Let’s have a new enemy: Romania

One can say all sorts of things about Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, just not that he is the paragon of diplomatic virtue. Upon his arrival in Hungary’s foreign ministry, he not only got rid of Hungary’s seasoned diplomats but also used language rarely heard in the world of diplomacy. Szijjártó was groomed for his diplomatic career in the rough and tumble of Hungarian politics, Fidesz style. He tore into fellow foreign ministers, presidents, prime ministers, anyone who dared utter a word against Hungary. Actually, he was just following the instructions of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who at his very first meeting with the Hungarian ambassadors told them that they cannot let one “untrue” statement about the country go unanswered. Thus, like diplomats from banana republics, Hungarian ambassadors routinely write letters to the editor of major papers of the country where they serve. A rather distasteful habit.

It is hard to assess Hungary’s relations with her neighbors because they are so volatile. One month Szijjártó sends threatening letters to presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers of Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria and the next month we hear high praise for the same countries from Viktor Orbán. There are exceptions to the rule: Serbian-Hungarian relations seem to be consistently good and Romanian-Hungarian relations, consistently bad. Szijjártó’s latest move will not improve the situation with Romania.

Szijjártó forbade Hungarian diplomats serving abroad to attend the receptions Romanian embassies gave today on the country’s national holiday. It was on December 1, 1918 that the National Assembly of Transylvania and Hungary convened in Alba Iulia/Gyulafehérvár and decreed “the unification of those Romanians and of all the territories inhabited by them with Romania.” As the foreign ministry’s spokesman explained to HVG, “the Hungarian people have no reason to celebrate December 1.”

A contemporary depiction of the meeting of the Romanian National Assembly on December 1, 1918

A contemporary depiction of the meeting of the Romanian National Assembly on December 1, 1918

Thus no one represented official Hungary at the reception in Budapest where the Romanian ambassador greeted the visitors in both Romanian and Hungarian and where the national anthems of both countries were played. The concert that followed included pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Béla Bartók, and George Enescu. The ambassador’s speech, delivered in English, put special emphasis on the 1996 Hungarian-Romanian treaty on “mutual understanding, cooperation, and good neighborliness.” The English-French-language text of the treaty is available online, and its importance is detailed in a recent press release by the Romanian Foreign Ministry on the twentieth anniversary of its signing.

The Romanians’ response was surprisingly mild: “it is hard to understand such a decision because honoring the values and national symbols of a country certainly belongs to the basic precepts of the European Union and the Atlantic community.” As we have had to learn in the last six years or so, however, such “niceties” are not observed by the Hungarian government. Just as Viktor Orbán told the delegates of the Hungarian Diaspora Council on November 30, “political correctness, as a way of speaking, is the instrument of worldwide intellectual oppression,” which he naturally refuses to accept.

The pro-government media naturally greeted the Orbán government’s decision with elation. “At last we’re handling the Romanian national holiday as we should,” opined 888.hu. At last we have a foreign minister who behaves as he should. Leaders of the socialist-liberal governments behaved abominably, according to the news site. For example, on December 1, 2002 President Árpád Göncz, Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy, and Foreign Minister László Kovács were among the guests at the reception where they met Romania’s prime minister Adrian Nãstase and representatives of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians, the major Hungarian party in Romania. Fidesz, which had lost the election only a few months before, raised hell. Fidesz sympathizers quickly organized a demonstration of about 500-600 people in front of the Kempinski Hotel where the reception was held. The party, by then in opposition, did everything in its power to create a scandal.

A few years of respite followed when we heard nothing about the treasonous Hungarian socialists and liberals attending the Romanian receptions on December 1. But then came 2010 when Róbert Alföldi, the director of the National Theater whom Viktor Orbán and his friends hated, made the mistake of renting one of the halls of the National Theater to the Romanian Cultural Institute for the event. The most clamorous critics were the politicians of Jobbik and the Christian Democrats, but Fidesz also chimed in, saying that “the leader of one of the most important national organizations should know that the loss of Transylvania for the majority of the nation means trauma with lasting effect” and therefore no state institution should facilitate the reception. Under pressure, Alföldi withdrew his verbal agreement with the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Kolozsvári Szalonna, which naturally is more familiar with Romanian-Hungarian affairs than I am, brings up past occasions when Hungarian patriots inside and outside of Romania were quite happy to celebrate together with Romanian politicians. For example, Jenő Szász, then mayor of Odorheiu Secuiesc / Székelyudvarhely and a great friend of László Kövér, happily celebrated the Romanian national holiday with President Traian Băsescu in 2006. Géza Szőcs, former undersecretary for cultural matters in the prime minister’s office, back in 1990 even made a speech in Alba Iulia praising the democratic nature of the declaration of the National Assembly of Transylvania.

So, why this strident move, which will only further erode the already tenuous ties between Romania and Hungary? The most likely reason is Viktor Orbán’s newly found self-assurance which, as far as I can see, has grown substantially since Donald Trump’s victory on November 8. In his speech to the representatives of the Hungarian diaspora he rehashed the points he had made in his speech to the same body the year before. This gave him an opportunity to tout the wisdom of his political views and emphasize his belief that time is on his side. The real proof is “the surprising result of the American presidential election and the expectation that this election ushers in a new era.” The American election “supports [his] earlier view that a major worldwide realignment is forthcoming.” With Trump at the helm “instead of liberal democracy we can return to a democracy whose essence is freedom.”

