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March 31, 2023

Bucharest-Budapest spat continues

Hungarian Foreign Ministry summons Romanian ambassador to complain about FM Corlatean’s earlier statements according to which he disagrees with “warlike rhetoric” in the relationship with Hungary, considering it “outdated, populist and not credible.”
Present at the Summer University at Izvoru Muresului on Wednesday, Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean made a series of statements that not only caught the eyes of his Hungarian counterparts but also sparked new controversies. Thus, Corlatean stated that the relationship between Romania and Hungary led by the Fidesz Government “is not simple” but “complex,” being based on a basic treaty signed in 1996 which stipulates that Romania does not recognize collective rights and ethnic-based autonomies.
“It’s not by chance that in the Foreign Ministry’s every press release you will find the reaffirmation of the principles of that treaty in which we, along with Hungary, said we do not recognize collective rights in the bilateral relationship, we do not recognize ethnic-based autonomies, and that was the treaty. We have a European strategic partnership with Hungary and we have to work for it, not the tensions, not the nationalist extremist rhetoric, to prevail. As Foreign Minister I clearly have to say one thing: warlike rhetoric is outdated, populist and not credible,” Corlatean pointed out.
Following Corlatean’s statements, Romania’s Ambassador in Budapest Victor Micula was summoned for a meeting with State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth, at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s headquarters, on Thursday, at the latter’s request, and discussed the latest developments in the bilateral relationship, the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) describing the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s demarche as “conjectural image exercises,” the Romanian diplomacy informs. “The Romanian Foreign Minister’s statements about the symbolic message conveyed by the adoption by the Hungarian Parliament in 2010, based on the vote cast by Deputies Fidesz and Jobbik, of a law establishing June 4 the day to mark the Day of National Solidarity represents no new element, and it should not surprise the Hungarian side. The meaning of this normative act that keeps the public attention to the so-called unjust nature of the Treaty of Trianon is obvious and it cannot enjoy Romania’s approval,” informs MAE release.
Zsolt Nemeth firmly rejected Corlatean’s accusations according to which the Hungarian national cohesion law contains a Hungarian strategy of “re-conquering the Carpathian Basin” and seeks “to reopen for discussion the Versailles peace treaties.” “The text of the law contains precisely the opposite,” the secretary of state said, being quoted by MTI.
On Friday, Titus Corlatean stated on Digi 24 that President Traian Basescu and Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban continue to get along very well and help each other electorally, a fact that was “confirmed” by the fact that the Romanian ambassador to Hungary was summoned at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry. During the same show Corlatean labeled the summoning of the Romanian ambassador as “a diplomatic demarche through method and content” that is a PR stunt.
Basescu, new row over Hungarian minorities
Attending the celebration of the Patron Saint Day of the monastery located at Izvoru Muresului on Thursday, Basescu said he had seen the Szekler flag and the Hungarian flag flying at several doors and he stressed it would be a sign of respect if the Romanian flag were also put alongside the other two. “On the way here, I’ve seen the Szekler flag also flying near the Hungarian one, the flag of Hungary. Wasn’t it room for the flag of Romania too?,” he said.
Also on Thursday, president Basescu said during a visit to Oarba de Mures that the historical Romanian province of Transylvania is not subject to negotiation or discussion and those who think otherwise do nothing but disappoint. “We must all understand that patriotism is a thing nobody gives you, you either have it or you don’t and then, when we hear Romanian citizens saying they would like Transylvania to be under a diktat you can only be shocked, you ask yourself what kind of people, what kind of Romanian citizens are they. I was stunned by such a demand made by a person having Romanian citizenship. I was stunned because I considered him to be a symbol of the Romanian (1989) Revolution. Unfortunately, people who think like this, namely that Transylvania could be subject to discussion, to negotiation, do nothing but disappoint us, no matter what they might have done in their past,” said Basescu on attending the 3rd edition of At Oarba and At Iernut Traditional Patriotic Song Festival.
Romanian MEP Tokes Laszlo has recently urged Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the Summer University held at Baile Tusnad to establish a national cooperation system so as to offer Transylvania protectorate, in the same manner that Austria did with Southern Tyrol.
Ponta criticizes BASESCU
Premier Victor Ponta, present in Suceava on Friday, criticized Traian Basescu’s statements about Hungary, calling them “absolutely aberrant” and “irresponsible.” “These are statements one cannot make as head of state, one makes them as leader of a “Romanian Jobbik” instead,” the Premier said. He added that Basescu is making these statements now although in the past “he and Tokes kissed” and he encouraged the Hungarian extremists. Ponta criticized Basescu on Wednesday during a TV show, stating that the President has stooped to Hungarian extremist Gabor Vona’s “low and petty level,” an individual “as irresponsible as he is,” adding that Basescu is doing such “gaffes” out of the desire to support Elena Udrea’s presidential bid. “Mr. Tokes and his extremist party are his (Traian Basescu’s – editor’s note) creations to blackmail UDMR,” Ponta said. Secretary of state Zsolt Nemeth answered President Basescu’s statements too, stating that Hungary is not a revisionist country but it has a constitutional responsibility towards Hungarians living abroad, a responsibility reflected in its foreign policy.
The German press is writing about the tense relationship between Bucharest and Budapest too. “What shouldn’t have happened did. The visit in the Szekely Land and the speech given by Gabor Vona, the chief of Jobbik, has angered Romanian President so much that he launched an unusually harsh verbal attack against Budapest,” Deutsche Welle writes.
Tokes: Romania – “signs of a dictatorial regime”
Against the backdrop of these tense exchanges between Bucharest and Budapest the participants to the Summer University’s conferences in Izvoru Muresului asked on Friday for the withdrawal of state awards offered to “Hungarian extremists” in Romania, referring to MEP Tokes Laszlo in particular, who was awarded the “Romanian Star.” In reply, Tokes stated that Romania shows “some of the signs of a dictatorial regime.” Laszlo Tokes labeled the proposal as an attempt to deprive him of freedom of speech.

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