Comparison of Romania to Islamic State at Budapest demo ruffles feathers in Bucharest

A Budapest demonstration in support of autonomy for Romania’s Hungarian-majority Székelyföld (Szeklerland) counties of Kovászna, Hargita and parts of Maros county has caused a political storm, when organizers called Romania “the Islamic State of Europe.” Bogdan Aurescu, Romania’s foreign affairs ministere, telephone his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, to officially protest the accusation made by Árpád György Mózes, the president of the Society for Szekler Land.

Mr. Aurescu expressed concern that the upcoming March 15th national holiday in Hungary might be used to “make remarks that offend the basic treaty between Hungary and Romania or the Romanian constitution.” The 25th anniversary of the 1990 violent ethnic clashes between Hungarians and Romanians in the town of Marosvásárhely might also serve as an opportunity for increasing tension between the two countries, remarked Mr. Aurescu.

Map of Székely lands

Map of Székely lands

Earlier this week, Mr. Szijjártó noted in discussions that Hungary’s relationship with Slovakia was “good,” but that with Romania it has become “cold.” He noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has not held bilateral talks with his Romanian counterpart since coming to power in 2010. Additionally, Mr. Szijjártó has yet to meet Mr. Aurescu in person.

It takes two to tango, and it would seem incomprehensible that the leaders of neighbouring countries would not hold any high-level bilateral talks over the course of five years.

When pressed about the controversial statements at the Székelyföld protest in Heroes’ Square, Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that no official representative of the Hungarian government was present.


One Comment

  1. Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

    I think Christopher, that one should separate two things and have to distinguish.

    The general protocol for best and most intelligent way to solve ethnic minority problems is to provide autonomy to the minorities. South Tyrol and the Scandinavian countries provided examples that the autonomy is a viable solution for a long term. Even in Iraq, where the appearances of ISIS broke the trilateral deal, the Kurdish Autonomy is a success story. The problem is that the politicians do not belong to the highest IQ section of population. If the Romanian government were less reluctant to accept the right of Székelyföld fir autonomy, the problems might have been solved for ever.

    The other aspect, however, that the bilateral relations has a special importance at the light of Russian invasion and plans for restore the Soviet rule in Eastern and Central Europe. Romania play the same game as in the years of WWI: they offer alliance to the West on condition that the West accept the injustice toward Transylvanian Hungarians. And the “Hungarian” foreign policy – which could rather be called as a branch of Russian policy, since Mr. Szijjártó have taken it over (as a hero of the “Open To East” suicide alternative).

    So the situation is not easy, but important to keep an eye on the real Western liberal values, such as freedom and autonomy even in an allied country, such as Romania.

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