Bucharest and Budapest in ‘autonomy’ region row

Sallie Anderson

“As we fight the pandemic, the (opposition) Social Democratic party fights – to give Transylvania to Hungary”, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis stated in a current interview.

This triggered a response from Hungary’s foreign affairs minister – explaining the declaration as “inciting hatred”.

The row started when a draft costs giving autonomy to Szeklerland, part of Romania’s Transylvania region, quickly passed the Lower House of Romanian parliament, without MPs getting to vote on it, after getting indirect approval once the dispute due date ended.

The draft law moved then to the Romania Senate where is wasvoted down on Thursday (29 April) The upper house had the final decision in this regard.

However that was not completion of it, as the lower chamber’s indirect approval caused a blame game on the controversial concern in between the judgment Liberal Party and opposition Social Democratic Party – which holds the presidency of the lower chamber and most of seats.

Szeklerland, which utilized to form part of Hungary, consists of a big portion of the ethnic Hungarians living in Romania.

Szekler people have, over the past 3 years, looked for to get autonomy from Bucharest through a number of not successful legal propositions.

The Romanian president went on to accuse the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of assisting Hungarians, even recommending that PSD leader had a secret handle Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban.

It developed into a diplomatic row as soon as the Hungarian foreign affairs minister stepped in arguing that president Iohannis is fomenting hatred between the two countries and required more regard for the ethnic Hungarians living in Romania.

However Romania’s foreign affairs minister likewise went on the offensive – protecting president Iohannis’ declaration, stating that Hungarian official remarks are “provocative and inadequate”.

“Romania respects its responsibilities towards its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, and urges for restraint during Covid-19 epidemics”, journalism office of the Romanian ministry of foreign affairs informed EUobserver.

Some political experts, nevertheless, see the Romania president’s outburst as an electoral tactic to win over nationalist votes and to divert attention from the authorities’ handling of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Iohannis, an ethnic German from Transylvania, has actually formerly been assaulted by Social Democratic agents over his ethnic culture, calling him a Nazi and indicating secret ties with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

“He just found the opportunity to return the blow and exploit PSD’s legislative blunder” is that description for the president’s remarks.

Romania relates to the autonomy of Szeklerland as unconstitutional and a danger to its own sovereignty.

Treaty of Trianon

Transylvania, which Szeklerland belongs to, was provided to Romania following the Treaty of Trianon and the defeat of Hungary in War World I.

The calls for autonomy for Szeklerland have actually been led by UDMR (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania), charming ethnic Hungarian citizens with propositions put prior to parliament which stand little chance of being taken seriously.

Because 2010, the result of the treaty has actually been officially remembered in Hungary as the”Day of National Belonging”


Following the treaty, Hungary lost a minimum of two-thirds of its previous area and two-thirds of its residents.

Numerous Hungarians concern the 1920 Treaty of Trianon as a national injury, setting off deep feelings a century later on.

A recent Pew Research Center study shows that two-thirds of Hungarians concur that parts of neighbouring countries, consisting of Szeklerland, must lawfully come from them, the highest number in all NATO member countries.

The concern has actually been made use of by both sides, as stress in between Hungary and Romania have actually emerged frequently. The 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians living in Romania comprise the biggest minority-group in the nation.

Hostility to the treaty, which requires the restitution of the areas that were lost after World War I, has actually beenused for electoral gains by Budapest


Hungary’s Orban currently provided ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania and other former areas dual citizenship, allowing them to vote in Hungary’s elections.

Improving his nationalistic qualifications belongs to Orban’s political method as he likewise shelled out tens of millions of euros into the ethnic Hungarian neighborhoods of Transylvania.

Bucharest authorities have actually been no complete strangers to feeding nationalist worries either – as they think it would assist sway some citizens and briefly sidetrack attention from domestic affairs.

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