Romanian President fined for lashing out at Hungarian minority

Romanian discrimination watchdog CNDC has fined Romanian President Klaus Iohannis over an inflammatory statement against the Hungarian minority he delivered while the country was in a state of emergency. It has handed the president a RON 5,000 (EUR 1,032) fine for accusing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Romanian opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) of secessionism.

Iohannis played the nationalist card to restore some of the popularity his party had lost during the coronavirus pandemic, opening a Pandora’s Box of nationalism: His speech triggered several protests across the political spectrum in Romania and reopened a nationalist discourse that many ethnic Hungarians hoped was a thing of the past. Iohannis told Romanian media that he will appeal against this “highly political” decision by the CNCD.

Commenting on the president’s reaction to this minor fine, Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ), said that he should choose a public apology instead of an appeal.

Marcel Ciolacu, the President of the Social Democratic Party, added that alongside a public apology, Iohannis should promise that he won’t keep his party alive with topics that aren’t worthy of a European president.

This happened just one day before Iohannis was awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize.

Apparently, Iohannis made the speech thinking he had nothing at stake, as he is now nearing the end of his second and final term. However, Iohannis joined the ranks of recipients of the Charlemagne Prize, alongside Winston Churchill, Robert Schuman, Henry Kissinger, and Pope John Paul II “for lasting services to the unity of Europe.” So, how can he even look at himself in the mirror now that he has been fined for “an act of discrimination and harming the dignity of an ethnic/national minority”?

Title image: Klaus Iohannis. Image source: Iohannis’ official Facebook page

Author: István Fekete