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UDMR President Kelemen Hunor announced on Friday that, in April or May, the Union would present a few own variants of regionalisation, including the division of the country into ‘12-16 regions’. At the same time, he said the current eight-region formula had only led to a broader divide between the various regions of development as well as counties, making ‘poor counties even poorer and rich counties richer’. Kelemen Hunor further noted the Union should convince the authorities ‘to put the ethnic principle and the Hungarian threat between parentheses’ when deciding on the future regions, Kelemen Hunor also warned that, in the following period, in the run-up to the review of the Constitution, the ‘nationalist rhetoric’ would intensify. ‘Many are interested in isolating us in Romanian politics, using a Hungarian card and consolidating anti-Hungarian and nationalist rhetoric, in order to prevent UDMR from finding partners and a context where it can make its professional arguments heard,’ Kelemen said.Also on Friday, UDMR specialists presented during the meeting of the united regional councils of UDM local officials a document on regionalisation. According to the paper, Romania’s economic development is ‘hindered’ by the current organisation of its regions of development, which should be made ‘smaller and more flexible’, therefore fit for attracting European funds more effectively. During the same meeting in Cluj-Napoca, on Friday, UDMR asked the support of Romanian authorities, urging them not to restrict the legal rights of the Hungarian community and saying it was not up for any compromise on the defence of the usage of maternal language. According to a declaration adopted then, the Union laid down the legal conditions for the free use of maternal language by the Hungarian community in Romania. In an interview offered to ‘Romania libera’ daily, Laszlo Borbely, former UDMR Minister in various Governments, addressed the subject, saying the statement made by Miercurea Ciuc Mayor Raduly Robert Kalman, according to which the Hungarian language should be compulsory in the region, was exotic. ‘The core of the matter, however, is that we are not discussing these issues with a cold mind. I was brought up in Transylvania and, when I would meet with a Romanian friend, I found it quite natural that I should speak to him in Romanian and that he should answer me in Hungarian. We were all speaking both languages, it was a tradition that now seems to be disappearing.’ Also on Friday, UDMR said that any national minority living in an EU member state has the right to use its own national symbols and logos and that the Hungarian community in Romania cannot be an exception to that. The UDMR officials say the Szekely flag was the symbol of the common heritage of the Hungarian community in Romania, ‘a symbol of the heritage of a region where the diversity of nationalities is a genuine asset’. In the same interview, Borbely said the tension generated by the showing of the Szekely flag was being artificially fuelled by politicians, but admitted to the fact that, although PRM had not managed to play a decisive role in the recent years’ politics, the baton in the nationalism relay race had been taken over by parties now in the ruling coalition. ‘People in PNL and PC thought a more nationalist election campaign would bring them more votes from Transylvania,’ Borbely also noted.