Hungary will expand its cross-border economic development scheme aimed at helping ethnic Hungarian communities beyond the border to Szeklerland, Romania, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with Hunor Kelemen, head of the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party, in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár) on Friday.
In Romania, the programme so far had only been implemented in Mures (Maros) county targeting farmers and small companies, Szijjártó noted.
Last year, the Hungarian government disbursed 1.5 billion forints (EUR 4.7m) among the region’s farmers and entrepreneurs, he said, adding that the 800 grant applications that have been submitted this year were still being assessed.
The minister lamented that the Romanian government had yet to approve the opening of a Hungarian cultural institute in Cluj-Napoca. In response to a question, he said the Hungarian government would gladly support the opening of a Romanian cultural institute in any Hungarian city.
“I would encourage the Romanians to open as many cultural institutes in Hungary as possible,” Szijjártó said. “Somehow this is not the exact attitude we see from our Romanian colleagues.”
Szijjártó said he had asked his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, at their meeting in Bucharest to support the establishment of the Cluj-Napoca cultural institute. He added that the matter would remain on the agenda of the two countries’ ties.
The minister also said
it was natural that he would meet representatives of ethnic Hungarians during his trip to Romania, given that the Hungarian government tailors its policy for Hungarians beyond the border to their expectations.
He said it was important for Hungary and Romania to achieve “success stories” together, arguing that this would create the trust that could allow the two countries to pursue solutions to any sensitive issues between them. Szijjártó welcomed that progress has been made in such sensitive areas as relaunching the Catholic secondary school in Targu Mures (Marosvásárhely).
Kelemen said he and Szijjártó reviewed the “problematic issues” between Hungary and Romania. He said
Romania’s ethnic Hungarian community was interested in continuous dialogue between the two countries and called for their strategic partnership to be strengthened.
Szijjártó also held talks with ethnic Hungarian business leaders and is scheduled to have a working dinner with the local leaders of Hungary’s historical churches.