Slovak flag fine, Hungarian flag not so in Romania

Romania is treating its ethnic minorities on the brink of extinction with exemplary care- except for the largest, Hungarian minority, Mandiner columnist Attila Demkó writes.

Romania is striving to present the image of a country with exemplary handling of its ethnic minorities – and not without success. Over the past decade even the United States has praised Romanian policies.

The image is both true and false. As the above picture, taken by me in the village of Sólyomkővár/ Șinteu/Nová Huta shows, the Slovak can peacefully coexist with the Romanian one on the local Slovak school. Similarly, Romanians have no problems with the German, Croatian or Serbian flag being flown on schools. So Romania does show an exemplary treatment of its tiny minorities or those on the brink of extinction.

According to the 2002 census Sólyomkővár had a population of 537, of which 525 Slovaks. Official data put the number of the Slovak minority in Romania to just over 17,000 and that of the Hungarian minority to 1.23 million.

It is only the Hungarian flag and the Hungarian language that is being banned, sued and removed at every possible instance. The ultimate goal is to eradicate or at least marginalize every single Hungarian space. What happened in the Úz valley cemetery as just one example in a consistent row of events.

But the world does not see that and readily accepts the image  of a happy, multi-ethnic Romania. But the blatant double standards and the deliberate policy of humiliation is not conducive to Hungarian-Romanian reconciliation. Nor does it serve the unity of the West. There may come a day when both nations and the whole of Europe will pay the price of this policy.

Title image: Slovak flag alongside those of the EU and Romania in Sólyomkővár/ Șinteu/Nová Huta, Romania (photo: Attila Demkó)

Author: Dénes Albert