Commentators find Romanian accusations against Hungary out of proportion with the controversial statements made by Hungarian politicians in Transylvania. A left-liberal columnist thinks even far right Jobbik leader Vona should not be denied the right to travel to and speak in Romania. A pro-government columnist, on the other hand, finds Romanian President Traian Băsescu’s attack on Fidesz, a former international ally, a breach of trust that only serves Băsescu’s presidential campaign.
Romanian-Hungarian relations have sunk to a record low with President Traian Băsescu’s remark that Hungary is a hotbed of instability in ethnic issues, and Romania will take the lead in disciplining her (see BudaPost, August 13). He also announced that Fidesz’s annual “Free Summer University” in Transylvania (See BudaPost July 30 and 31) will be banned “if it is held in the same fashion” as this year’s event. In a low key reaction, a backbencher Fidesz MP said even when controversial issues are on the table, Fidesz always seeks fair discussion and compromise. Earlier, Jobbik leader Gábor Vona provoked a wave of anger in the Romanian press by telling a radical youth gathering in Transylvania that Hungary should raise the border issue in international fora.
In his Népszabadság opinion column, Sándor Révész condemns Bogdan Diaconu,”a consistently anti-Hungarian MP” who used the opportunity provided by Vona to demand an entry ban for foreigners “who offend Romania”. Following Diaconu, he continues, the President, “Viktor Orbán’s chum, for whom the Hungarian Prime Minister readily mobilised his faithful in Transylvania, to ensure his (Basescu’s) re-election”, also promised “to end the freedom of assembly and speech for Hungarians in Romania”, Révész comments on the president’s threat to ban the “Summer University.” Even if the summer camps in question are “not to our taste”, he argues, basic liberties are at stake. This threat will not go away until Prime Minister Victor Ponta reins in the more extremist members of his party – or the EU has enough verve “to curb national sovereignty”.
In Magyar Hírlap, Zsolt Bayer calls Băsescu’s interpretation of the Fidesz summer camp a sign that he needs to increase his popularity with voters in the upcoming election campaign. Bayer admits that it was “unfortunate” of MEP László Tőkés to say in the summer camp that Hungarians in Romania want Hungary to assume the role of a protective power over them, but points out that the “Free University” where Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán is a regular visitor and speaker has nothing to do with the camp Vona attended. Romania is “prone to hysteria”, says Bayer, who remarks how he was once banned from Romania for six months for mentioning European examples of ethnic autonomy. What is important here, he argues, is not so much the usual Romanian paranoia but the fact that Traian Băsescu “broke the tacit pact” with Viktor Orbán in order to “garner some applause and a slap on the back from his folks”. Băsescu may have turned his back on his previous “refreshing” attitude and made threats, but he is not going to discipline anyone, concludes Bayer defiantly: “Szekler autonomy is in the air”.