Hungary voices regret over Romania’s banning Szekler official
Hungary seeks to build “civilised” ties based on “mutual respect” with Romania, but such moves as Romania’s recent banning an official of the Szekler National Council (SZNT), a Hungarian citizen, from that country “won’t help the process”, the Hungarian foreign minister told reporters on Saturday.
Péter Szijjártó spoke after Romanian authorities on Friday denied entry to Attila Dabis, foreign affairs commissioner of the Szekler National Council in Romania.
Szijjártó said that legal entrants could only be banned from a country upon a court ruling, and insisted that Romania‘s border police “had not referred to any such decision”. He added that Romanian authorities had declined to comment, and that the Hungarian government would send a diplomatic note to the Romanian interior and foreign ministries.
The foreign minister suggested that
Romania had violated a European citizen’s right to free movement within the community, and called it “unacceptable”.
Concerning events connected to the Day of Szekler Freedom in Marosvásárhely (Targu Mures), which Dabis was planning to attend, Szijjártó said that “nobody must be denied the right to commemorate heroes in history”, and voiced hope that Romania’s authorities will “proceed in a European manner”.
On another subject, Szijjártó criticised Ukraine’s authorities for their “passive stance” concerning continual attacks against that country’s Hungarian community, and insisted that Ukraine was “becoming unworthy” of joining the European Union or NATO. The Hungarian government will “face all debates and fight all battles” for Hungarian people, whether they are living in Hungary or in other countries, Szijjártó added. Hungary will not support any of Ukraine’s endeavours to join international organisations before that country drops its measures hurting ethnic minorities, the minister said.
Referring to recommendations by the EU and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Szijjártó said that the Ukrainian government should enter into negotiations with ethnic minority representatives and change Ukraine’s education law, which currently restricts their access to education in minority languages. Szijjártó also referred to proposals now before Ukraine’s parliament to amend the language law, and said that the “nonsensical” bills were aimed at fully suppressing the Hungarian language in Ukraine.
Ukraine uses “false propaganda” to divide ethnic Hungarians and manipulate the international community, Szijjártó insisted.
Szijjártó noted that Hungary had repeatedly asked leaders of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to extend the presence of OSCE observers from East Ukraine to western parts of the country in light of attacks against the Hungarian minority. According to recent, official information, OSCE has set up a 12-strong mission in Uzhhorod (Ungvár), Szijjártó said.
Photo by MTI