The Association, which was established in 1989, held a conference to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of József Halzl, who served as the association’s chairman from 1990 until 2018, the year he was elected its honorary life chairman.

“After 2010, the government’s policies and the Rákóczi Association’s activities found a common ground and József Halzl could witness his work bear fruit and his organisation become stronger and thrive before he died,” Gulyás said. He said Halzl had worked for the cause of community through his life. Halzl strongly believed that language and traditions should be decisive in Hungarian public thinking and in this spirit he developed the Rákóczi Association into Hungary’s largest civil organisation “serving perhaps the noblest mission”, he said.

In a letter read at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said that József Halzl’s personality and activities and the association’s work helping the formulation of the policy towards Hungarian communities was for him a point of reference.

Addressing the conference, Zsolt Németh, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said Halzl was “a builder who would never rest”, had the skill of running a dialogue with neighbouring nations and was a leader who left behind a prosperous alliance.

The Rákóczi Association’s activities include promoting ethnic Hungarian youth organisations, helping Hungarian communities preserve their national entity and supporting their cultural and educational projects. It has over 28,000 members and more than 500 local branches, 300 of which are youth organisations based in high schools, according to its website.