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Transborder Hungarians on Băsescu’s harsh words

August 15th, 2013

Hungarian commentators in Transylvania paint a gloomy picture of the inter-ethnic landscape in Romania, after President Băsescu called Hungary a hotbed of ethnic instability and threatened to ban Fidesz’s annual summer “Free University”.

At a rally organized by Romanian nationalists, Băsescu – who was until now considered an ally of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán – used harsh words to condemn Hungarian politicians and their minority partners, after extreme right Jobbik leader Gábor Vona declared that Hungary may get into ’conflicts’ with Romania, and László Tőkés, a political partner of Viktor Orbán, said minority Hungarians should call for a protective mandate of Hungary over beyond-border ethnic Hungarians. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, a political opponent of Băsescu, called his statement ’worse than the worst of Vona’. (See Budapost August 14)

Adorján Páva in the regional paper Krónika, covering mostly Szekler inhabited areas in Transylvania, says Băsescu’s attempt to court Romanian nationalists will backfire. The Romanian president enjoyed the backing of Szekler voters at the last elections and was considered a moderate by ethnic Hungarians. The price he will pay for this campaign, Páva says, will become apparent when Szekler votes are counted.

Attila Ambrus in the moderate Új Magyar Szó says what looked like the usual “storm in the chamber pot” has turned into a more frightening vision with Băsescu’s announcement. Gábor Vona gave Romanian nationalists what they want most, a pretext to attack the Hungarian government as well as minority Hungarian organizations. However, Băsescu went beyond the usual claptrap to appear more nationalist than the nationalists and declared that Hungary is “a source of instability” in the region while Romania is ready to head a coalition to discipline Hungarian politicians.  If the President has a new regional “Entente” in mind, Ambrus writes, then history is about to take a turn for the worse, towards the “ugly plague” of nationalism.

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