By now he sees himself as the premier politician of Central Europe who has brought considerable prestige to Hungary. “Central Europe hasn’t had so much influence on European affairs since the House of Árpád or perhaps since King Matthias.” Of course, he is talking about his own influence on the common policies of the Visegrád 4 countries.

Finally, I would like to call attention to Orbán’s comments in this speech on the Hungarian military. We all know that European countries will have to commit a larger percentage of their GDP to the NATO budget. In fact, Hungary has already promised an increase in defense spending. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the following couple of sentences, but they gave me a pause. First, he said that Hungarians settled in a very difficult spot and “our first question is always what kinds of dangers we will have to face next.” Then, a few lines later, he told his audience that the Hungarian army must be beefed up not because of some outside threat but because Hungary “mustn’t fall behind the striking powers of the armies in our region.” I don’t know whether these statements are significant or just the usual imprecise talk.

December 1, 2016

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140 Comments on "Let’s have a new enemy: Romania"

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Istvan
Guest

Eva my impression from comments made by Defence Minister Dr István Simicskó is that Hungary will not reach the 2% GDP military expenditure goal until 2026. Hungary has interestingly identified one potential external threat in addition to the Islamic State and that is Bosnia-Herzegovina which Simicskó in a presentation on November 24 characterized as being “considered unstable.”

FreeWheeling
Guest

I was only casually listening to the RTL news last evening while making dinner and thought I heard that the government had diverted part of the military budget to help fund the new Videoton stadium. (am not sure what percentage)

Nevermind the owner of that football club is one of the top favoured oligarchs who, at least on paper after all of the generosity by OV, very well should be able to fund the stadium privately.

ferenc
Guest

And isn’t Videoton OV’s favourite club?

ferenc
Guest
My reading of OV’s intentions is that he would like to go into history as the man who achieved some sort of victory against the 1920 reaty. Everything he himself is doing and orders others to do, is serving that main goal. So as along as others are not obstructing him he can accept everything else they do. What are the main things he needs for his goal: stay in power, gain international support, weaken support and power of target(s), making people in the target area(s) feeling more close to Hungary than to the country in which they’re living. Which things could work against him: declining support within Hungary, more international leaders who he suppects to be not supportive, more satisfaction for people living in the target area(s). All of this explains OV/Fidesz attitude towards Romanian government, Russian government (also think Crimea!), populistic leaders of parties in other countries, his speeches in possible target area(s) or for people coming from there, the double nationality and the related right to vote. All these (too) positive reports about the economy are mainly there to try to increase people’s satisfaction and support of OV’s position. From others around OV/Fidesz this explains their positive… Read more »
Andrei
Guest

I’m happy to read some rational, ballanced article coming from Hungary… unfourtunately a rare ocation lately. I’m writing to you from Transylvania, with a very good daily life knowledge of romanian-hungarian relations as I live in a mixed family. I remember in the past when we looked at Hungary as a good example to follow, sadly not the case any more… as we are worried about the hate waves coming from your side. I assure you that the current policies of your government is weakening the transylvanian hungarian position and alienating many moderate people here. I stil hope for better days to come as we have so much common interests, but also such a catastrophyc potential of conflict… No matter what, I will admire the positive aspects of hungarian culture, and I’ll happily visit Hungary every time I have the oportunity (even now for New Year Eve) as long as you don’t fall to fascism or leave the EU…

MK.
Guest
Hi Andrei, i am also from transylvania. I’m not much a big fan of Orban, because of a lot of reasons. The first one is that i am against all kind of nationalist politics, against fascism to. I am very sad because we don’t really have a good relation. So how i said i am against nationalist politics, but i am against on both sides. So this is why for me is very funny to see: that a lot of people in romania is in shock because of the hungarian nationalists, in the same time romanian nationalism seems to be a very natural thing for the same people. 2. Everybody is in shock saying that szijjarto is not respecting romanias national symbols as the first of december, but it is the most natural thing that in romania flags are burned, people are insulted on media, on sport events, on the streets, and that here for a huge number of people and authorities is the actually problem is that some people have different cultural background in their own historical homeland. So the key for a better relation is if they both respect each other, or if not, there is always going… Read more »
Mayhem
Guest
You fail to grasp the situation. It is one thing to have civilians doing their shenanigans and stuff, but a whole different thing is to disregard diplomatic protocol because of politics based on emotional whims. If Hungarian diplomats have no reason to celebrate the 1st of December, then why in the previous years they had one? I do not see Romanian politicians rambling about Romanian diplomats not having a reason to celebrate the 15th of March, although this date for us is not a happy one either. For Hungarians it marked the beginning of their 1848 revolution, but for us it meant a period of oppression and persecution because we had our own ideal that collided with the ideal of the Hungarian people. If we were to dig up history, we could find numerous reasons why we should not celebrate our own national days. Then again I am stymied to think that after almost 100 years Hungarians still mourn the fall of Greater Hungary. Germany does not mourn the fall of the German Reich. Italy does not mourn that Fiume, once a great Italian city is now a Croatian one. Turkey isn’t making a fuss about how the Ottoman Empire… Read more »
pull
Guest

Also Romania is pretty wary of Russia while Orban is a Russian agent.

