According to Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, Hungary is ready to “re-button its waistcoat” with regard to Hungarian-Romanian inter-governmental relations. Mr. Semjén spoke about this In his opening speech at the Congress of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) on Saturday in Zilah (Zalău), speaking also to Chairman of the governing Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea, who was also present at the meeting.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that Hungarian-Slovakian and Hungarian-Serbian relations were no less difficult than Hungarian-Romanian relations, but Hungary has nevertheless succeeded in developing fruitful relations with both Serbia and Slovakia. “If the Hungarians and Serbs, and the Hungarians and Slovakians are capable of doing it, when why couldn’t the Hungarians and Romanians do so?!”, he declared, adding that Hungary has an interest in the development of the best possible relationship between Romania and the countries of the Visegrád Group (V4).

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“Romania and Hungary are destined to cooperate”, Mr. Semjén declared. However, the Deputy Prime Minister called on the Romanian participants of the Congress to ask Romanian citizens who had emigrated to Western European countries whether these countries had been damaged by affording autonomy to the native minorities living on their territory. “In places where the autonomy of minority communities has been realised, everyone has benefited”, he added, declaring that “If Transylvanian Hungarians were to accept that they do not have a right to autonomy they would be accepting the fact that they are second-rate citizens of Europe”.

Mr. Semjén asked our ‘Romanian friends” to re-read the 1918 Gyulafehérvér Declaration on the union of Romania and Transylvania and to realise everything that Transylvanian Romanians set down in the document.

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The Deputy Prime Minister congratulated the RMDSZ on its coalition with the Hungarian Civic Party (MPP) and on the strengthening represented by the results of last years elections, adding that in his opinion all that is happening with the RMDSZ and the Hungarians minority in Transylvania is affecting the whole of the Carpathian Basin. Mr. Semjén also congratulated the party on having also become active in the international arena. He promised that Hungary and every part of the Hungarians nation would be contributing its share to collecting the one million signatures required to realise the European civic initiative launched by Minority SafePack, adding that Transylvania would also not be left out of the economic development programme that the Hungarian Government has launched in Subcarpathia and Serbia.

Mr. Semjén objected to the fact that in recent years “the cutting back of acquired rights” has been occurring in Romania, citing the termination of the process of returning church and community property that was nationalised by the communist regime, the perpetual infringements at the University of Medicine and Pharmacology in Marosvásárhely (Tîrgu Mureș), the official proceedings against the city’s Roman Catholic High School, and the cases of Hungarian local musicality leaders being harassed in the name of the fight against corruption.

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“It is clear that behind the legal façade lies intimidation” the Deputy Prime Minister declared, adding that the fight against corruption is important, but in Romania this fight is being abused.