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Round table discussion-professional talk about the Romanian-Hungarian relations

2016. 01. 04.
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Regionalisation, federalisation and autonomy have been the main subjects around which the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania (CNMT) has organised a professional dialogue in Brașov. The event took place in December 11 and can be considered a continuation of the autonomy conferences which had been organised last year and two years ago in Târgu Mureș and Sfântu Gheorghe.

Ten guests, both Romanian and Hungarian – journalists, politicians, activists – shared their opinions in front of approximately 60 guests. The guest speakers at the event were Sándor Krisztina, executive president of the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania, Bakk Miklós – political analyst, university professor (Cluj-Napoca), Mircea Dăian - journalist, founder of Democratic Transylvania League (Mediaș), Fancsali Ernő – M.A. student, president of Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania - PPMT, Cluj-Napoca branch (Cluj-Napoca), Adrian Szelmenczi - journalist, ActiveWatch (Bucharest), Szilágyi Ferenc - university professor, president of Council for Autonomy in Partium (Oradea), Toró T. Tibor – vice-president of  Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania - PPMT (Timișoara), Izsák Balázs – president of Szekler National Council (Târgu Mureș) and Hans Hedrich – civil activist, vice-president of Neuer Weg Association (Sighișoara).

Smaranda Enache, co-president of Pro Europa League (Târgu Mureș), Kalmár Ferenc, Ministerial Commissioner for Hungary's Neighbourhood Policy (Budapest) and Lucian Constantin, president of Democratic Transylvania League (Brașov) have accepted the CNMT invitation, but they could not attend the meeting due to objective reasons.

At the beginning of the event, Brașov Local Council member Oprica Adrian (PNL) thanked the audience and the guests for being there and stressed the fact that, regarding the relations between Romanians and Hungarians, Brașov is an exception among Romanian cities as there, the two ethnic groups live truly in peace and in mutual respect for each other’s culture. 

Sándor Krisztina – as event host and moderator  – highlighted the main subjects of the event, on which the guests could share their opinion. Thus, during the dialogue, the participants talked about the relations between Romanian ethnics and Hungarian ethnics today (including the relations between Romania and Hungary), about the political consequences and future possibilities of regionalisation movements, as well as about the anti-Hungarian incidents which took place in the recent period of time.

About Romanian-Hungarian relations in Transylvania in the light of Romania-Hungary relations

The first speaker was Bakk Miklós, who stressed mainly positive aspects regarding the Romanian-Hungarian relations and gave examples like the now-consolidating democracy models and the collaborations in the environmental field. The university professor said that a shared and common Transylvanian identity is now forming. Regarding the relation between Romania and Hungary, Bakk Miklós thinks that it is influenced by crisis situations in the European Union and by the geopolitical events.

Toró T. Tibor agreed with Bakk Miklós and added: when evaluating the Hungarian-Romanian relations we can safely say that one of the sources of conflict is linked to the status of Transylvania – Toró stressed the negative consequences of the 1923 Constitution, which declared Romania as an ethnically homogenous country, thus ignoring the situation in Transylvania.

Mircea Dăian detailed aspects regarding the visible development of the commercial and economic relations between Romania and Hungary and his opinion is that the relation between the two countries is a good one, with the exceptions of some situations in the neighbourhood policies and internal affairs domains.

Izsák Balázs declared that, as the goal of Szekler National Council states it, autonomy is indispensable, and for this, good relations are needed both between Romania and Hungary, and between Romanians and Hungarians in Transylvania.

Szilágyi Ferenc talked about Romanian-Hungarian relations from a geopolitical perspective, relations that can be seen in two dimensions: the state one, where it is obvious that there are contradictory interests, and the configurational one, where this oppositions tend to cancel each other out.

Hans Hedrich thinks that it is wrong to try to understand the Romanian-Hungarian relations from the Bucharest-Budapest relation perspective and stated that it is more constructive, as Transylvanians, to resolve our tensions between us, concentrating on our own problems, even if, throughout history, the building of Romanian nation, as well as the Hungarian nation, often meant affecting the other’s interests.

Fancsali Ernő stressed the need of strengthening the collaboration in Eastern Europe and the strategic role of Romania in relation with the Visegrad Four. The PPMT politician highlighted the fact that the two communities – Romanian and Hungarian – have parallel lives in Transylvania, which makes it even harder for a real dialogue to be shaped.

Both nations have the Trianon complex, said Adrian Szelmenczi, who thinks that the real problems of the Romanian-Hungarian relation are not discussed in Bucharest almost at all. The journalist added the fact that the Romanian public opinion still sees the Hungarian community from Transylvania and the Carpathian Basin as „those who lost the war”.

About the political propensity of regionalisation

The guests also talked about the development of regionalisation movements in Transylvania.

