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A liberal view on citizenship

January 12th, 2013

A liberal pundit ponders the implications of Gérard Depardieu’s newly acquired Russian citizenship and criticises the government’s intention to keep graduates in Hungary if they enjoy free university tuition.

The relationship between the state and its citizens is becoming increasingly chaotic,” – György Szerbhorváth writes on comment.hu. As proof, he takes the example of French actor Gérard Depardieu who was granted Russian citizenship by President Putin, after having moved to Belgium in order to avoid the new French super tax on the highest revenues (which has been since scrapped by the State Council). But his main concern, of course, is Hungary, with hundreds of thousands of ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries acquiring citizenship and the right to vote in Hungary. He is not sure whether it will be Fidesz which profits from these new voters as intended. He suspects that Jobbik might gain more from the transborder vote. In addition, Szerbhorváth would find it strange to have MPs in the Hungarian parliament who actually live in other countries, although there will probably be several after next year’s election. In a final remark, the columnist thinks the government should not force students who enjoy free tuition to commit themselves to seeking employment in Hungary for twice as long as the duration of their scholarships, or pay back the value of their tuition. “Why not tax skilled workers employed abroad? Szerbhorváth asks, “since their studies have also been paid for from public money.” He believes the modern state cannot demand such a degree of obedience from its citizens.

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