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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 06:23 GMT 07:23 UK
Romania blasts Hungarian ethnic law

The Romanian government has stepped up its condemnation of a Hungarian law granting special rights to ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring states.

The Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, said Romania was not a colony that Hungary could exploit for labour and stressed that his cabinet would prevent the law being applied on its territory.

He said Hungary's vision was anti-European and based on nineteenth-century values.

Mr Nastase was responding to laws providing ethnic Hungarians living abroad with special identity cards and the right to work, pay tax and receive free health care in Hungary.

Slovakia has also condemned the Hungarian law. Romania hosts the world's largest Hungarian minority - of nearly 1.7 million people.

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