The Experiences of the Strategy for the Regional and Economic Development of Hungarians Living in Vojvodina

Kovács, Teréz

Keywords: Prosperitati Foundation, SME s, agricultural producers, Hungarian ethnic minority outside Hungary, Q12, Q13

Among the Hungarian ethnic minorities living outside Hungary, those living in Voijvodina, Serbia were the first ethnic minority to develop an economic development strategy, in 2015, that met with the intentions of the Hungarian Government to provide financial benefits as well as cultural benefits to boost the local economy. This study describes how this programme is being implemented in the period 2016-2018. At this point, which is halfway through the programme, it is important to highlight that only those people with dual citizenship (Hungarian and Serbian) are qualified to apply to this programme, who on the most part had small and medium-scale family businesses in agriculture. The successful applicants received a one-off payment of the equivalent of up to 2.5 million Hungarian Forints paid in Serbian Dinar. The programme has so far been very popular with almost 7000 applications received in the first 1.5 years, 89% of which were already approved and paid. These benefits were mostly allocated to working- and middle-class Hungarians for whose identity was strengthened through this programme: they feel that they are important for Hungary. The main changes in the next phase of the programme will include larger benefits allocated for larger businesses and technological developments with the aim to provide jobs and integration.