Vice-President of the European Parliament (PE) Laszlo Surjan said on Friday in Arad (558 km north-west of Bucharest), where he attended the opening ceremony of the 8th edition of the Festival of Minorities, when asked to comment on requests for the autonomy of the Harghita and Covasna counties, that if one looks at the matter in the light of the European principles, autonomy does not divide a country, but keeps it together even better. ‘There are some unjustified interpretations by some who do not understand this and think that autonomy would lead to the disintegration of the state. For a certain time, decentralization has been at the focus of Romania’s policy. In my opinion, however, a correct decentralization would be equivalent to autonomy (…). A few years ago, President Traian Basescu said that autonomy is not only for Hungarians, but for the Romanians as well,’ said EP Vice President Surjan, quoted by Agerpres. On the other hand, he said that the issue of the territorial autonomy of the Harghita and Covasna counties must be decided by the locals and not by the people of a neighboring country, irrespective of the latter’s opinion. At the same time, he praised the good organization and cooperation between Romania and Hungary, in the case of the recent accident happened nearby Budapest, when three Romanians were killed, and more 18 injured, as well as in the case when handballer Marian Cosma was murdered. During the Festival‘s inaugural ceremony, it was opened the exhibition called Bridges between European nations, and it was launched a catalogue about the minorities living in Arad, named Arad a bench mark of inter-ethnic living Achieved with the support of Arad municipality’s City Hall, the catalogue presents information about nine minorities, namely the Hungarian, the German, the Serbian, the Slovakian, the Czech, the Bulgarian, the Ukrainian, the Jewish and the Roma, the history of these minorities, the cultural traditions and personalities who marked the existence of this town, over times.