Mircea Dăian said that the state organisation is hypercentralised and stressed that the „transylvanisation” of Romania is needed, and that modernisation is possible only after a federal structure is already present.

Bakk Miklós reminded the audience of some actions, manifestations, movements that contributed to the transylvanist spirit validation and mentioned Sabin Gherman’s actions in the ’90s and the actions of Provincia team. In Bakk’s opinion, regionalisation, as a subject, is being approached more and more often in relevant communities and forums. The professor considers the existence of regionalist political parties as being a good thing and thinks it would be even better if, until the elections, more similar parties would be formed, and the big, established parties could form relations with the former ones.

In Toró T. Tibor’s opinion, the political party law was modified not in order to make it easier for a smaller party in Transylvania to be formed, but in order to relax the political field, so that the domination of the big parties would be even stronger.

Toró characterised the PPMT as being a regional party which is „mixture free”, an organisation that is looking for partners in Transylvania and does not consider a mixed (Romanian-Hungarian) party as being appropriate for large mass mobilising in Transylvania.

Adrian Szelmenczi considers that these regionalist movements have, for now, as their consequence, only the deepening of the distrust between Romanians and Hungarians – something set as a goal by the secret services. Moreover, Szelmenczi does not think that Bucharest is the appropriate context to have useful professional or political debates regarding regionalisation.

About federalisation in Romanian and European context

Szilágyi Ferenc’s opinion is that federalisation would be in the best interest of every ethnicity living in Romania and exemplified with the existent federalism in other countries – bigger or similar in dimension to Romania. Szilágyi explained that the majority of the Romanians abroad live in federal or regionalised countries and stressed the fact that strong regional identity is needed for outlining the regions. The professor also said that regions do not need to be formed, they just need recognition as such.

In addition to the first speaker, Bakk Miklós talked about a dilemma that exists in Romania’s public life, a dilemma which generates debates regarding the modernising change and which confronts the French model and the globalisation model. In Bakk’s opinion, the ethnic character of a region that is based on this exact character cannot be changed, so this endeavour can be dealt with in the case of Romanians, too.

Mircea Dăian agreed with the principles already expressed and stressed the fact that Buharest – as the capital of the country – cannot be excluded when it comes to making decisions regarding federalisation. Dăian also mentioned that the collaboration and contribution of new, young politicians is needed.

Toró T. Tibor defined PPMT as being a federalist party that awaits for Romanian parties for which similar values and principles are important. When asked the theoretical question: should we talk about federal Romania or, rather, about autonomous Szeklerland?, Toró said that these two not only do not exclude each other, but are very compatible, they are a common issue.

The Bucharest leaders who oppose federalisation see in it a danger for Romania of being torn to pieces, declared Hans Hedrich. The civil activist proposed that a decentralisation process be started and said that he sees only a slim chance for change in the vision of the current political class in Bucharest.

In reply, Adrian Szelmeczi declared that the essence of federalisation has to be first understood by the citizens and only after that by the politicians. The journalist confessed that it is unclear to what extent the wish and the materialisation of federalisation would concern only Transylvania or also other regions.

The aggravation of anti-Hungarian movements

Adrian Szelmeczi from ActiveWatch pointed out the anti-Hungarian actions from the last period, actions examined constantly and publicly communicated by the above mentioned organisation, at the initiative of the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania.

The Hungarian community in Transylvania is harassed constantly and in a planned manner, said Szelmeczi. Refering to the Szekler flag issue, he stressed the fact that the authorities declared the flag as being publicity and, moreover, as constituting an offense to the Romanian national pride. At the end of his intervention, the speaker condemned such examples of excess.

Hans Hedrich had a proposition: instead of „minority”, the public opinion formers and leaders should use the „native national minority” syntagm. After that, Sándor Krisztina enumerated and counted the anti-Hungarian incidents that offended the rights of the community or the rights of one of its members (12 incidents from the 24th of November until the 4th of December).  Regarding these incidents, Izsák Balázs thinks that it was predictable for the old (post-communist) nomenclature to try – even with minutiously manufactured anti-Hungarian actions and gestures – to show the public opinion that only they can maintain the order in the country.

The organisers’ intention is to offer continuity to these kinds of talks, and the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania representatives want to put a special focus on similar events in the future.

Aloldal jobb felső szöveg

Tőkés László ünnepi beszédét tartja Bánffyhunyadon, 2013. március 15-én. 

„Olyan emberekre van szükség, akik nem félnek, akik tesznek a szabadságért; a külső szabadsághoz pedig elsősorban az szükséges, hogy az emberek  belül is szabadok legyenek, mivel csak szabad emberek vívhatják ki a szabadságot”.

EMNT-gála, Kolozsvár, 2013. december 14. VIDEÓGALÉRIA