Szekler National Council

hu zaszloengl zaszloro zaszlo

  • Székely Nemzeti Tanács

Dear Mr. President!

On 14 May, we asked you to examine the video message of Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, in which he incited against Hungarians, and to withdraw the decision to award him the Charlemagne Prize, as the Romanian President has proven unworthy of this award.

In your reply of 12 June, you claim that the statements of the Romanian President were not directed against the Hungarian minority, and that he was justified in this expression by his role as defender of the Constitution. From your letter, it becomes apparent that you are not familiar with the Romanian constitution, which clearly stipulates the duties of the President. According to section 2, Article 80 of the Constitution, the President of Romania acts as a mediator between the state and society. A society, in which Romanian citizens of Hungarian nationality are equal members. In this spirit, the head of state promotes social peace between the majority and the minority populations, but in no way can he use incitement between certain groups of citizens as part of a political agenda. The Hungarian community was not the only one who thought that the President's expression was offensive and inflammatory. The Romanian Anti-Discrimination Council considered this message to be hateful and imposed sanctions against the Romanian President. Following the lawsuit filed with the prosecutor's office, although no criminal proceedings were initiated, the prosecutor's order also classified this insulting remark as hate speech. In other words, the local Hungarian community as well as Romanian state authorities interpret the statements of the Romanian head of state differently than the Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen.

Klaus Iohannis called for the linguistic rights of the Hungarian minority to be curtailed when amending Administrative Act nr. 215. Irrespective of the content of these rights, the President seeks to deprive people of their acquired rights. How well do you, in Aachen, know the guarantees of the acquired rights granted to the Sorbian minority in Germany? It would have pedagogical value for you to read the Treaty of German Reunification and the constitutions of Brandenburg and Saxony.

Under Article 91 of the Romanian Constitution, the President is also responsible for Romania's international relations. This video message on the other hand, violates the bilateral treaty concluded between Romania and Hungary (Treaty between the Republic of Hungary and Romania on Understanding, Cooperation and Good Neighborliness, 1996). It is important to emphasize that this treaty was adopted by the two states before joining the Union as a guarantee that objectively existing historical tensions between these two nations and the two countries would be resolved, and not burden the relationship between two new EU Member States. It appears that this bilateral treaty is seen from a different perspective in Aachen.

Before joining the European Union, we here in Romania hoped that there would no longer be any room for nationalist incitement in Romania as an EU member state. We could not have imagined, not even in our nightmares, that the encouragement for Romanian nationalism would come from such important Western European institutions as the Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen! A consequence of this is that it became clear to democratically-minded Europeans that you have distanced yourselves from Europe's traditional values, and that there is now a point of rupture in the history of the Charlemagne Prize. None of the former honorees, neither Robert Schuman, nor Francois Mitterrand, nor Helmut Kohl, nor Vaclav Havel, would agree with this situation. Your last decision was an insult to their memory and their work. The other consequence is that you are now partly responsible for possible future empowerment of Romanian nationalism, and for all possible consequences thereof, because you do not want to strengthen social peace, nor dialogue, but rather the strife, the ethnic conflicts between peoples of Eastern Europe, who already suffered enough.

Izsák Balázs

President of the Szekler National Council


7 July 2020

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