2016-i
Guest

Pull’s remark is spot on.

The Balogh Blog is expected to keep a finger on the pulse of the Active Measures.

Lots of events can be clearly understood through that looking glass with great ease.

Ron
Guest

O/T: Yesterday, we received by mail the invoice for telephone, internet and television. In this mail were two letters.

The first letter showed that VAT percentage on internet service went down from 27% to 18%, and as result our total invoice value was slightly down.

The other letter shows that as of January 1, 2017 the costs went up with approximately the same amount as the VAT reduction.

Conclusion: For Christmas we received a 9% reduction on the invoice, and next year will be as expensive as the last couple of years.

ferenc
Guest

Curious which provider are you on?
And anybody similar experience, which provider?

Ron
Guest

T-Online

Guest

This Fidesz “attitude” is so ridiculous!

Let the Romanians have their holiday just like the Hungarians, the Schwab, the Jews, the Slovaks, who ever …

It really would be a tragedy imho if the crazies like Szijarto etc had their wasy – re-introducing the old borders in Europe.

I still remember the waiting times we had forty or fifty years ago travelling from Germany to the Mediterranean Sea …

And now you often don’t realise that you’re welcomed in a different country which a hundred years ago maybe was your Arch-Enemy. Do these lunatics really want those “Good Old Times” back?

I’ve often told these stories – you’re in Slovakia and get greeted in German or Hungarian automatically – in South Tyrol people always thought my wife was Italian and addressed her in that language and in the Netherlands everybody speaks English with you …

How happy we should be to live in a kind of united Europe!

ferenc
Guest

Reading your comment, a song came to my mind, it’s from a Dutch band Klein Orkest with their ‘Over De Muur’ (meaning: Over The Wall) from 1984.

“And only the birds fly from East- to West-Berlin.
They are not called back, nor shot down.
Over the Wall, over the Iron Curtain,
Because they want to be sometimes in the east, and sometimes in the west.
Because they want to be sometimes in the east, and sometimes in the west.”

Full text (in Dutch) on youtube page (‘translatable’ with google)

Background here https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_Orkest

The song remains popular in Holland, currently at #76 in all-time top2000. It’s specifically about the Berlin Wall, but can be taken more general to all places, where birds are flying…..

ferenc
Guest
Guest

Thanks, Ferenc!

A bit OT:

After some unpleasant contact with East German border police on a drive by car to Berlin in the 70s I promised myself not to visit any “Communist” country – Yugoslavia was the exception and we spent many a summer (and even spring and autumn) there. Only after the fall of the Iron Curtain did I visit Hungary …

And I also went on business trips several time a year after 1989 to Berlin – the company’s offices were in the East and I always asked the company to get me a hotel room in the East and admired how fast East Berlin was catching up with the West …

gdfxx
Guest

East Berlin’s fast catching up with the West cost the German government a lot of money, money they were willing to spend.

Mihai Ovidiu
Guest

I believe you are a teenager in the geopolitics:
Germany(West) did receive some Marshall Funds, as to be known as charity money from US…some tens of thousands of millions of dollars!!!
The “proud” Germans stood with their hands open to receive charity from the Americans.
And after that they, indeed, rediscovered their sense of business!
And you are speaking about the East ? Who is trying to “catch up” with West?
You? Beggars?

Cristian Radu
Guest

Mihai, crawl back to your hole.

Thereality
Guest

Wrong. This Romanian holyday is about the attacking of a self-disarmed country (Hungary), and grabbing huge territories without holding any democratic referendums (to avoid Wilson’s self-determination idea) about the disputed borders. IT is a chauvinistic holyday.

Mayhem
Guest

The Romanian holiday of the 1st of December is about the self-determination of the Transylvania Romanians. Its a day of unity and freedom from oppression. Whoever denies this has a beef with moral values such as justice and. We held a democratic plebiscite before the gathering at Alba Iulia. All of the electors sent there were voted by the people.

Thereality
Guest

Trianon was against Wilson’s self-determination theory,because it WASN’T based on democratic referendums (general equal&secret ballots). It was not a wonder that Czech, Romanian and Serbian politicians PROTESTED against the very idea of democratic referendums about the borders. Czech politicians didn’t trust in Slovaks, because only very few Slovaks joined to the so-called “Czechoslovak”army against the Hungarians in 1919 (and Slovaks represented only 48% ratio in Northen parts of Hungary). Romanian politicians didn’t trust in Transylvanian Romanians, perhabs they didn’t want to join to backward & poor Romania (the ratio of romanians were only 53% in Transylvania). Serbs were small minority (22% !!!) in Voivodine. Similar to Romania, Serbia was also a very backward Orthodox country without serious urbanization or industrialization.

So it was not wonder that USA and president Wilson did not signed this anti-democratic dictate.

There were only one democratic referendum about the borders between Hungary and Austria: The Sopron area referendum in Western Hungary in 1921, where Entente officers were the leaders of the voting districts, there were general equal and secret ballots)

pull
Guest

Orban wouldn’t mind if Hungary was kicked out of NATO. He is doing everything to support Putin’s agenda.

