Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said in an interview earlier this day that the social democrats (PSD) want to give Transylvania back to Hungary and asked PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu what Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán promised them in return. Hungarian FM Péter Szijjártó replied that President Iohannis should show more respect to Hungarians. The reason for the whole issue is almost falling in the category of tragicomedy. Details below.
Hungarians living in Romania (mostly in Transylvania) already know that the Romanian political elite uses them and the fight for their rights in their domestic skirmish. However, Klaus Iohannis’s yesterday assertions are unique since he is the acting president of the country. To start with, he is a national liberal politician who was reelected in 2019, but he does not have a parliament majority which belongs to the social democrats. Even though polls suggest that PSD would not gain a majority again in the Romanian parliament, they were not able to hold an early parliamentary election yet. Therefore, he uses every opportunity to slam PSD.
It happened the day before yesterday that the chamber approved a draft law of deputies because the body was not able to discuss it in time. The “problem” was that it was the autonomy statute of the so-called
Szeklerland which is a region in Central-Romania where almost 700 thousand Hungarians live in a block
but official Romania does not acknowledge it. Leaders of the PSD immediately cleared that they would not support it in the Senate so it will be killed in short. However, the Romanian president pounced the issue immediately.
Klaus Iohannis said in an interview that the Romanian social democrats “are fighting to hand over Transylvania to the Hungarians.” Iohannis then raised the question of what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban “could have offered in exchange for an agreement.” He added that while they fight against the coronavirus epidemic, PSD would like to give Transylvania to the Hungarians – transindex.ro reported. Moreover, he cleared that during his presidency
such a law granting autonomy to Szeklerland will never be accepted.
It seems that Iohannis was not bothered by the fact that Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the PSD told early Tuesday to the press that they will not accept the bill in the Senate and for that they called together an emergency sitting.
Ciolacu kept his promise since the upper house of the Romanian parliament rejected the draft law on Wednesday – infostart.hu says.
However, Iohannis’s assertions caused diplomatic troubles between the two countries. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that the
Romanian president should “show more respect to Hungarians.”
He added that the president’s comments were “particularly uncivilised and could incite hatred.” Furthermore, he cleared that Hungary’s interests lie in nurturing good relations with Romania, he said, arguing that the two countries were important economic partners. Transylvania and Szeklerland Hungarians also have a vested interest in good relations between the two countries – he said but highlighted that recent comments from certain Romanian politicians “make it hard to maintain good neighbourly relations.“
Source: MTI, infostart.hu, transindex.ro