UDMR’s Marko Bela: Foreign Ministry wrong to reject opinions on situation of Romania’s Hungarian minority

Leader of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Senators Marko Bela considers that the Romanian Foreign Ministry is wrong to reject all opinions on the situation of the country’s Hungarian ethnic minority and claims that the Ministry acts like in the “’80s or the ’90s,” when an out-of-country statement on minorities was considered “an interference with domestic affairs.”

“In 2015 however, autonomy shouldn’t be such a delicate subject. Why wouldn’t we discuss autonomy in an approach that goes beyond finding that some agree with it and some don’t? I read the interview of the Hungarian Ambassador myself and I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary in there. Quite the contrary, such statements have been made before. 10 years ago such a statement or opinion would have been accepted without any problem. But lately, our Foreign Ministry handles the issue of minorities as if we were in the ’80s or the ’90s when (…) an opinion coming from the outside on minorities was considered an interference with the internal affairs of a country. I thought we had long ago put behind such mental patterns and such times,” Marko Bela said on Wednesday at the RFI radio station.

He underscored that such tensions between Romania and Hungary benefit none of the two countries.

“We are in 2015, when it should be perfectly natural to have a dialogue on any subject no matter how delicate some would consider it. On the other hand, neither Romania nor Hungary are interested in stirring up controversy or escalating tensions between the two states. We live in a time when this part of Europe, actually the entire Europe, would need tight cooperation exactly on ethnic issue. We saw very well what happens in Ukraine, what the situation of the immigrants is everywhere. In such times we don’t need to artificially create such conflict situations, nor is the Foreign Affairs Ministry right to reject all opinions on the situation of the Hungarians in Romania,” said Marko Bela, according to Agerpres.

In his opinion there is no official Romanian – Hungarian dialogue whilst – as the UDMR lawmaker underscores – the two states should “cooperate tightly.”

“Way back, in the early 2000s (…) the two governments held joint sittings which (…), in my opinion, were very useful because they gave us the occasion to review our cooperation, seek ways for cooperation. And then nothing. For years now cooperation was nil, no more joint government sittings. There’s some sporadic cooperation, particularly on infrastructure development, on EU projects, but not even there as it should be,” added Marko Bela.

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Monday morning the Hungarian Embassy’s charge d’affaires Karoly Zoltan Nagy, with the Romanian side stressing on the occasion that the Hungarian side is not yet ready to comply with the general framework of the bilateral relationship.

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