Since no member has ever left NATO and such an event would signal a new era (or at least would further underscore the new era in which Western Europe is on the defensive) Orban is also betting that no matter what he does (e.g. fulfil the 2% obligation), NATO would not kick Hungary out because it would be a huge loss of prestige for NATO.

But in the unlikely scenario that Hungary is kicked out for failing to live up to the expectations (2% etc.) Orban would be very happy.

Nevertheless the ultimate decision will be taken in Moscow.

If Moscow thinks Hungary’s continued membership, the info flow via Hungary and Hungary’s ability to undermine NATO from within are worth more than a direct hit at NATO by losing one of its members then Hungary will stay in.

Otherwise Hungary will be directed to take steps to leave or create a situation in which NATO would have no choice but to kick Hungary out. Orban basically handed Hungary over to Russian siloviks. It is they who will decide.

Istvan
Guest

Pull I don’t know either about Hungary really wanting to exit NATO, if anything Putin probably likes Hungary’s potential as a A Trojan Horse inside of NATO, or NATO under Trump not kicking Hungary out over the 2%. I am also not sure if the plan for Hungary to reach the 2% only by 2026 will be acceptable to the Trump administration. I am confident that if team Orban plays games with the military budget increase schedule due to claims of budget crisises etc. Trump would be happy to make an example of Hungary, its easy pickings really.

I would go back again to a speech Trump gave here in Chicago praising Poland for reaching the 2% level and his comments about how important that was. I linked a video of that speech to the blog.

Ovidiu
Guest
@Eva “The Romanians’ response was surprisingly mild” The Romanians’ (the political elites at least) response to Orban’s antics has always been mild, or even non-existent (ignoring him altogether). Orban has even complained last time at Baile Tusnad/ Tusványos that there is no Romanian-Hungarian dialogue because nobody replies to his declarations and engages in dialogue with him. But the Romanians’ dilemma vis a vis of Orban is similar to that of a sadic pondering what is better when dealing with a masochist : to torture him or to frustrate him badly by doing nothing. Any forceful reply would play right into Orban’s game by triggering a spiral of escalating nationalistic war of declarations, and thus implicitly and explicitly validating Orban’s nationalistic anti-EU views, and create tensions between two NATO member states to boot. Up to now Romania has had nothing to gain by barking at Orban. The country is solidly pro-EU and pro-NATO/USA and it has no extreme-right parties. General elections are soon due ( 11 December) and no fringe nationalist and/or anti-EU party is expected to make it over 5% and enter the parliament. However, as Orban hopes for, the election of Donald Trump may change the geopolitical alignments and… Read more »
Guest

The bragging from Orbán re his fantastic relations with Trump – and vice versa is unbelievable – just look at this:
http://bbj.hu/politics/orban-praises-trump-and-his-policies-again_125619
I’m wondering whether the new US government will help Hungary in any way?
and
http://bbj.hu/politics/trump-adviser-orban-aims-to-make-hungary-great-again-_125690
Do the Trumpistas really believe that?

One thing is for sure:
The important people in the EU can’t stand Orbán and his cronies – but they have to “tolerate” them – for how long?
Is Fidesz really expecting/hoping for a right shift in the important EU countries?

Ovidiu
Guest

We will see in 6 months from now on what new foreign policy Trump adopts.

It is conceivable that Trump will attempt to reach a security agreement with Putin which will grant Russia a “sphere of influence” in Est-Europe. That’s so because USA needs/wants Russia as an ally for its containment strategy of China.
This means that, at least, Ukraine’s hopes to join the West will be quashed, but the sphere may extend westwards.

Guest

But if Hungary etc is in that sphere it would mean less investments by Western companies, more people fleeing the country …
And maybe the end of financing all those silly projects by the EU?
I’m sure that many people in Germany etc would like that because it probably also would mean cheaper holidays for us again – like in Kadar times …

ferenc
Guest

Thanks for this explanation, seems spot on.
Unfortunately for Hungarians it’s impossible to ignore OV and his bunch. Hopefully for them they soon can “stick a fork in their ass and turn them over, they’re done!” (from Lou Reed 1989)

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

Contrary to the claim that “the National Assembly of Transylvania and Hungary convened in Alba Iulia/Gyulafehérvár and decreed the unification of those Romanians and of all the territories inhabited by them with Romania” in fact Hungary did not participate in the Assembly of Romanians living in Hungary on December 1, 1918. The refered territories included parts of Transylvania with Hungarian majorities, and of course no plebiscites were to be held. Even today over 1.2 m in Romania claim Hungarian ethnicity. The declaration of the Assembly contained provisions favorable to minorities, none of which were kept subsequently.
The Dec 1 issue of the Multkor (http://mult-kor.hu/kesedelem-es-sszeomlas-igy-kerult-erdely-a-romanokhoz-20161201) gives an extensive summary of these events.

