Closer ties between Hungary and Romania would benefit both countries and central Europe as a whole, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Arad, in western Romania, on Monday, at a joint press conference with Hunor Kelemen, the head of Romania’s ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party.
Szijjártó said that “positive gestures” towards the ethnic Hungarian community in Transylvania would strengthen inter-state ties, and consequently the countries’ role in the region. Hungary sees the ethnic Romanian community in Hungary as an important asset and continues to take steps to strengthen it, he said.
“We would expect the same from the Romanian leadership,” the minister said.
Concerning the Valea Uzului (Uzvolgye) memorial cemetery in Romania, a resting place of Hungarian WW1 soldiers where Szekler demonstrators clashed with Romanians earlier this year, the minister called on the Romanian government to delegate an “adequate negotiating partner” to the talks on setting the issue.
“We especially expect the Romanian government to prevent further provocation,” he said, referring to a commemoration announced by Romanian nationalist organisations at the same site for October 25.
Szijjártó called the third phase of Hungary’s economic development scheme for Transylvania a “great success”, with some 5,300 tenders submitted for some 21.5 billion forints (EUR 64.5m) funding. The fourth phase will be announced in November, with focus on the region just east of the Hungarian border, he said.
On another subject, Szijjártó called it “outrageous and a mockery of European democracy” that the Hungarian and Romanian commissioner-designates were rejected by the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee “for political reasons”.
Kelemen said his talks with Szijjártó focussed on the situation of the Hungarian community in Romania. He said the challenges for the ethnic Hungarian community would not change in the years to come.
“We also want a better country where our community, language and culture are respected. We also respect the majority and try to build the future together,” he said.