According to Péter Szijjártó, it would be useful to both Romania and Hungary if they were to forge closer relations, and Central Europe would also become stronger as a result. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade spoke about this in Arad, Romania, at a joint press conference with President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) Hunor Kelemen on Monday morning.

Mr. Szijjártó said that in his opinion “positive gestures towards Transylvanian Hungarians could reinforce relations between the two counties and their role in Central Europe”. “Hungary regards the Romanian community living on its territory as an important resource, and is continuously introducing measures to reinforce them”, he stated. “This is what we would also expect from the Romanian political leadership with relation to the Hungarian national community living in Transylvania”, he added.

“The Hungarian party would like the Romanian government to refrain from hindering and postponing the expert negotiations initiated by the Hungarian side with relation to the case of the military cemetery in Úzölgy (Valea Uzului), which has caused major tensions in the recent period, and for it to delegate a suitable partner to these talks”, he declared.

“We particularly expect the Romanian government to prevent further acts of provocation”, the Minister said, referring to the commemoration in Úzvölgy planned by Romanian nationalist organisations for 25 October.

“It would represent a major step forward in bilateral relations if both the returning of Hungarian assets nationalised by the communist Romanian dictatorship and the establishment of the Hungarian department at the University of Medicine and Pharmacology in Târgu Mureș (Marosvásárhely) were to go ahead in accordance with Romanian law”, he added.

Mr. Szijjártó said the third phase of the Hungarian Government’s Transylvanian Economic Development Programme, during the course of which 5291 tender applications were submitted and a total of 21.5 billion forints (EUR 64.5 million) in development funding was requested, had been a great success. “In view of this success, Hunor Kelemen and I have agreed that we will be launching the next phase of the Programme to coincide with the 4th Partium conference in November. Until then we will have developed the economic development concept that will clearly define the fields with respect to which the tenders will be published”, the Minister announced.

“More efficient and closer Romanian-Hungarian cooperation would be extremely welcome now in view of the fact that Central Europe is playing an increasingly important role in Europe, and both countries would profit from it”, the Minister added.

In reply to a question from the press, Mr. Szijjártó said: “If Hungary succeeded in establishing a historic, friendly relationship with Serbia, and if it succeeded in normalising its relations with Slovakia, then it should also be able to succeed in doing so with Romania”.

The Minister declined to comment on the fact that Romanian MEPs have proposed that the posts of European Commissioner earmarked for Hungary and Romania be exchanged. He noted, however, that he regards the rejection of Romanian and Hungarian candidates for the post of EU Commissioner on a political basis to be “outrageous and a mockery of European democracy”.

President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) Hunor Kelemen said the parties use every single visit by Péter Szijjártó as an opportunity to review the status of the Hungarian community living in Romania.

According to the politician, the challenges faced by Transylvanian Hungarians will not be changing significantly in the upcoming years. “We also want a better country; a country in which our community, our language and our culture are respected, and in which we also respect the majority, and try to build a better future together”, Mr. Kelemen said.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)