Wednesday, 11 October 2006

National Assembly Chairman Markovic speaks at Hungarian Parliament to mark fiftieth anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

At the invitation of the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Katalin Szili, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, today attended events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.



At the invitation of the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Katalin Szili, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Predrag Markovic, today attended events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The Hungarian Parliament held a memorial sitting, chaired by Ms Szili, and attended by Parliamentary Speakers and representatives from 24 nations.

At the start of events marking the anniversary at the Hungarian Parliament, Mr Markovic delivered the following speech:

‘It is my honour to be in this House for the third time, for the third year in a row. I came here for the first time to offer congratulations for your joining the European Union; I am here today for us to mark this great, yet sad, date for Hungary. Nineteen fifty six is both a year of victims and a year of refugees; let me tell you that it is not only Hungary that marks this anniversary – in many ways, Serbia will do so as well.

In eight days Ms Szili and I will open a memorial, in Palic, near Subotica, to mark the largest camp that was set up to house refugees who fled Hungary in 1956.

The memory of 1956 is marked in Serbia as a sign of solidarity, both between countries and between peoples. We need to raise these dates, these monuments to solidarity, to the highest level – as 1956 was marked by ideals of democracy and independence, today that ideal needs to be joined by human and minority rights to make it complete. This is because Serbs and Hungarians do not live next to each other – they live together.

For three years already Ms Szili and I, personally, but also our respective parliaments, and now increasingly local authorities, have been implementing tolerance programmes. We are getting good results, exchanging advice and experiences, leading by example. In all this, our nations are facing various problems, as we, and our citizens, are paying the price of necessary changes.

Ladies and gentlemen, Serbia is fortunate in having such a large number of Hungarians living in it. And this is why I am proud of Serbia’s new constitution, which should be confirmed by the citizens on 28 and 29 October, guaranteeing as it does no diminution in minority rights already achieved, returning property to local authorities, and strengthening regional growth; I am also proud of us having a law guaranteeing the election of a large number of ethnic Hungarian deputies to the future parliament.

Hungary has not had the fortune of preserving a significant Serbian minority. And that is why I believe that Hungary, once it changes its constitution, will find a way of including an ethnic Serb MP into this House.

We share the need for European standards and integrations, much as we share responsibility for stability in the region – but, while preserving self-respect, we must also keep the flag of solidarity flying high.

This is why I would, today, here, like to thank all those who earnestly strive to achieve this, in Serbia, in Hungary, and in your countries, esteemed ladies and gentlemen Speakers.’

After the memorial sitting, the Speakers and parliamentary officials paid their respects to victims of the revolution by laying wreaths at the revolution memorial, the tomb of the revolution’s leader, Imre Nagy, and the tomb of the unknown hero at Budapest’s New Cemetery.



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