Guest

What I found interesting:

The Schwabs in Transylvania were all for getting out of Hungary and joining Romania!
Any ideas why they wanted to leave the “friendly Hungarian empire”?

webber
Guest

The Saxons of Transylvania voted, collectively, to leave Hungary. If you truly are interested about why, this is good on that:
Harald Roth, Der “Deutsch-sächsische Nationalrat”. Siebenbürgen 1918/1919 (München, 1993)
On what happened after, this is also interesting: Karl M. Reinert, Zur politischen Entwicklung der Deutschen in Rumänien 1918-1928 (Bad Tölz, 1993)

MK.
Guest

the saxons where. The northern schwabs for sure not. I’m from a town where the northern schwabs are and they are mostly on the hungarian side even today. Sure, who is not assimilated yet. The thing with the saxons is that they lost some of their autonomy after the rev. of the 19.th century and they hoped they will get more from romania so they voted romania. After that the first ethnic group who where literary destroyed where the saxons of transylvania. Today there is only a few thousand of them. Sorry for it. Now i moved to Kronstadt….nice city it could be in that times…..today only the old architecture is still nice but….everything else is….well i don’t want to hurt feelings here so yes….the old empty or occupied old saxonic buildings are just beautiful.

webber
Guest

Mild correction – the first ethnic group who were literally destroyed were the Jews (in every country in the region). Saxons were driven out later.

George Tudorie
Guest
Two things: 1. I think it is fair that Transylvanian Hungarians remind the majority of the principles of the Resolution of Alba Iulia/Gyulafehérvár. This should be part of our collective discussion on how to have a more inclusive and democratic society. I am myself often frustrated by the level of ignorance of the majority (which is my ethnic group) and by its consequences. But the reminder should not be selective: the Resolution was generous, to say the least. Still, the Transylvanian Hungarian elites of the time did NOT support it. Is one then to take it as some sort of Constitutional contract? Many of its stipulations (including territorial ones) never came into effect. I could go on – but the point is that the Resolution cannot be taken as the definitive document to settle minority claims in Transylvania now. Again, it should be part of the discussion, but the discussion is much larger and should take into account current realities. 2. With this reminder should come, I think, some disposition to NOT ignore context. The historical context of 1918-1920, and especially the current one. The democratic failures of the post-Trianon Romanian state (all too real) should be discussed accordingly –… Read more »
Member
Please note I think Orbán and his crooks are a terrible, calamitous blight on Hungary. And one of the biggest handicaps of Hungary and Hungarians are their inability or unwillingness, in terms of government policy, and national psyche and self-esteem, to deal with Trianon and the loss of areas of Greater Hungary. But… what do the Romanians expect? In 1990, despite no history of the day as a celebration, they declare as Unification Day a day when they, in a ridiculous lack of due process and legality, formalised their invasion and occupation of the land of another nation. And then they are surprised that other nation doesn’t take part in their celebrations? I know it is petty of Szijjártó, and counter-productive, but the biggest provocation here was Romania’s declaration of that day as their national day. I don’t have a problem with what Fidesz are doing here. MSzP meekly going along to Romania’s celebrations with sheepish grins are surely some of the reasons that people don’t think they stand up for Hungary. This does not mean I support Greater Hungary or irredentism. It is stupid, and water under the bridge. But, factually, it was a great loss for Hungary, and… Read more »
Guest

“…factually, it was a great loss for Hungary…”

It was a great gain for the Slovak, Ukrainian, Romanian, Serb, Kroatian and other minorities constituting 50% of the population of “Greater Hungary”. It saved millions from forced hungarisation and ethnic cleansing.

MK.
Guest

Romanian politics assimilated or destroyed every other ethnic, cultural, religious or national group from 1918 until now. We are the only one group who we still have our identity and this is romanias big problem….so i don’t know…what hungarisation and ethnic cleansing are you talking about? because if in that time they whould had this kind of politics, than until 1918 there whould not be a single romanian.

Guest

Without Trianon “Greater Hungary” would have been torn apart with much bloodshed.

Mayhem
Guest
The proportion of Romanians in Transylvania during the dual monarchy slowly but steadily declined. From 65% in 1842 to 53% in 1910. The harsh magyarization policy coupled with various restrictions that prevented Romanians to establish a political and economical foothold forced most of the Romanian intellectuals from Transylvania to migrate either in the Old Kingdom or in other foreign countries, particularly France. 1912 was the peaking year of Romanian migration into the Old Kingdom with 88k Romanians crossing the border permanently into the Old Kingdom. No matter how you look at it, the situation was dire. Romanians were simply more resilient. Magyarization was done through education. Romanians mostly had elementary schools but very few high schools, colleges or working schools. Those who wanted to build a career came to a realization that they could not because there were very few high education institutions being taught in Romanian language. And no university. For 3.5 million people to not have 1 university that is outrageous, but that was part of the magyarization policy. Those Romanians who wanted to build a career in any domain in Hungary had to become Hungarians. Romania did not have a policy of assimilating its minorities. On the… Read more »
Mihai Ovidiu
Guest

Interesting point of view
Two short comments:
1. Unio Trio Nationum – did you hear about it? Where are the Romanians in that document?
2. You are speaking about the act of 1918? Or the act of 1920? Illuminate me! What act dou you still complain of?

Guest

Compare this to the Irish celebrating the end of English oppression – of course it’s a cause for celebrating, even if it was a loss for the former masters and oppressors!

If Hungarians had treated their minorities better maybe …

seinean
Guest

What the FDESZ government did is about as stupid as it would be for the British Government to forbid British officials to attend the 4-th of July celebrations.

