Hungarians must not be ignored
08. 12. 2016.
After meeting Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) in Szatmárnémeti/ Satu Mare on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán urged members of the Hungarian community in Romania to vote in the Romanian parliamentary election on Sunday in the largest possible numbers.

At a joint press conference the Prime Minister said: “I would like to see a situation in Romania in which Hungarians cannot be ignored”. He stressed that Hungarians in Romania must stand up for their interests, adding that the strength of the Hungarian community in Romania also has a major impact on the quality of Romanian-Hungarian cooperation.

He indicated that there are phenomena affecting the Hungarian community in Romania and in the wider field of Romanian politics which are clear threats. “We feel that Hungarians living here are not always given the respect they deserve, and we also feel that those in power in Romania do not assist in removing all possible obstacles to their development”, he stated.

The Prime Minister said that if, however, Romania chooses “an appropriate political leadership” and the Hungarian government is also ready to cooperate, the Hungarian community living in Romania will also benefit from this.

Fotó: Czeglédi Zsolt/MTI
Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

He added that Hungary has a vested interest in a successful Romania. This is both for fraternal reasons, he remarked, and because, as they are neighbouring countries, “Romania’s success also reflects well on the perception of Hungary”.

At the same time, in relation to the elections Mr. Orbán congratulated Mr. Kelemen on “having created the widest possible unity in the circumstances”. He stressed that “It is always better to unite our forces than descend into discord”.

A member of the Romanian media asked the Prime Minister about Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó’s recent prohibition on Hungarian diplomats attending celebrations marking the Romanian national holiday on 1 December. In reply Mr. Orbán said that honesty is the best policy, even in delicate matters – and there is no question that this is a diplomatically delicate matter. “However, it is still better to accept the conflicts which might stem from honesty and sincerity than to be two-faced”, he said, adding that “As Hungarians have nothing to celebrate on 1 December, they don’t celebrate”. He described the decision of the Hungarian diplomatic wing as sound, in “having opted for honesty”.

Romania made 1 December a national holiday in 1990; it was on this day in 1918 that a Romanian national assembly was held in Gyulafehérvár/ Alba Iulia, at which the attendees proclaimed the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania.

Fotó: Czeglédi Zsolt/MTI
Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

At the press conference the Prime Minister also informed the press that the situation of Szatmárnémeti had been reviewed at the meeting, which was also attended by Mayor Gábor Kereskényi. The Mayor pointed out that near the border it is important to directly connect the city to the Hungarian motorway network, and thus the European motorway network. Mr. Orbán said that this involves construction of a section of motorway of 35 to 40 kilometres in Hungary leading to the border with Romania. He added that the planning of this motorway section will begin soon in Budapest.

Speaking in front of a poster calling for Hungarian unity, Mr. Kelemen said that a substantial victory would provide the Hungarian community in Romania with strong parliamentary representation in the Bucharest legislature. “When it comes to our joint affairs, we are pulling together, and setting aside everything which may have separated us in the past”, he said.

The President of the RMDSZ described the upcoming elections as absolutely decisive, explaining that major reforms are expected to take place over the next few years – for instance, in public administration and education. Decisions may be made on issues which will determine the lives of the members of the Hungarian community in Romania for many decades.

“We would therefore like to have a say in those decisions, to ensure that the 1.3 million Hungarians who live in Romania cannot be ignored”, Mr. Kelemen stressed.

The meeting was held in the “Green House” in the Kossuth Garden in Szatmárnémeti, where several local people also attended the joint press conference.