Hungary extends economic development program to Partium

Upon seeing the successful launch of the economic development program targeting Hungarian businesses in Szeklerland, the Hungarian government has decided to extend the program to the Partium region as well, Péter Szíjjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced on Monday in Arad (via Maszol).

“Small and medium-sized businesses from Hargita/Harghita, Kovászna/Covasna, and Maros/Mureș counties have submitted 5,291 applications requesting development funds totaling HUF 21.5 billion (EUR 64.5 million). Considering the success of the program, we have agreed with Mr. Hunor Kelemen that the next stage of the economic development program will target the Partium area when launched in November,” Szíjjártó said. The details are still under wraps, but Szíjjártó told journalists that locations and domains eligible for development funding will be decided based on suggestions made by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ).

Szíjjártó believes that the funds invested in the Transylvanian economy will strengthen the relationship between Hungary and Romania, as well as the two countries’ standing in Central Europe. “We expect the Romanian party to engage positively with the Hungarian minority living within the borders of the country,” Szíjjártó added.

During the press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade also formulated a series of expectations for the Romanian government with regard to the Úz Valley incidents, saying that the Hungarian government would like to see a compatible partner delegated to discuss the matter that fostered unwanted conflict in the area. “We expect the Romanian government not to delay the negotiations and, most importantly, to block further provocations in this matter,” he said. As we previously reported, on June 6 a group of angry Romanians broke into the Úz Valley military graveyard, storming past police and Hungarians. Since the first report of the illegally erected crosses and memorial orchestrated by the mayor of Dărmănești broke, the Úz Valley graveyard has become the source of Romanian–Hungarian tension, which peaked on June 6 when a conflict similar to the Black Spring of 1990 was avoided by only a hair’s breadth.

In the press release following a private meeting with Szíjjártó, RMDSZ president Hunor Kelemen said that they had agreed that mutual respect between Hungary and Romania is a must for the region, as it is to the benefit of both the Romanian and Hungarian communities, who are also in their homeland in Transylvania. “We want to live here as a strong community in our homeland. We want a better country, a better government, and rule of law where our language and culture is respected.”

Kelemen and Szíjjártó also touched on other issues, such as Hungarian faculty at the University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences, and Technology in Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș. “All we expect is that the Romanian government follows the law,” Szíjjártó commented. As previously reported, the Senate of the Marosvásárhely-based university has decided to initiate an English-speaking faculty, but an independent Hungarian faculty wasn’t approved. Marosvásárhely has the largest Hungarian community in Transylvania; about 57,000 Hungarians live in the city, accounting for about 43 percent of the town’s population.

Title image: RMDSZ President Hunor Kelemen (L) and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szíjjártó (R) meet in Arad, Romania. Photo: MTI

Author: István Fekete