Mayhem
Guest
The Unification Day is the most significant historical moment for Romanians in the modern age. Seriously, I’ve seen many people, particularly Hungarians proposing other national days, but none had such a unifying resolution as the 1st of December had in our collective mentality. It is on that day that our people were finally united as one into a single state. The Unification of the 2 Principalities and the Independence day were steps made for a greater cause. The national day during communism was a big joke. Celebrating the day when a lousy young king offered Romania for free to the soviets, gambling with our people, our wealth, our everything as if he was the one that made them was the epitome of stupidity. 23rd of August was a day that should’ve been mourned, not celebrated because our country had to suffer 12 years of foreign occupation when we were literally robbed of every penny. And the 22nd of December is a day that polarizes the opinion of the population. Most Romanians today, after 27 years of democracy and capitalism regret Ceausescu’s rule and for good reason. Even with the big money sponsored anti-communist wave the proportion of Romanians that claim… Read more »
Kata
Guest

Dear Éva,
Hungarians celebrating 1st of December would be like jews to celebrate the anniversary of Hitler’s birthday. (maybe a little too extreme, but you get the ideea,hopefully).
You have no ideea how life is in Transylvania and if you or any american would have to face day to day the things hungarians have to live with, probably would make headlines in Us media. Just a small example: I was talking on my cell phone with a friend, on the 1st of December, and she was walking in the centre of Kolozsvár and people started to harras her and she was pushed and freatened because she was talking in hungarian. Eu.21st century. Do you think that this kind of behaviour is normal and we should celebrate this? Beacause we see this every day and we have to live with. Come live with us and help us change this and then write about how bad OV is for us. It’s ok to have an oppinion, but if you have no ideea what’s going on, it’s better to keep it to yourself. I am no OV fan either, by the way.

webber
Guest

Was your friend harassed before or after Szijjártó made his statement?
I have been to Kolozsvár several times and have spoken Hungarian with friends there every time, and had no problems ever. But I have not been there since Szijjártó spoke.
It is one thing not to attend an event. That nobody will notice. It is another thing to make a public statement to the press about that. Hungarians in Transylvania are suffering and will suffer more because of Szijjártó’s show-boating.

seinean
Guest
Kata, I am sorry if your friend was harassed because she spoke Hungarian in the center of Cluj. My experience – mainly in Satu Mare – is different, but maybe you know better. Maybe there were some complains made by your friend to the police or to the press ( be it the Hungarian press from Hungary) about that incident or at least some photos of the aggressors taken with the mobile and posted on some website that you can present… B’cose we’re in “Eu.21st century”. Hitler masterminded state policies that lead to the death of several ( more than 6) million Jews. How can you even compare the two situations ? I can understand that you cannot feel happy on a personal level and as a community with the celebration of December the 1-st even if 98 years passed from then and even if Hungary “really” lost Transylvania, Banat and Partium at Trianon on June the 4-th 1920. However this is not acceptable on a state and diplomatic level. Name it Political Correctness if you want but such PC at state level avoids conflicts and saves lives. Idiots and petty nationalists exist in all nations. The main point would… Read more »
seinean
Guest

:s/from/since/

Mayhem
Guest

Not to mention that big boy Hitler actually AWARDED land to Hungary because of its loyalty to the nazi cause. What a way to make a comparison. If the land Hitler awarded you would’ve remained until today yours, I doubt you would’ve said anything bad about him.

webber
Guest

It is not surprising that Hungary was an ally, the wonder is that Romania also was an ally if Hitler’s Germany, because Romanians got nothing but pain and punishment out of the arrangement – yet they stayed on as allies until the Soviet Army came.

Mayhem
Guest

Romania had to choose. Either with Germany or with USSR. Both were bad gambles, but we had to make one. Antonescu originally was a pro-french individual. But since France fell and UK was busy with the nazis, we had to choose which side should we take. Germany was not a threat to us but USSR was. Numerous incidents happened along the new Eastern border after loosing Bessarabia. However, we Romanians never forgot that Hitler sold us out in 1940. And we stabbed him in the back in 1944. Not too proud of it myself, but I think it was a reasonable response to the humiliation we had to endure in 1940.

ferenc
Guest

Forget thrird option: choose neither of them and stay independent.
Best not forget to prepare defension, if any (or both) start war against you.

webber
Guest

“Germany was not a threat…”
And yet you remember what happened on 30 Aug. 1940, and you know what happened to Romanian citizens of Jewish extraction.
I would say that was more than a threat to Romania, it was horrible punishment.

Thereality
Guest

Romania was the only country during the ww2, where Jews were killed (pgroms) by local civilians

webber
Guest

No, Romania was not the only country where that happened during that war, unfortunately.

ferenc
Guest

Kata, feel very sorry for your friend (and anybody else) being harrased, because of speaking ‘another’ language.
Have never been over the Hungarian/Rumanian border, so my question is: when such a thing happens, what can you do? does the local police help?
was it one incident? does it happen ‘systematically’? if, so best report to institutions which (might) help against it (e.g.Rumanian government, Amnesty Int., European Union, etc.)

Your comparison Hungarians-Jews seems way out of proportion to me.
But am curious if you yourself celebrated Dec.01, and for what reason(s) you did or didn’t do that?

