Hungarian President Janos Ader has slammed a Thursday incident in the Valea Uzului (Úzvölgye) military cemetery between Hungarians and Romanians as “blasphemous, in violation of laws and international agreements and also deeply immoral.”
The Valea Uzului memorial cemetery in eastern Romania commemorates Hungarian soldiers fallen in the first world war. In April 2019, the local council erected a memorial site for Romanian soldiers fallen in the second world war. Ahead of the site’s inauguration late on Thursday, the visitors of that event clashed with Szekler demonstrators and eventually forced their way into the cemetery.
Speaking after attending the Whitsun mass in Sumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó), a traditional place of pilgrimage in Romania, Áder said that the memorial for Romanian soldiers contained 52 crosses, some of which “have been erected over the ashes of Hungarian soldiers”. The Romanian authorities have also found the memorial site unlawful, he said, noting the Romanian defence ministry’s statement that it has issued no permits for it.
The construction of the memorial site infringes on the Romanian-Hungarian agreement on the maintenance of war graves, Áder said. It is also “deeply immoral”, he added.
It is in the interest of Hungary and of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania to find a solution enabling a peaceful coexistence between Romanians and Hungarians, he said.
“There are several empty plots [in Valea Uzului],” he said. “No one will object to a memorial there to soldiers who have been documented as resting there.”
In a statement on Saturday, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila condemned “sowing discord among Romanian citizens, incitement to hatred or to disrespecting the country’s symbols”. She is mulling putting the cemetery under direct supervision of the defence ministry, the statement said.
Hungarian political parties also condemned the incident.
Lawmaker Barna Pál Zsigmond of ruling Fidesz called on the Romanian government to look into the events and find those responsible, at a press conference on a different issue on Saturday.
Opposition Párbeszéd in a statement pledged solidarity with “all Hungarians who feel intimidated by the attack of Romanian extremists in Valea Uzului”. They called on the Romanian government to convict those responsible and to restore the original site.
The radical nationalist Mi Hazánk party called on the Hungarian parliament to condemn the violent incident. Deputy party leader Dóra Dúró said on Saturday that parliament should express “the cohesion of all Hungarians and Hungary’s solidarity with those living beyond the borders.”