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Relations between Hungary and Romania are “civil and fair”, which allows the Hungarian government to work for the ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, a government official told the Cluj daily Kronika on Friday.

In the interview, János Árpád Potápi touched on the upcoming local elections in Romania, and said Hungarians needed strong representation. He said the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party was the Hungarian government’s “strategic ally, we support them because they are the strongest”. He said that hopefully, RMDSZ will soon be a member of the Romanian coalition government.

Potápi said fielding Hungarian candidates in non-Hungarian parties harmed the interests of the Hungarian community.

Regarding remarks of President Klaus Iohannis, who insisted the Romanian opposition was “trying to sell out Transylvania to Hungary”, Potápi said that Iohannis had been voted into position by Hungarians living in Romania. So far, the president has not returned the support, Potápi said.

On the issue of Ukraine refusing to allow Potápi to enter the country and attend the inauguration of a school renovated with Hungarian state support, the state secretary warned that minorities in Ukraine will soon have “less rights than they used to have in the Soviet Union”.

“How do they expect Ukrainian citizens to remain faithful to an independent Ukraine like that? While they force Ukrainian on ethnic minorities, government members in Kiev use Russian amongst themselves,” Potápi added. He said Hungary would continue to block Ukraine’s attempts to join NATO until the issue is solved.

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