Kata
Guest
Local police and other people helped her from the 6-7 individual’s rage. She was advised to forget about that and to understand that it was a special occasion and the people were just overreacting. As usual, for the (romanian) authorities nothing happened, everything was normal and had to be forgotten. If I wear or wave my hungarian or szekler flag on Hungary’s national holiday-or any other occasion- they give me a fine because I provoke the romanian people, and “we live in Romania”. These are actual facts and the romanian media doesn’t want to see/hear/write/broadcast about them. In Bucharest they say that everything is fine and we have a lot of rights compared to other minorities(?). But we cannot use them because they always find a way to double cross the law against hungarians. The politicians always use us as propaganda, from both sides: The romanians (all of them, not just the natipnalist party) say we are a threat to Romania(ns) and the hungarians jus promise us rights and well being, but do norhing for that. Almoust daily we encounter things that reminds us that we are just tolerated there. I think this is a more serious subject that affects… Read more »
ferenc
Guest

I understand that you consider things to not OK, so what should change in your opinion?
And if others are paranoid (about you?), what can you do to reduce their paranoidness?
What does it mean “lot of rights compared to other minorities”, I mean everybody should have same rights!
And now for something completely different: Ahmed H.’s case – 10 years for terrorism aka. throwing ‘something’ to Hungarian police at the border; did you hear/read about that? If so what’s your opinion?

Max
Guest

Kata you are full of s*****it. What rights you have and you cannot use them? Why you don’t say about the Romanians who are living in the (small but existing) areas where the Hungarians are in majority? Why you don’t say about how they are harassed by Hungarians in their own country? Why you don’t say how those Romanians (living in areas with Hungarian majority) HAVE BEEN harassed when they wave the Romanian flags or colors during the Romanian National Day? Even the children’s have been threatened because (upon the poor Hungarians without rights) by wearing the Romanian flag or colors they are provoking the Hungarians! And they are living in Romania! I can give you Eva a lot of examples about how some (not all thank’s to Good) are behaving but you can also find them if you want because the internet it’s available and lies can be easily discovered.

webber
Guest

All that may be true, and all that does not negate the fact that people who speak Hungarian have been humiliated in public. I personally never, ever experienced that in Cluj (I’ve been many times), but once near Suceava a member of Romania Mare asked me to stop speaking “that barbaric language” and start speaking “a civilized one,” and that fellow knew very well that I am not a Romanian citizen. I can just imagine what he says to Romanian citizens who speak Hungarian around him.

Mayhem
Guest

Meh, you cry a lot but when Romania school kids were sent death threats last year during the 1st of December in Sf. Gheorghe was it better? Come on, you have to be really blind to not see that your people pretty much do the same thing to Romanians, albeit in isolated cases (like yours too). You overreact based on one personal, subjective event by trying to generalize. If things were as you said, Romanians and Hungarians could have not coexisted in peace for 100 years since the Unification. At social level we are actually doing fine. Although autonomy claims and szekler flags are completely out of the question. Even in the US the Confederate flag is illegal. We’re not gonna put on our institutions flags of a region that wants to be separated from the motherland.

gdfxx
Guest

Mayhem, the Confederate flag is not illegal in the US. It is simply not used by those, who think that it represents those, who think freeing the slaves was wrong. In the US no flag whatsoever is illegal. Also, in the US everyone can talk about separating from the US. For example, in California and other Western states, there are proposals by serious politicians to secede from the United States. Not many people take them seriously but police (secret or non-secret) is following them for this.

Szabadi Tamás
Guest

Sorry Ferenc, but I think, that you are living on the Moon, not in Europe. I am living in RO, (I have more than 50 years), and not a single time was harrased for speaking Hungarian language. And often heard others with same hapenings.
The local policy is not too active in same cases. They consider, that is our caprice, and nothing else.
About A.I. and EU: is a Romanian proverb, which is very-very tipically: “We speek like them, and we do like us” (want/like)

ferenc
Guest

Dear Tamas, have seen live on TV the first moonlanding, but haven’t been to the moon (yet).
Now back living in West-Europe, after having spend sometime in Czech (short),Poland (short) and Hungary (little longer).
Seems you (as Hungarian speaker?) are satisfied with current situation in Rumania, I’m glad for you. But if still you like certain things to be better than now, what will you and can you do about those?

Radu
Guest

The example you give may be an individual occurrence (an occurrence that a foreign minister certainly can and should foresee. The question is – does he care about the possibility of Hungarians in RO to suffer as a result of his attitude?). I can counter that with a huge amount of examples of civility stemming form both Hungarians and Romanians in Cluj Napoca/Kolozsvar. I was a student there – my experiences with Hungarian ethnics were always at least decent if not excellent.
Also it should be noted that Romania is praised throughout the EU for its progressive policies regarding minorities – which is by no means the case of Hungary.

