THE COVASNA – HARGHITA CENTER FOR EUROPEAN STUDIES
Ioan Lăcătuşu, PhD
A FALSE “REFERENDUM” FOR GAINING AN ALREADY EXISTING AUTONOMY
Eurocarpatica Publishing House
Sfântu Gheorghe, 2007
520003 Sf. Gheorghe, jud. Covasna
Str. Miko Imre, Nr. 2
E-mail: cohara_ro @ yahoo.com
Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naţionale a României
A false "referendum" for gaining an already existing autonomy / Ioan Lăcătuşu. - Sfântu-Gheorghe : Eurocarpatica, 2007
TOC \o "1-1" \h \z HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836546" Ioan Lăcătuşu, PhD PAGEREF _Toc182836546 \h 3
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836547" I. Rationale PAGEREF _Toc182836547 \h 7
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836548" II. A false and meaningless “referendum” PAGEREF _Toc182836548 \h 13
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836549" III. The Already Existing Autonomy in the Counties of Covasna and Harghita PAGEREF _Toc182836549 \h 20
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836550" IV. The Need for Positive Discrimination towards the Less Numerous Romanian Population in the Region PAGEREF _Toc182836550 \h 28
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836551" V. Arguments against the Ethnic Separatism in the Covasna, Harghita and Mureş Counties PAGEREF _Toc182836551 \h 32
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836552" VI. Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc182836552 \h 38
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836553" VII. Bibliography PAGEREF _Toc182836553 \h 41
HYPERLINK \l "_Toc182836554" VIII. Appendices PAGEREF _Toc182836554 \h 51
Despite the fact that the Romanian system of ethnic minority protection is highly valued by European institutions as an eloquent example of interethnic harmony, some representatives of the Hungarian minority in Romania continue to allege that the rights and liberties of this ethnic minority are consistently infringed by the Romanian authorities. The main sections of the Romanian relevant legislation which serve to dismantle such unfounded accusations are included in Appendix 1.
The leaders of certain unauthorized Hungarian civil associations (such as the National Szeckler Council – CNS or the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania – CNMA) have been seeking, for the last four years, to misinform the European Union and other international organizations with regard to alleged abuses committed by the Romanian authorities against Hungarian ethnics.
This paper is intended as an objective account of the main actions taken under the guidance of CNS and CNMA starting with December 2006, directed at initiating, organizing and carrying out, in Covasna, Harghita and the south-eastern part of the Mureş county, what was presumptuously called a “referendum for the autonomy of the Szeckler Land”, i.e. a false “referendum” aimed at gaining an autonomy which already exists “de facto” in the aforementioned counties. We should mention that the “Szeckler Land” does not exist as an administrative-territorial entity of Romania, being assimilated, in CNS’s view, to the region encompassing the Covasna and Harghita counties and the south-eastern part of the Mureş county.
The counties of Covasna, Harghita and partly Mureş are located within the Carpathian Arch, at the origin of the Mureş and Olt rivers. By virtue of its geographical location, this region has played an important part throughout history, as it lies at the crossroads between South-Eastern Transylvania on the one hand and Moldova and Muntenia on the other hand, connecting them through the Eastern Carpathians’ gorges. Due to this geographical location, South-Eastern Transylvania has always been an area of cultural and demographic interchange and confluence. Since ancient times, the local communities’ life has been marked by the powerful ties among the three Romanian provinces and, from a broader perspective, among the Carpathian Basin, the Balkan-Danube area and the Northern Black Sea region.
The Covasna county extends over 3709,8 km2 (1,6% of the country’s surface area), being the 39th county in size, while the Harghita county extends over 6639 km2 (2,78% of the country’s surface area), holding the 13th place in terms of size. Harghita and Covasna are the only counties in Romania where Hungarian ethnics represent the majority population, according to the results of the 2002 census. Covasna’s total population reaches 222.274 individuals (the smallest county in Romania in terms of the number of residents), out of which 51.664 are Romanian nationals (23,2%) and 164.055 are Hungarian ethnics (73,8%). The total population of the Harghita county numbers 326.020 individuals, 45.850 of whom are Romanians (14,06%) and 275.841 Hungarian ethnics (84,57%). The 439.896 Hungarian ethnics in the two counties - according to the 2002 figures - stand for a third of the total Hungarian population in Romania, which reaches 1.434.377 individuals (the 2002 Population and Housing Census).
To understand the development of this phenomenon, we need to consider the climatic conditions in the area covered by the two counties (part of the western half of the Eastern Carpathians and the eastern half of the Transylvania Depression), as well as the historical time, following the Szecklers’ settlement in front of the Carpathian gorges (XII/XIII centuries). During the last centuries, given the distinctive conditions in the Covasna and Harghita counties, we have witnessed an extensive process of assimilation of the Romanian population by the Szeckler and Hungarian communities. This undeniable fact was made clear by the results of population and confessional censuses.
