Outrage in Hungary over Romanian PM’s remark

Recent remarks by Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose concerning Hungarian autonomy efforts are “completely unacceptable and incompatible with European values and the 21st century”, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday. Hungarian parties also expressed their indignation.

Commenting on a joint statement of three parties of ethnic Hungarians pledging cooperation in their efforts for autonomy, the news site dcnews.ro cites the Romanian prime minister Mihai Tudose as saying: “My answer is the same as on any occasion … when they tried to fly their flag. If that flag ends up flapping in the wind, those responsible will also sway up there right next to it.” Tudose was referring to the flag of the Szeklers (or Székelys) a subgroup of Hungarians living in Transylvania.

The Romanian ambassador in Budapest has been summoned to the foreign ministry in connection with the remarks, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto  said at his press conference. In the interest of ethnic Hungarian communities in Romania, the Hungarian government has always tried to build Hungarian-Romanian bilateral relations founded on mutual trust, Szijjarto told a press conference. This has been met with various degrees of reciprocity by the various Romanian governments, he added.

It is beyond doubt that the recent remarks by the Romanian prime minister which involved “basically threatening a national community and its representatives with execution are completely unacceptable,” he added. It is “beyond question” that the Romanian government and the prime minister must work to resolve the situation immediately, Szijjarto said. The Romanian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry on Friday morning and the deputy minister “made the Hungarian government’s position clear to him”. The ambassador tried to present “a kind of linguistic explanation” of the remarks, Szijjarto added.

The ruling Fidesz party’s communications director Balazs Hidveghi said in a statement that Tudose’s words “cross every line, are unprecedented in European politics and are forever etched into the soul and memory of all Hungarians”, adding that an immediate apology “would be the minimum”.

Opposition parties also expressed their indignation. Peter Ungar, green LMP’s board member, called Tudose’s statement “outrageous” and called on the Hungarian foreign minister to use all diplomatic means to extract an apology from Tudose. Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi labeled Tudose’s remarks “absolutely unacceptable”, and MSZP-president Gyula Molnar said that a politician who speaks about hanging the representatives of national minorities, has no place in European public sphere.

Jobbik lawmaker Istvan Szavay spoke at a press conference in front of the Romanian embassy, wearing a rope around his neck and holding a Szekler flag. The strongest opposition party’s politician said he expects the Hungarian government, the European Union and the Hungarian Socialist Party – the Romanian ruling party’s Hungarian partner – to act as firmly as possible. “This shows that Romania is preparing with the darkest, most primitive chauvinistic incitement for this December, the 100th anniversary of Transylvania’s disengagement by Romania”, he said. Szavay reminded that Jobbik has repeatedly asked the government to do something against Bucharest’s propaganda, but their warnings went unheard.

Szávay Szavay
Jobbik lawmaker Istvan Szavay with a rope around his neck, holding the Szekler/Székely flag

Source: MTI/Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

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