Romanians can make amends by voting for the March 15 draft: Kelemen

Romanian politicians can make amends on Wednesday for the anti-Hungarian rhetoric of the past few weeks by voting in Parliament the proposal of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) to make March 15, the day of the Hungarian anti-Habsburg uprising a national holiday for the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania, RMDSZ President Hunor Kelemen said on Tuesday after meeting Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.

“The head of the state must apologize and Romanian politicians can make a gesture tomorrow, on Wednesday, by supporting in Parliament the bill to make March 15 the day of the Hungarian community in Romania”, Kelemen said.

RMDSZ submitted the bill to the Romanian bi-cameral Parliament back in 2017. At the time, a joint session of the Public Administration and Human Rights Committees of the upper house, the Senate, passed the motion, but a subsequent plenary session of the Senate voted it down. On Wednesday it will be brought to vote in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decisive ballot on the matter.

Many of the later battles of the 1848-49 Hungarian uprising were fought in Transylvania, where the small revolutionary army waged a losing war against the combined might of Russia and Austria.

Kelemen mentioned the vote during a Kolozsvár/Cluj meeting with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó in Kolozsvár/Cluj, during which he asked Szijjártó to make possible the use of transit corridors through Hungary for Romanian citizens around the clock (now night crossings are not allowed).

In his response, Szijjártó said that while Hungary has lifted all restrictions regarding Czechia, Serbia and Slovakia on a bilateral basis, it has not yet initiated such discussions with Romania as the epidemiological situation in the two countries “is not in balance”. He was referring to the fact that while Romania currently has 5,345 active coronavirus cases, Hungary has only 1,436.

Regarding the recent spate of anti-Hungarian rhetoric of some politicians in Romania, Kelemen said he hoped it was just a “sprint” and not a “marathon” while Szijjártó expressed his hope that Hungary will not be a topic in the upcoming general elections in Romania, stressing that Hungary bases its relations with Romania on “mutual respect”.

Title image: RMDSZ President Hunor Kelemen (L) and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó in Kolozsvár/Cluj on May 26, 2020. (source: Facebook)

Author: Dénes Albert