Rally against Hungarian language rights in Bucharest

On Sunday, several Romanian non-governmental organizations protested – again – in Bucharest against the assumed extension of the Hungarian community’s language rights, MTI news agency reported. Mihai Tîrnăveanu, the organizer of the rally and leader of the association called Path of the Nation, elaborated in his speech, delivered on a megaphone, that the administrative code revised last year enforces the right of Hungarians to use their mother tongue in local organs of the central administration. The demonstrators believe that such a provision is unacceptable and means that Hungarian would become the second official language in Romania.  

Answering the call of the Path of the Nation and other Romanian NGOs in Szeklerland, more than 100 protesters arrived in cars and minibuses from all over Romania to protest in Bucharest. They gathered around the World War I memorial for military engineers, located near the back entrance of the Cotroceni Palace, the official residence of the president. Protesters – some dressed in traditional costumes – waved Romanian Tricolors and enclosed the memorial statue behind a giant national flag. They held up signs displaying captions such as, “The concept of the nation state was written in the Constitution with Romanian blood” and “Romanian is the only official language in Romania.”

These organizations had also protested last July in front of the Government building when the modified law was adopted through an emergency government decree.

This Sunday’s protest was a response to the Constitutional Court’s decision in mid-February, which stated that the revision of the code was not against the provisions of Romania’s fundamental law.

The main speaker at the demonstration this past weekend, Tîrnăveanu protested against the modifications of the Education Law as well, which was formulated by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ. More specifically, Tîrnăveanu was troubled by the fact that – in his interpretation – every Romanian university, regardless of the language in which it teaches, would be obliged to permit students to take their entrance exams and final examinations in their mother tongue. (Editor’s comment: Naturally, it would apply to the faculties that use Hungarian as a teaching language.)

“We believe that such laws open the way for RMDSZ to achieve the abolition of Romania’s definition as a nation state, while the new administrative code opens the gate to the achievement of ethnically based territorial autonomy, which endangers the unity of Romania,” claimed Tîrnăveanu.

The territorial autonomy of Szeklerland, where about half of the Transylvanian Hungarian population lives as a majority, has always been considered the greatest menace to the Romanian state’s integrity by Romanian nationalist organizations. Nevertheless, politicians of the RMDSZ have never stopped emphasizing that there are several functional models to territorial autonomy in Europe.

The protesters also addressed a petition to president Klaus Iohannis, asking him not to promulgate the revised law.

RMDSZ, for its part, had also earlier criticized the modification of the administrative code, arguing that the revised provisions actually constitute a regression compared to the previous dispositions regarding the usage of one’s mother tongue and minority rights.


 Title image: Demonstrators chanted over and over: “Romanian language is the only master in Romania,” MTI reported

Source: Mihai Tîrnoveanu/Facebook


Author: Éva Zay