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May 25, 2022

Tensions between Bucharest and Budapest: Romania’s Foreign Ministry summons Hungarian charge d’affaires

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Monday morning the Hungarian Embassy’s charge d’affaires Karoly Zoltan Nagy, over a recent interview by Hungarian Ambassador to romanian-hungarian relationsRomania Botond Zakonyi (Karoly Zoltan Nagy acts as substitute to the Ambassador, while the latter is on leave). In this context, the Romanian side stressed that the Hungarian side is not yet ready to comply with the general framework of the bilateral relationship, informs a Foreign Ministry release to Agerpres..

“During the discussion, the Romanian side expressed strong disagreement at the content of the statements made by Ambassador Botond Zakonyi on the Romanian-Hungarian bilateral relations overall. This proves once again that the Hungarian side is not yet ready to comply with the general framework of bilateral relations and the political and legal foundations thereof, specifically the Treaty of understanding, cooperation and good neighborliness signed in 1996, and the Strategic Partnership Declaration signed in 2002. The Romanian side reiterated a strong call for this bilateral relationship to be treated with utmost responsibility by virtue of the principle of good neighborliness and of Romania and Hungary’s shared status of EU and NATO members,” reads the release.

The Foreign Ministry also highlighted the “completely inappropriate nature of the statements, when referenced to an Ambassador’s mandate of representation in the state he resides in, especially as regards the unacceptable opinions expressed, which lack the deference due to the Prime Minister of Romania.”

The Romanian side also pointed out that these statements do not adequately reflect the stage of the bilateral discussions on the subjects tackled in the interview.

In this context, the Foreign Ministry’s stances were reiterated in connection with the Hungarian PM’s posting on Facebook revisionist symbols, stressing that their promotion by the head of the Government in Budapest runs counter to the legal political framework.

“The representative of the Hungarian Embassy in Bucharest was also reminded of topical elements which, regrettably enough, were not mentioned in the interview, regarding those topics, including by reference to the mutually agreed conclusions of the visit of the Romanian Foreign Minister to Budapest on May 7 this year,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Thus, the Romanian side brought to mind the current stage of bilateral talks on issues of economic interest, and on ensuring the rights of members of the national minorities. As regards economic and sectoral cooperation, mention was made of the recent projects that have been turned to reality at the initiative of the Romanian side, such as the resumption in July last year of the works of the Joint Economic Committee, after a four-year break.

The Foreign Ministry adds that despite claims that Budapest is interested in the accomplishment of a transport infrastructure benefiting both Romania and Hungary, mentions to the recently completed interconnection of the A1 – M43 motorways, that was officially opened in the presence of Romania’s PM, are missing from the Hungarian Ambassador’s statements.

“The ’10 cross-border roads’ that are supposed to bind the two countries are, according to the Intergovernmental Agreement on road connections across the Romania – Hungary border, roads of local interest (for people and freight traffic up to 3.5 t), as well as bicycle lanes, so they have a reduced economic significance considered against the financial efforts required for opening these roads to permanent traffic,” added the Foreign Ministry.

As far as energy is concerned, the Romanian side reminded the cooperation for the gas networks’ interconnection projects within the Central East South Europe Gas Connectivity High Level Group. It also reminded that for the completion of the Arad-Szeged gas pipeline, the two sides are closely cooperating through companies Transgaz and FGZS.

The Foreign Ministry shows that the two gas transmission companies have entered a technical agreement aimed at promoting a joint investment project running on Community funds through the Projects of Common Interest program that envisages the infrastructure elements required to increase the current reverse flow gas supply capacity to 1.75 billion cubic meters per year, at the Csanadpalota point.

The interest of the Romanian side was also reiterated for the resumption, as soon as possible, of talks within the Romanian-Hungarian Minority Cooperation Expert Committee. In this context, the Romanian side said it was still awaiting for the invitation promised by the Hungarian side, for the dialogue to continue in Budapest at the level of Committee co-chairs.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the Romanian-Hungarian Minority Cooperation Expert Committee is the only dialogue forum agreed upon that is competent to address such problems.

“Unilateral approaches are likely to affect the bilateral relationship and the climate of interethnic understanding,” the source said.

Also, the Romanian side cautioned that statements relating to the status of autonomy based on ethnic criteria are tantamount to interfering with Romania’s internal affairs.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that autonomy on ethnic grounds runs counter to the Romanian constitutional framework in effect, and that collective rights do not belong to the European standards for minorities, as they are conceptually excluded from the bilateral relationship under the Treaty of understanding, cooperation and good neighborliness between Romania and the Republic of Hungary signed in Timisoara, on September 16, 1996 (the Basic Political Treaty).

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