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Romanian President’s remarks deemed anti-Hungarian

May 4th, 2020

Commentators on Right and Left alike criticize Romanian President Iohannis for accusing the Romanian opposition of selling out Transylvania to Hungarians and Hungary.

On Wednesday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis accused the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD), the biggest fraction in the lower House of ‘secretly trying to give Transylvania back to Hungarians’ after the lower House failed to schedule a vote on the Szekler Territorial Autonomy bill. According to Romanian law, bills that are not voted on within 45 days after their presentation are automatically considered as approved. The bill has since been rejected by the Romanian Senate.

In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Bereczki calls President Iohannis’ statement ‘stupid and harmful’. Berecki recalls that Transylvania has been a multicultural and multireligious region since the Middle Ages, and was the place where religious tolerance was first recognized in Europe. Berecki finds it particularly sad that President Iohannis made a harsh anti-Hungarian nationalist statement despite his own (German) minority origin.  He adds that President Iohannis’ accusations insult Romanians as well, since the President spoke on their behalf.

Népszava’s Mária Gál also interprets President Iohannis’ words as the most radical anti-Hungarian statement by a Romanian leader since the end of the Ceausescu regime. The left-wing columnist recalls that President Iohannis also suggested that the PDS may have had a clandestine deal with Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán. Gál points out that threats over the loss of territorial integrity are inflammatory in Romania. In conclusion, she writes that President Iohannis’ words amount to nationalist hate-mongering that the EU should not tolerate.

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