Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s statement after his meeting with Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ)
8 December 2016, Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare)

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to welcome President Kelemen and everyone present. First of all, allow me to congratulate the President on having created in the last few months the widest possible unity, under the circumstances, for these elections. We can say with all certainty that it is always better to unite our forces than to split apart. And we Hungarians, if anyone, should know that all too well.

I would also like to say a few words about the election in terms of Romanian-Hungarian relations. A principle for the Hungarian government is that Hungary has a vested interest in a successful Romania. We wish success to every citizen of Romania – partly for fraternal reasons, and partly because Romania’s success also enhances the perception of Hungary. This is because we are talking about two neighbouring countries, and everyone who has a plot of land knows that the value of that land is also affected by the state of their neighbour’s plot. So in this respect – beyond a fraternal, Christian approach – Romania’s success is also valuable for us in terms of the Hungarian national interest. So we wish Romania every success, and we hope that in the next few years it will develop as the signs today appear to indicate.

On the other hand, however, it is not immaterial for us whether or not the substantial Hungarian community here is represented in this political arena: in the Parliament in Bucharest. I am an optimist, and I don’t frame the arguments for Hungarian representation in terms of threats, but cleverness and optimism are not the same as blindness. And naturally we cannot ignore the fact that there are phenomena and there are developments related to the Hungarian community in Romania, and in the world of Romanian politics surrounding it, which clearly pose a threat. These are extremely negative trends. We feel that the Hungarians living here are not always given the respect they deserve, and we also feel that those in power in Romania do not help to remove all possible obstacles from their path of development. But if we adopt a positive approach, this remark should be in parentheses. This is because I sincerely believe that if Romania elects a good leadership, and if the Hungarian government is also ready to cooperate, the members of the Hungarian community in Transylvania and in the territory of Romania will also reap the benefits. So we shall seek to cooperate. But Hungarians living here must understand that those who do not stand up for themselves – who do not even seek to ensure that they are represented in places where Hungarian interests should be represented – will be ignored by the majority. And those who do not work for their own representation deserve to be ignored. I would not like the Hungarian community here, in Romania, to put itself in that position. I would like to see that it is impossible to ignore the Hungarians. I would like the Hungarians to stand up for their own interests, to have their own voice and to speak up for their interests. I would also like them to serve as a helpful conduit for Romanian-Hungarian cooperation – since it is obvious that the quality of Romanian-Hungarian cooperation is considerably affected by the strength and general state of the Hungarian community here. I would therefore urge all Hungarians living in the territory of Romania today, or in the territory of present-day Romania, to vote in the largest possible numbers and with all their strength in the upcoming parliamentary election. This will have an impact on their own personal quality of life and the prospects for their settlements; it will have an impact on the strength and opportunities of the Hungarian community here; and it will also have an impact on Romanian-Hungarian relations – and through these, the mother country. For us Hungarians in the mother country, it is important that the Hungarians living here should go and vote, and so most respectfully I ask them to do so.

As the President said, it is indeed the election which has brought about this meeting; but now that we have gathered together here, in Szatmárnémeti, we have also spoken about the situation of Szatmárnémeti. I had the opportunity to meet with the Honourable Mayor. I am grateful to him for having received me and having shared with me his thoughts regarding his city. He raised several proposals which are in the interest of those living here. The question was whether Hungary is able to help make the lives of those living in Szatmárnémeti, the lives of every citizen of Szatmárnémeti – whether they are Romanians or Hungarians – easier, simpler and better.

We agreed on one specific project. The Mayor said that it is important for Szatmárnémeti to be directly connected to the Hungarian motorway network – and, through this, the European network. This will involve the construction of a 35–40-kilometre section of motorway in Hungary. We shook hands on this with the Mayor, and in Budapest in the near future we shall begin the planning and implementation of this road. In consequence, the European motorway network will be much more accessible from Szatmárnémeti than it has been up to now. This is just one specific issue among the many which we reviewed. This was not the main topic of our meeting today, however. We shall also have the opportunity to discuss matters with the Mayor later. Today I would like to redirect the spotlight and your attention to the parliamentary election.

If we want Szatmárnémeti to grow and the Hungarians living here to become stronger, if we want the Hungarians in the Partium to become strong, if we want the Hungarians living in present-day Romania to become strong, the Hungarians must stand up for their own interests. They must vote, they must have their voice heard, and they must not allow anyone to ignore them. So once again, I most respectfully urge the Hungarians living here, the Hungarians living in the territory of Romania, to vote in the election on Sunday in the largest possible numbers.

Thank you for your attention.