Hungarian lawmakers have voted to give ethnic Hungarians who live outside the country the right to claim Hungarian nationality as a second citizenship -- a move that is sure to heighten tensions with neighboring Slovakia.
Under the new legislation, citizens of other states will have to demonstrate Hungarian ancestry, language knowledge, and have no criminal record in order to qualify for Hungarian citizenship. It does not confer voting rights on ethnic Hungarians residing outside Hungary.
The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2011 -- potentially affecting more than 2.5 million ethnic Hungarians in neighboring states like Slovakia, Romania and Serbia.
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico has described the bill as a "threat to national security" and vowed that Slovakia would take stern measures if it was adopted.
Fico said today that Slovakia "cannot tolerate" what he described as Hungary's "ignorance of the rules of international law."
compiled from agency reports