Recent remarks by Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose concerning Hungarian autonomy efforts are “completely unacceptable and incompatible with European values and the 21st century”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday.
The Romanian ambassador in Budapest has been summoned to the foreign ministry in connection with the remarks, he added.
In the interest of ethnic Hungarian communities in Romania, the Hungarian government has always tried to build Hungarian-Romanian bilateral relations founded on mutual trust, Szijjártó told a press conference. This has been met with various degrees of reciprocity by the various Romanian governments, he added.
It is beyond doubt that the recent remarks by the Romanian prime minister which involved “basically threatening a national community and its representatives with execution are completely unacceptable,” he added.
It is “beyond question” that the Romanian government and the prime minister must work to resolve the situation immediately, Szijjártó said.
The Romanian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry on Friday morning and the deputy minister “made the Hungarian government’s position clear to him”. The ambassador tried to present “a kind of linguistic explanation” of the remarks, Szijjártó added.
Asked if the Hungarian government thought it was worthwhile engaging in a debate on Hungarian autonomy efforts when the Romanian government opposes autonomy, Szijjártó said the debate was a legitimate one, arguing that it had been initiated in a lawful manner by political parties in Romania. This is a debate that can be had in a civilised manner, the minister said.
Asked about potential economic consequences Romania could face if Tudose did not apologise for his remarks, Szijjártó said: “Let’s wait and see what Romania’s political leaders say and do about this.”
The minister said he was in constant dialogue with the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party on the matter. He added that “despite all the fluctuations in Hungarian-Romanian political cooperation” over the recent period, bilateral economic and trade ties have been expanding. “We hope that these kinds of uncivilised remarks don’t cause any problems in the everyday context,” Szijjártó said.
The opposition Socialists also condemned Tudose’s remarks, saying that responsible European politicians could not talk about “hanging minorities” without consequence. “Mihai Tudose no longer has a place in European public life,” Socialist Party leader Gyula Molnár said in a statement. “Hungary and Romania are both members of the same community, the European Union, which was founded, in part, to ensure that ideas like Tudose’s do not gain ground in Europe again,” Molnar said.
Radical nationalist Jobbik called on Tudose to step down immediately and called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to recall Hungary’s ambassador to Romania until Romania “draws the right conclusions”.
Speaking at a press conference in front of the Romanian embassy in Budapest with a Szekler flag in his hand and a rope around his neck, Jobbik lawmaker István Szávay said that Tudose’s remarks had proven that Romania was preparing for the 100th anniversary of the union of Transylvania and Romania with “the darkest, most primitive chauvinistic propaganda”.
Meanwhile, asked how Hungary could have “secretly” taken in 1,300 refugees while it regularly speaks out against Europe’s migrant quota scheme that would allocate 1,294 refugees to the country, Szijjártó said Hungary was fighting the mandatory quota scheme because it would relocate illegal migrants in the European Union and strip member states of their right to decide who they want to take in. He argued that Hungary’s taking in refugees under the Geneva Convention was a separate matter.
Featured image: MTI