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The minister of Foreign Affairs, Titus Corlatean admits that Romania’s relation with Hungary has reached “a difficult moment.”
“The row of flags” between Hungary and Romania entered a new phase this weekend, when the Szekler flag was raised on the Parliament building of Budapest, as “a symbol of national solidarity.” According to the Hungarian news agency MTI, the ceremony of raising the flag was initiated by the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Kover, on the occasion of the plenary session held Friday by the ethnic Hungarian deputies of the Carpathian Basin. In his turn, deputy premier Zsolt Semjen said that using the ethnic symbols of any community represents a fundamental human right and thanked all the Hungarian towns that flew the Szekler colours. Speaking about the recent dispute between Hungary and Romania over the flying of the Szekler flag, Semjen mentioned that the decision made by Budapest “is not meant to amplify the tensions with Romania.”Also last weekend, the president of the Covasna branch of the Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania (PPMT), Nemes Elod displayed the Szekler flag on the balcony of his home of Sfantu Gheorghe. “Flying a flag represents an expression of identity,” Nemes said, quoting article 6 of the Constitution in support of his words.
The Hungarian minister of Foreign Affairs, Janos Martonyi said Friday in an interview granted to M! Television, quoted by hotnews.ro, that the attitude of the Romanian political elite in the case of the Szekler flag could seriously damage the cooperation with Hungary. According to the source, Martonyi added that the Romanian press was crucial in inflaming the row over the Szekler flag (which was recently raised on several municipality buildings throughout Covasna County, on the headquarters of the Sfantu Gheorghe municipality and the Covasna County Council), saying that moderate voices could be heard as well. The Hungarian official stressed that press and diplomacy are two different things: while the press must have “a powerful voice,” diplomacy should act “gently and successfully.” On the other hand, the spokesperson of Hungarian diplomacy, Gabor Kaleta mentioned that the Hungarian minister of Foreign Affairs proposed holding talks with his Romanian counterpart Titus Corlatean, over the restrictions set in place by Romania against flying the Szekler flag.
Corlatean: A gesture of electoral campaign
Flying the Szekler flag on the Hungarian Parliament is a gesture of electoral campaign made by the Hungarian side, generated by the ambition of some politicians to muster win more votes, Foreign minister Titus Corlatean said Friday on B1TV. “We believe that the Hungarian elections, which are not scheduled for this year anyway, can be won with other means than stimulating this nationalism. It is their own business if they fly these flags on the Parliament of Hungary. I refer to political symbols and the fact that such temptations appear in the case of politicians whom we know for such gestures, and this is no surprise,” Corlatean said, quoted by hotnews.ro. Later, the minister admitted on Antena 3 that the relation between Romania and Hungary has reached “a difficult moment,” adding that such moments are cyclic. “It keeps happening like this since the Trianon. (…) The Romanian state will move past this moment. (…) The important thing is to have a correct relation with Hungary,” the minister explained. On the other hand, Corlatean commented the Hungarian ambassador’s assuming of the statements made by state secretary Nemeth Zsolt on the Szekler flag, voicing his hope that the diplomat will stop making errors, “because the next day he will cease his mandate in Bucharest.” He mentioned that he held extensive talks with his Hungarian counterpart over this issue. “We made a huge effort to calm down the situation,” Corlatean said.
The Parliament, expected to react
Minister Corlatean also mentioned on Antena 3 that he expects the Romanian Parliament to react “in the sense of a dignity of position.” “I expect a reaction of the leadership of the Parliament of Romania, not in the sense of being more hot-headed that the people of Jobbik, or those who stir the spirits in Budapest, but in the sense of a dignity of position and in the sense of a very clear signal. And here I agree to what Mr. Nastase said,” Corlatean stated on Antena 3. The first vice-president of PDL, Cezar Preda yesterday announced that PDL will ask the Parliament to draft a press statement that will express the formal position over the raising of the Szekler flag on the Hungarian Parliament. Former premier wrote on his blog that the Parliament must react to the incident. In his opinion, the members of the Romanian Parliament should freeze all bilateral parliamentary actions, including those of the “group of friendship,” because of this move.