Two scandals are rocking PSD-UDMR relations within the government. After Romania refused Hungary’s request to open consulates in Oradea and Targu Mures, sparking UDMR’s discontent, new tensions surfaced between the two ruling parties during the weekend, after Romania stated it backs the European Commission’s initiative through which it rejected last year a citizens’ initiative draft backed by UDMR, a draft that entailed linguistic and cultural autonomy for local minorities.
The Commission pointed out that such a draft infringes on the Treaty of Lisbon, arguing that such issues fall within the prerogatives of member states, not those of Europe, and consequently a European directive on this issue cannot be imposed, the issue having to be addressed through national laws instead (the principle of subsidiarity).
The Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) said Romania supports the position fair in principle of the European Commission as regards the ‘Minority SafePack’ citizens’ initiatives. ‘The position adopted by Romania through the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) represents a consistent position of our state, a matter of state and not a problem or a personal ego matter. From this perspective, in my capacity as foreign minister, I consider that the adoption of the position of the Romanian state cannot be subject to any negotiation, or political compromise,’ reads a press release the Foreign Ministry. According to the release, Romania’s procedural decision to take action as regards the case pending before the EU Court aims to prevent the expansion of powers within the legal framework of the EU to areas connected to the member states’ sovereignty, such as protecting the rights of the persons belonging to national minorities.
The Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s interventions at the European Court of Justice against citizens’ initiatives concerning the statute of minorities backed by UDMR seeks to prevent the expansion of EU prerogatives to domains that concern the sovereignty of member states, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean stated in his turn on Saturday, pointing out that this debate is an issue that concerns the state, not internal politics. Likewise, the Romanian minister pointed out that through this lawsuit Hungary wants to become the transnational guardian of the Hungarian minority in EU states.
In reply, UDMR President Kelemen Hunor criticized MAE’s initiative, stating that it represents “outdated thinking” and that he was put into an “unpleasant” situation, that of being “ignored and humiliated,” adding that he will talk with Victor Ponta on Wednesday. Kelemen Hunor also stated that the MAE made a mistake by mixing Hungary in the issue of the citizens’ initiative backed by UDMR, considering that there are no Hungarian citizens among the signatories.
Kelemen Hunor characterized the situation created by MAE’s initiative as “a fairly unpleasant one for everyone.” “I lobbied for the coalition with PSD, when we formed this coalition we thought of a longer period, until 2016, and I believe it should work until 2016, but I can’t be put in the situation of being ignored and humiliated either, and to find out afterwards that Romania intervened in a lawsuit that I am part of. I cannot, as a member of the government, enter a lawsuit against myself, it’s impossible, it’s an unpleasant situation. (…)Titus Corlatean has enough experience to be able to guess that adopting this road without consulting us will result in tension at some point, there will be a situation that will call for a more ample discussion,” the UDMR President pointed out.
Gandul: UDMR considers leaving the Gov’t
‘Gandul’ daily wrote that UDMR is considering even the option of leaving the government, the reason being precisely MAE’s intervention in the lawsuit at the European Court of Justice. According to ‘Gandul,’ UDMR President Kelemen Hunor allegedly had a talk with Premier Victor Ponta, asking the latter to withdraw the intervention made by the MAE. According to ruling coalition sources quoted by ‘Gandul,’ the Head of Government talked with FM Corlatean, who allegedly told him that a step back would result in his resignation. In these conditions, UDMR is allegedly considering the option of leaving the government. Deputy Premier Kelemen Hunor has complained that the subject of Romania’s intervention in the lawsuit in Luxembourg was not the object of any consultation within the ruling coalition. “It was MAE’s partisan action! I requested the withdrawal of the intervention,” the UDMR President stated.
FM Titus Corlatean subsequently stated that the position expressed by Romania through the MAE represents “the state’s consistent position,” “a matter of state, not of personal ego,” adding that from this point of view “the expression of the Romanian state’s position cannot be subjected neither to negotiation nor to political compromise.”
In what concerns Bucharest’s refusal to open two new Hungarian consulates in Oradea and Targu Mures, UDMR’s Chief Secretary Peter Kovacs pointed out that the rejection of Hungary’s request on the basis of the principle of reciprocity and proportionality is “ridiculous.” “The community of 1.3 million ethnic Hungarians in Romania cannot be compared to the several thousand Romanian ethnics living in Hungary. When it comes to bilateral relations it would be nice for Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean to remember that actions speak louder than words,” Kovacs stated for MTI.
MAE’s Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Relation with the Parliament Radu Podgorean replied that Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry considers UDMR statementes as devoid of substance. ‘The interests of the Hungarians in Romania are represented by the state whose citizens they are, i.e. Romania. As there is no constitutional/legal obligation incumbent on MAE to consult the political parties about consular matters and considering that the political parties, parliamentary or not, have no powers in ensuring Romania’s diplomatic and consular representation to its foreign partners, the Romanian Foreign Ministry considers the above-mentioned statements as devoid of substance,’ Podgorean stressed, as quoted by Agerpres.