We welcome the statement of Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister, Zsolt Semlyén from the last congress of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania: “Should the Hungarians of Transylvania accept that they are not entitled to autonomy, they would be accepting that they are second class citizens of the European Union”. We are convinced that this has to be the basic tone of Transylvanian Hungarian politics in the upcoming period, and that it should also be the key to the much desired truce between Hungarians and Romanians. We also welcome promises on the improvement of relations between Romania and Hungary. The Szekler National Council always believed that good neighbourly relationship based on mutual trust between the two countries is essential to realize Szeklerland’s autonomy and to guarantee the rights of the Hungarian community of Romania.
At the same time, we cannot ignore the dissenting attitudes regarding Szeklerland’s autonomy, coming from Liviu Dragnea, President of Romania’s governing party, who was also present at the above mentioned Congress. In the its response to the petition of the Szekler National Council, that was confirmed by tens of thousands of people, the government of Romania rejected the idea of Szeklerland’s autonomy and questioned the existence of Szeklerland itself. Furthermore, they believe that the regionalization project is based on “scientific” foundations, and that ethnic criteria cannot be the basis of an administrative division. This approach contradicts the reality of Szeklerland, but also the aspirations of the Hungarian community, given that the reasons why we have been demanding Szeklerland’s autonomy have never been primarily ethnically motivated. We are familiar with these plans supported with pseudoscientific arguments as well as the explanations filled with half-truths and distorted facts. We know very well that their ultimate purpose is to assimilate Szeklerland into an administrative region with a Romanian majority. For Szeklerland, the greatest challenge is withstanding the pressure of this new type of assimilation policy. The question is, will Szeklerland endure, or will the administrative-territorial framework that could ensure the existence of the Szekler people’s disappear forever?
Liviu Dragnea is one of the staunchest advocates of the administrative reorganization who has stated that there may never be a region with a Hungarian majority in Romania. There’s only one possible response to this, the price of the much desired truce between Romanians and Hungarians is for Romania to give up on Szeklerland’s assimilation which does not only violate Romania’s international commitments, but is also contrary to the intergovernmental treaty between Romania and Hungary.
Szeklerland has long since been threatened with assimilation, by means of granting administrative powers to the Central-Romanian Development Region. The Szekler National Council was the only organization that tried to warn of the dangers thereof. During our constitutive session, on 26 October 2003, we expressed the needs of the Szekler people: Szeklerland must become a separate development region. The call was ignored, both by the Hungarian political elite, as well as by the Transylvanian-Hungarian public life. Consequently, Law 315 adopted on June 28, 2004 classified Szeklerland as a part of the Central Development Region.
The recognition of Szeklerland can only be achieved through cooperation between Hungarians and Hungarians: cooperation between the Hungarian national community of Transylvania and the government of Hungary. Romania must recognize Szeklerland between its natural, historically formed regional boundaries – which constitute linguistic and cultural boundaries as well -, with the eight Szekler seats and the 149 municipalities. This encompasses the historical Szeklerland and the neighbouring settlements, and is not identical with the territory encompassed by the administrative borders of Mures, Hargita and Covasna counties, as many mistakenly assume.
When we speak of unity, we are led by the conviction that the unity of the Hungarian people can only be achieved along certain values. We speak the same language, our way of thinking is influenced by the same culture, and many of us, on both sides of the border, possess Hungarian citizenship. But we believe that our national goals and institutions or the measures taken for defending Hungary, the Fundamental Law of Hungary, the autonomy of Hungarian national communities living behind the state borders– including Szeklerland’s territorial self-government, the Transylvanian Sapientia University, Hungary’s southern dual border fence and other measures to be equally important. It is only through these means that a long-term national unity may be achieved.
Marosvásárhely, May 15 2017.
President of the Szekler National Council