The Romanian Foreign Ministry has always had its reservations and built-in brakes regarding bilateral relations with Hungary, RMDSZ president Hunor Kelemen said in an interview following allegations by the Romanian ambassador to Budapest that an economic support program launched by Hungary in Transylvania was both discriminating and against EU legislation.
“The staff of the Romanian foreign ministry has always had reservations about this program, as it always has had various built-in brakes to Romanian-Hungarian relations,” Kelemen told Kolozsvár (Cluj) newspaper Krónika in an interview. “These (issues) could always somehow be handled. New (Romanian) foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu has a slightly different approach than his predecessor, but not different from his own usual (approach).”
The issue of Hungarian economic support to Transylvania was rekindled by the Romanian side in October, after Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced in Arad (western Romania) that following the success of the economic development program targeting Hungarian businesses in Szeklerland, the Hungarian government had decided to extend the program to the Partium region (the northwest Romanian region neighboring Hungary and the Ukraine).
Kelemen said that they had several discussions with the previous Romanian government and there was a verbal agreement about the program. A formal written agreement was not deemed necessary, as both countries are members of the European Union, within which there is free flow of capital.
Furthermore, the program was conducted by a non-profit organization with a Romanian legal entity, the Pro Economica Foundation, which has no political affiliation either.
Earlier, the executive director of the foundation pointed out that the United States also provided similar support to Romanian startups and is currently financing the reconstruction of historical monuments in Romania. Norway and Switzerland also have support programs running in Romania, and Germany also regularly supports the ethnic German minority in Romania. And yet, none of the above have ever been questioned by the Romanian foreign ministry.
Title image: Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó (L) and RMDSZ president Hunor Kelemen (R) meet in Arad, Romania on October 7. (MTI/Mitko Sztojcsev)