Decree establishing Hungarian gymnasium allegedly unconstitutional

Dan Tănasă, a figure well-known in Transylvania for his legal action against the ethnic Hungarian minority, and Marius Pașcan, member of the People’s Movement Party, have pulled out the nationalist card again and sued the Ministry of Education and the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium (Marosvásárherly/Târgu Mureș), asking the court to cancel the founding document of the high school.

Tănasă and Pașcan claim the Ministry’s regulation allowing the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium to formally reopen its gates after two long years of tension and investigations questioning the validity of the original founding document deemed unlawful.

The “Easter surprise” was announced by Marius Pașcan on his Facebook page, and the court document also lists the Unirea High School and the high school’s Parent Council as applicants. According to Pașcan, the ruling PSD-ALDE (Social Democrat-Liberal) coalition and the RMDSZ followed the instructions of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to defy the Romanian Constitution and law when they established the institution in the summer of 2018, despite it formerly being closed down, as the National Anticorruption Directorate investigated the matter.

Roman Catholic institutional education has a history of several hundred years in Transylvania. Following the Dominican monks, who arrived in Marosvásárhely in the thirteenth century, the Franciscans arrived in the city in 1316. In a note dating from 1525, the Franciscan monks established a monastic school, and in 1708 education in secondary and upper-secondary schools began.

Pașcan has repeated his main point of view that he has nothing against denominational or Hungarian education; he just wishes the Education Law no.1/2011 should apply to everyone in Romania. From his perspective, which is supported by Dan Tănasă and the other applicants filing the lawsuit against the Ministry of Education and the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium, Emergency Decree no. 48/2018, which foresees the establishment of the gymnasium, is unconstitutional and discriminates against ethnic Romanians.

Mr. Pașcan must have forgotten that this is the same decision which foresaw two denominational institutions: the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium in Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș and the “Sfântul Antim Ivireanul” Orthodox High School in Temesvár/Timișoara.

Title image: The Unirea High School, formerly the Catholic Boy’s School. Image source: Azopan

Author: István Fekete