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Viktor Orban is using sports to expand Hungary's influence abroad
Viktor Orban's government has given millions of euros to sports clubs in the Szekeli Land, a region in Romania inhabited mainly by ethnic Hungarians, financing the construction of soccer stadiums, sports academies and other infrastructure.
The so-called Szekeli Land is located in the central Romanian region of Transylvania. It is estimated that 1 million inhabitants live in Harghita and Sovasna districts, but also in Mures.
Although just over 50 percent of the population identifies as ethnic Hungarian, the region has long called for greater autonomy from Bucharest, if not outright independence.
But Hungary's investments in the sports sector in Transylvania are viewed with suspicion by others.
According to 'Radio Europws sw Lirw', analysts suspect that Orban is using sport as part of diplomacy to gain the trust, not only of people in Romania, but also in other neighboring countries where significant numbers of ethnic Hungarians live.
Sport is a means to strengthen the Hungarian identity was declared earlier this year by the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto.