Canadian and US soldiers participate, Hungary boycotts National Day Parade in Bucharest

On December 1 Romania held a military parade to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Great Union, the foundation of modern-day Romania. On this day in 1918 the National Assembly was held in Alba Julia (Gyulafehérvár in Hungarian), where 1,228 elected delegates adopted the union resolution. The declaration promised “full national freedom” to all minorities and was read at a public event attended by over 100,000 people.

A hundred years later hundreds of military vehicles, aircrafts and foreign servicemen from NATO countries celebrated National Day at the Arch of Triumph Square in Bucharest. Troops from Albania, Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and many other countries were there. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Romania for its contribution to NATO and Canadian and US soldiers marched in the parade.

Canadian soldiers celebrate Romania’s National Day on December 1, 2018.

US soldiers march on Romania’s National Day on December 1, 2018 in Bucharest.

Yet, Hungary was missing

Authoritarian Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared that Hungarian officials would not attend the Romanian National Day events. “I am a traditionalist and I think that sincerity is the best method, even if sore points are at stake. Here we have a diplomatic sore point, but it’s better to sincerely assume the conflict than being double-faced. Magyars have no reason to celebrate on December 1st, so they don’t celebrate, which is an honest attitude to the Romanians as well, for at least we don’t lie to them. I believe that the Magyar diplomacy was right when choosing this honest, sincere way” Orbán said.

Romania has a significant Hungarian minority and there are still unresolved issues. Many feel that the unification proclamation of 1918 promised autonomy to the Hungarian minority which has never materialized.

Yet, insulting Romania by boycotting the country’s National Day won’t help to resolve the issues. Only goodwill, flexibility and negotiations with great diplomatic skill and wisdom can provide solutions. By picking fights and insulting Bucharest (and NATO allies) Orbán is alienating his country again and acts against the interest of the Hungarian minority in Romania.

I have a feeling that the majority of Canadians and Americans of Hungarian origin denounce Viktor Orbán’s rude boycott and congratulate to Romania on its National Day.

György Lázár

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