The Ethics Committee of the Order of the “Star of Romania” found Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ) unsuited for holding on to the award. This is because he said that Hungarians have nothing to celebrate regarding 1918 Romanian Great Union. The emblematic figure of the 1989 Romanian revolution and Hungarian leader in Romania, László Tőkés was also deprived from his decoration in 2016.
To start with, the Gyulafehérvár Resolutions of 1 December 1918 declared Romania’s union with the mainky Hungarian- and German- inhabited Transylvania. Thus, Romania is going to celebrate the centennial of its unification next year. As Daily News Hungary already reported, Hunor Kelemen stated in an interview that Hungarians living in Romania can not and do not want to celebrate the centennial of the formation of the modern Romanian state. He added that
Romania has aimed to assimilate Hungarian minorities since 1918 and the goal is the same today.
Not surprisingly, the state’s anti-Hungarian attitude prevents the local community to develop loyalty towards Bucharest. According to Kelemen,
Romanians should understand and accept the feelings of the Hungarian community.
Kelemen was harassed for days during the summer in the Romanian media because of what he said. Moreover, some civil organizations even demanded that Bucharest should take away his citizenship.
In fact, Kelemen received the “Star of Romania” in 2000 for developing Hungarian-Romanian cultural ties. However, the Ethics Committee of the Order found him unsuited for holding on to it by a 6:1 majority. They
suggested that the Romanian president should take away the decoration of the Hungarian leader.
Thus, final decision lies in the hand of Klaus Johannis.
After the decision Kelemen said ‘we must express our opinion bravely even if they withdraw each of our decorations.’ According to his official website, he highlighted that Hungarian people do not have a cause to celebrate the centennial, but they respect it. Furthermore, he highlighted that
it is among basic values of democracy to express opinion freely and to celebrate only if one feels like to.
Depriving him from the decoration means that Romania is restricting freedom of speech. He added that ‘in the strengthening anti-Hungarian atmosphere we, Hungarians living in the 21st century have to talk very straight about who we are and what we would like to do.’
As Daily News Hungary reported, Member of the European Parliament, László Tőkés was also deprived from his “Star of Romania”.
He received the decoration because of his heroic deeds that lead to the downfall of the communist Ceaușescu-regime in 1989. His decoration was taken away in 2016 because Tőkés suggested – following the Austrian example in case of South-Tyrol – Hungary to become protective power over Hungarians living in Transylvania.
The number of anti-Hungarian actions has been increasing lately. Firstly, Romanian authorities persecute Hungarian national symbols, secondly, they restrict their education and culture rights. Moreover, Bucharest distracts EU- and state funds from territories with a Hungarian majority like Szeklerland (Székelyföld). In fact,
many think that depriving Hungarian icons of state decorations is just a further step towards boosting assimilation.
Thus, many regard these as the beginning of a nationalist or rather a chauvinist zeal which might peak during the centennial celebrations.
Biggest Hungarian opposition party,
Jobbik tried to warn the government and initiated legislative acts regarding the protection of Hungarian minorities and preparation for the Romanian centennial celebrations.
However, these did not gain governmental support so far.
Photo: Daily News Hungary, miko3szek
Source: mno.hu, kelemenhunor.ro, Daily News Hungary