POLITICS

MEP Tokes accuses Romanian government of provoking ethnic Szeklers, Hungarians

Romanian-born Hungarian MEP Laszlo Tokes, chairman of the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania (CNMT), accuses the Romanian Government of provoking, by means of its decisions, Szeklers (Hungarian-speaking minority) and ethnic Hungarians living in Romania.

“The Romanian Government is provoking us Szeklers and Hungarians by means of last years’ anti-Hungarian measures, by anti-Hungarian draft laws, by atrocities targeting young Hungarians in Targu Secuiesc or mayors of the largest Szekler cities. We are refusing this attitude of the majority and of the majority government, we want to become from oppressed and second-rank Romanian citizens and communities, partners of the majority, of the Government,” Lazlo Tokes said in a press conference on Friday.

He also said that “a relation of normal partnership between the Romanian Government and the Hungarian community, a relation of partnership between the Romanian Government and the Hungarian community, a relation of partnership between the majority and the minority should be forged, and the autonomy system to be included in the general social democratic system, because this democratic institution, the autonomy, has a place in the general democratic structure of a democratic country.”

Tokes reminded that he proposed, since 1990, a Romanian-Hungarian round table, where problems of the minorities can be discussed and agreed on.

“This should be representative, not one between the UDMR [editor’s note – Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, of which Tokes has been a prominent member until 2012] and the Government, but a wider one, representative. Our purpose, of the CNMT, of the CNS [Szeklers National Council], of allied parties, would be the completion of the regime change started in 1989 in the direction of the country’s minority policy. Romania’s democratic system should also include the minority policy. We did not really accomplish our initial claims, sometimes Ceausescu’s spectre is haunting this relationship,” Tokes added at the conference attended, among others, by CNS chairman Izsak Balazs and Gunther Dauwen, director of the European Free Alliance of regional parties (EFA).

 

European Free Alliance’s Dauwen at Szeklers’ rally: President Iohannis should be more responsive about minorities

 

Gunther Dauwen, director of the European Free Alliance of regional parties (EFA), says President Klaus Iohannis, as member of an ethnic minority, should be more responsive to the minorities’ requests. Dauwen participated on Thursday in a rally of Szeklers – a Hungarian-speaking ethnic minority of Transylvania – in Targu Mures, where 4,000 people commemorated Szekler martyrs.

“The Romanian Government must observe the minorities’ rights and consider their requests, to guarantee freedom, equality and prosperity to all people. The new ‘nomenklatura’ [editor’s note: Communist elite] in Bucharest does not observe these rights. There can be no freedom if the most basic rights are not observed, and requests of autonomy are incriminated, including by banning Szekler symbols. All these occur while the incumbent President is Klaus Iohannis, who – as a member of an [ethnic] minority, should be more responsive to these problems,” Dauwen said. His mentioning the President prompted the crowd to hoot.

Also speaking in favour of Szekler autonomy was Laszlo Tokes, now representing Hungary in the European Parliament. The Romanian-born pastor, famous for his role in starting the anti-Communist revolution of 1989 in Romania, was recently stripped by President Iohannis of the ‘Star of Romania’ National Order, following a final court decision. Tokes accused the Hungarian Democrat Union of Romania (UDMR) of failing to achieve the ethnic Hungarians’ goal of autonomy. He has been a member and honorary chairman of UDMR, until choosing to join more radical political groups, then to make use of his Hungarian citizenship.

“Our autonomy programme not only was not fulfilled, but it seems ever more farther. I am reading with consternation that for UDMR leaders in Targu Mures the Szekler freedom day, I quote, ‘cannot be regarded as a political event,’ so we are not participating as representatives of a political organization, but as private individuals,” Tokes said, according to Agerpres.

The crowd showed hostility during the speech of Zsolt Biro, leader of the Hungarian Civic Party (of Romania), who recently signed a collaboration protocol with the UDMR.

Other speakers urged the attendance to follow the path to autonomy and fight for their ideals.

An authorized march followed, with traffic blocked by authorities to avoid a repeat of the 2014 confrontation with gendarmes on a similar occasion. Thursday’s protest ended without incidents, after a petition for autonomy was submitted to the Mures County Prefecture.

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