The state secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Hungary, Bence Rétvári, has said that the request of the United States for Hungary to share the personal data of around 900,000 ethnic Hungarians holding its passport and living abroad is very “unrealistic”.
According to Rétvári, the disclosure of personal data of ethnic Hungarian living abroad would jeopardise their security, and for this reason, the authorities do not plan on sharing such information.
“It is an unprecedented and unrealistic request from a country to disclose the personal data of several hundreds of thousands of its citizens because every country safeguards such data with legal guarantees so does Hungary,” the statement of Rétvári reads.
According to About Hungary, Rétvári said that instead, the country would continue cooperating with the US and would respond to every case that is signaled by the latter as soon as possible.
Moreover, Rétvári stressed that the country has been and will continue to launch proceedings in unlawful cases and would revoke citizenships in cases when it is found that someone breached the law and obtained the country’s passport without being eligible for it.
Following the decision of the US to restrict the visa-free travel rules for Hungarian passport holders, Rétvári also said last week that the US is “taking revenge” on its nationals.
On the other hand, the US State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said that his country’s decision to tighten the travel rules for Hungarian passport holders has nothing to do with any other issue.
According to him, the tightening of the visa-free travel rules is solely based on the country’s compliance with the Visa Waiver Program.
Moreover, Miller said that the US has already raised issued the issue with the Hungarian authorities and has given them the opportunity to address the matter.
Responding to this, Rétvári stressed that all people who have been subject to criminal investigation have been stripped of their Hungarian citizenship.
The US decided to tighten the visa-free travel rules for all Hungarian passport holders at the beginning of this month, citing safety concerns.
In line with the new rules that the US has introduced, all Hungarian passport holders are now required to apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization every year instead of every two years.
Moreover, they will only be permitted to enter the territory of the US once during a single year.
Data show that under the simplified naturalization procedures, at least two million ethnic Hungarian living abroad obtained Hungarian citizenship.