Max
Guest
Dear Kata, sorry to say but you are a liar! I’m currently living in Tg Mures (I’m Romanian) where Romanians and Hungarians are almost 50/50 and no Hungarians are harassed because they are speaking in Hungarian! If it would be so “hard for Hungarians” why almost everywhere in Transilvania, in shops or public buildings/institutions there are writings in Romanian and Hungarian too? Because poor Hungarians are harassed? You can use Hungarian language in official documents, you have education from kindergarten to College in Hungarian language and you dare to complain that you are harassed because you speak Hungarian? You should be ashamed! I’m fluent in Hungarian, I have Hungarian friends and we understand each other very well. Of course that there are stupid and mean people also but they are everywhere whatever the language they speak. So don’t try to lie Eva. Eva please check the rights which the minorities (not only Hungarians) have in Romania, check the rights of minorities in Hungary and then compare it and see where is the truth. Don’t trust me or Kata by word, check it by your self. And something else about Romanian’s values: we have elected for President a GERMAN ethnic which… Read more »
webber
Guest

Why is she a “liar”? Do you know what happened to her friend in Cluj? Tirgu Mures is not Cluj, you know.
Conditions differ There are nasty people everywhere. Just because you dislike what someone writes does not mean that they are lying.

ferenc
Guest

Hungarian government’s behauviour in Dec.01 case seem just a provocation.
Rumanian government’s response of ignoring as much as possible seems the best way.

Zoli
Guest
So, just that we can understand this, Eva believes that Native Americans should be glad to celebrate Columbus day? Or perhaps there should be some basic understanding of the fact that a historical event does not mean the same thing to different people, thus accept the fact that what may be reason for some to celebrate, is reason for others to be sad and upset about. The Hungarian government was correct to state this fact. It most certainly was something to be sad about for 1.7 million ethnic Hungarians gifted the Chauvinistic Balkan Romanians who regard them as a door mat to wipe their muddy boots on, and for generations of ethnic Hungarians born ever since. While the Population of Transylvania increased by 50% since then, the Ethnic Hungarian population declined from 1.7 million, to about 1.2 million by 2011, thanks in large part to assimilation policies, including mass-colonization in order to destroy local minority cohesion, which is a process also being applied in Tibet by the Chinese. A policy which Eva unsurprisingly once denied to have occurred in one of our past conversations, even though there is definite evidence showing it to have been Romanian government policy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A2rgu_Mure%C8%99 BTW… Read more »
Max
Guest
Dear Eva, as you can see for some Hungarian if you try to be equidistant then you automatically against them? The saying ” if you are not with us the you are against us” it’s their motto 🙂 To be honest after reading Zoli’s post I was laughing with tears and I was thinking how that he believes that you are very stupid by telling such a bulls***it stories, he’s beating Andersen’s imagination :). He’s forgetting the massacres done by Hungarians against Romanian population in 1944 in Ip and Traznea villages in Transilvania where the Hungarians killed men’s women’s and children’s! He talking about moody boot’ when they stabbed pregnant women’s? He’s talking about assimilation? During the Austrian-Hungarian OCCUPATION of Transilvania in 1898 the Hungarian authorities have issued for Transylvanian administrative service a book where they are describing in very details how the Romanian names must be translated in Hungarian ones. An original of this “manual” can be seen at Cluj Napoca University Library. The original name is “HOGY MAGYAROSITSUK A VEZETEKNEVEKET and it was written by Telekes Simon. In 1908 they made a new release more detailed and bigger 🙂 . So, who had a state policy for assimilation… Read more »
Catalin
Guest

I believe this whole thing will turn out to be a non-issue for Romanian authorities. It’s the business as usual squabble between Hungary – Romania whenever there’s something to celebrate or commemorate on either side.

I honestly think that the real issue at stake for Romania is the ever growing threat coming from the east. This “live and let live” attitude towards Hungary just confirms that there are more serious matters at hand. Romanian policy makers know it and the only other nation in the region that can weigh in is Poland. Just check the two countries’ latest military expenditure figures.

My expectation is that unless Orban goes completely bonkers and moves towards more serious threats, his rhetoric will remain largely ignored.

Thereality
Guest

There was a romanian response, the response of Basescu: “The real borders of Romania are at the Tisza river” Based on the romanian pseudo-historic national religion and belief system: the so-called Daco-Romanian continuity tales.

Hargitay András
Guest

Dear Eva S Balogh!

I have get information about your article from the website of Romanian newspaper Adevarul. There is transleted some parts from your article and explicated to Romanians by Romanians. It’s an intersting fact that nobody says nothing about you in Hungary and you don’t want to present your opinion to Hungarian people. You speak from a foreign country in a foreign language form Hungary, from Hungarians and from Hungarian nation. I must tell you that above all these strange facts the most bizare is that you don’t want to protect the Hungarian interests but to discredit them. Why could I say this? It’s evident that the political wings have their daily battles and you would like to participate somehow in these confrontations but I must ask you to do that just in cont of your own honor. Don’t involve the history and the honor of our nation and don’t try to negate the biggest tragedy of our history just for the hope of some political benefit.

Best regards

Guest

“…don’t try to negate the biggest tragedy of our history…”

Don’t forget that the “biggest tragedy” for Hungarians was the biggest liberation for just as many non-Hungarians. Perpetuating a one-sided view on Trianon may result in disastrous policies.

Hargitay András
Guest

Sorry man I wouldn’t like to start a debate about Trianon because it’s clear that we can’t understand each other. I know your opinion, you don’t have to present but I don’t accept it. Please ignore my comments. I hope you will be polite and you can understand.

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