reminding these people of their Hungarian descent.


  • At the end of January, during a visit to Uzhhorod, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó handed the Ukrainian side a list of 11 demands intended to guarantee the rights of the Hungarian national minority in Ukraine.
  • Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the head of Ukraine’s delegation in negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, said that Ukraine was prepared to fulfil Hungary’s 11 demands regarding the rights of national minorities in Ukraine.