Pragmatic Trans-Border Nationalism: A Comparative Analysis of Poland’s and Hungary’s Policies Towards Kin-Minorities in the Twenty-First Century
Ethnopolitics | pages: 53-66
This paper outlines the dynamic development of policies in Poland and Hungary towards kin-minorities and their outcomes under the rule of right-wing governments. The main aim is to provide a comparative analysis of kin-state policies targeting co-ethnics living beyond the countries’ borders and point out possible explanations for common and different elements in these two cases. The similarities between Poland’s and Hungary’s policies towards kin-minorities are manifested in an official narrative about one existing nation across borders, and legal measures and political actions aimed at supporting minorities in neighbouring countries. At the same time, there are some important differences concerning, inter alia, ethnic preferential citizenship laws. The Hungarian authorities use preferential naturalisation as a means of strengthening the influence of non-resident ethnic Hungarians as voters in Hungary’s elections. Non-resident Hungarians also play an important role in foreign policy towards neighbouring countries. For policymakers in Poland, ethnic Poles living abroad remain a demographic and economic reservoir. The changes in legal regulations, aimed at encouraging them to settle and work in Poland, are dictated by the constantly high demand for a labour workforce and expected severe demographic decline. Both Hungarian and Polish policies towards kin-minorities are examples of pragmatic trans-border nationalism, which is a concept also developed in the article.