Romanian Hungarians demand more autonomy

Three parties in Romania have called for more autonomy for the Hungarian minority. For Hungarian media in Romania and Slovakia the move comes as no surprise.

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Krónika (RO) /

A century of empty promises

A hundred years after the union of Transylvania with Romania the demands for autonomy are more justified than ever, Krónika finds:

“The centennial year of the Great Union is a logical time for the Hungarian minority to bring up the issue of autonomy. As a reminder, the Hungarians' right to self-determination is enshrined in the declaration of the Great Union of 1918. Yet up to now Romanian historians have done their best to ignore this fact. ... Bringing up the autonomy issue is also important because it will make the following clear to self-adulating Romanian society and the international community: contrary to Romania's official claims that the country is exemplary when it comes to observing minority rights, the situation of the minorities is still unsatisfactory.”

Új Szó (SK) /

All Eastern Europe infected by far-right views

The Romanian government's reaction to the Hungarians' desire for autonomy is symptomatic for all of Eastern Europe, Új Szó explains:

“When asked about the minority's autonomy aspirations the Romanian prime minister went as far as threatening to resort to the gallows - in 2018! This attitude is characteristic of Eastern Europe and suggests that the eastern part of the EU still hasn't overcome a political style that dates back to the 1990s. On the contrary: the success of Tomio Okamura's racist party in the Czech Republic, the rise of the far-right Kotleba in Slovakia and the hate campaign tinted with anti-Semitic symbolism in Hungary all show that much of Eastern Europe is still in a sorry state as far as minorities go. ... Far from being an isolated case, the Romanian prime minister's crude reaction is a painful symptom of the sickness affecting an entire region.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Hungarians complaining about nothing

100 years after Transylvania became part of Romania the Hungarian parties in the country are just trying to draw attention to themselves, historian Marius Diaconescu writes on Adevârul's blog portal:

“Whether we like it or not this centennial year is a good opportunity for talk about patriotism. And the way the Hungarians prefer to do that is to cast themselves as victims. ... Even if it means fabricating problems that don't exist. Because people only read sensational news reports; there are no more analyses. When the Hungarians complain that they have no autonomy, does anyone think of asking whether they don't already have their own mayors, district mayors and district councillors? Is that not self-government? And if they have all that, what more do our Hungarian countrymen want?”

Jurnalul National (RO) /

Territory already being carved up

The plans of the three parties are already very concrete, the national-conservative daily Jurnalul National believes:

“As the territory for the autonomous region they've already chosen the area where they once held their Székely seats [administrative entities with far-reaching autonomy], without taking into consideration the economic changes or population shifts of the past century. ... They're already carving up the map of Romania so as to put the topic right at the top of the national agenda. Their call has the effect of a diversionary tactic, so they can say in the centennial year that ever since the establishment of Greater Romania [Romania was at its largest from 1919 to 1940] the Hungarians have suffered a policy of ostracism and assimilation at the hands of the oppressive Romanian majority.”