The assimilation of the Romanians by the Szeckler ethnic minority was a century-long, natural, peaceful and slow process. However, there were also ethnic and confessional pressures and constraints. The Hungarian assimilation process, on the other hand, was enforced at times by violent means, by forcing the Hungarian-speaking Romanians in the mixed-population villages to adopt Hungarian-like religious beliefs. This process was planned and implemented by policy-makers, starting with the second half of the XIXth century.
However, the current nationality structure of the three counties is by no means that of a single Hungarian ethnic block. According to the 2002 population census, in the counties of Covasna, Harghita and Mureş, the Romanians make up 36% of the total population, the German and Roma communities reach 5%, while the Hungarians represent only 59% of the total number. Contrary to this demographic reality, Hungarian leaders are set to gain autonomy on ethnic grounds, ignoring the position and interests of the non-Hungarian population in the region.
This paper is intended to explain the difference between de jure autonomy on ethnic grounds, which is the goal of Hungarian leaders in Romania, and the actual autonomy of the Covasna and Harghita counties, which has already been achieved under its most important aspects (administrative, cultural, economic, etc.). The current legal framework in Romania fully guarantees the protection of national minorities, allowing Hungarians to freely exercise their educational and cultural identity rights, at standards above the European level. All decision-making positions in the county councils, local councils, town halls, prefects’ offices, deconcentrated services in the field of education, culture, etc. are held exclusively by national minorities representatives; at a national level, UDMR is part of the governing coalition and its president, in his capacity as deputy prime minister between 2004 and 2007, coordinated the fields of education, culture and European integration. The party is also represented, at a decision-making level, in other state institutions.
In the Covasna and Harghita counties, where the Hungarians make up the majority group, it is the Romanian population who is denied access to the decision-making process, is deprived of any advantages and is the object of discrimination. Therefore, a legal framework ensuring protection against such factors is needed for the Romanian nationals, who represent a regional minority group subject to discrimination and marginalization on Romanian territory. The less numerous Romanian population living in Covasna and Harghita is de facto confronted with all the disadvantages of a minority group, without enjoying de jure the benefits of the legal status granted to national, religious, sexual or other minorities.
The following sections will introduce the reader to a few vital aspects that define the socio-political reality in South-Eastern Transylvania.
II. A false and meaningless “referendum”
The “referendum” was conducted for more than 9 months, because CNS’s leaders were unable to gather sooner half plus one of the signatures of rightful voters in Covasna, Harghita and South-Eastern Mureş. It is noticeably the first time in the history of a democratic country when the beginning and end of a consultative process are uncertain.
This paper is intended to prove that CNS’s action does not fit into any relevant theory or scientific practice and violates all legal and sociological principles, as demonstrated by the following arguments:
1. The “referendum” is null and void in accordance with our country’s legal framework, i.e. the Romanian Constitution and Law no. 3/2000 regulating the organization of referendums in Romania;
- Art. 148 of the Constitution stipulates: “Limits of Constitution revision”:
(1) The provisions of this Constitution with regard to the national, independent, unitary and indivisible nature of the Romanian State, the republican form of government, territorial integrity, independence of justice, political pluralism and official language shall not be subject to revision.
(2) Likewise, no revision shall be made if it results in the suppression of the citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties, or of the safeguards thereof.
- Art. 3 of the Referendum Law (3/2000) stipulates: “the issues that, according to Art. 148 of the Constitution, cannot be subject to revision shall not be brought to a referendum”.
2. From a sociological point of view, the above-mentioned initiative cannot even be considered a poll, as it infringes the most elementary norms accepted by experts in the field:
- no representative sample was used in the “implementation of the survey”;
- only the “mobile ballot box” was used for collecting the votes;
- the closing date for collecting the votes was extended several times in order to achieve the desired goal, i.e. gathering half plus one of the signatures of the total number of rightful voters in the three counties;
- voting secrecy was not ensured; moreover, votes were clearly biased due to the fact that the question was asked directly by a CNS representative;
- the action was conducted in the absence of impartial persons (“observers”) representing national or foreign non-governmental organizations;
- the results were collected, centralized and interpreted only by CNS members, which radically impacted on the objectivity of the action’s final outcome;
- during the entire process, the organizers avoided approaching Romanian nationals, in order to rule out negative results; moreover, many of the “ballots” that did not favor autonomy were discarded (not counted).
Our point of view is also confirmed by the public stand taken by the European Center of Ethnic Studies and the Institute of Sociology (organizations established under the aegis of the Romanian Academy), which is quoted below:
The Romanian Academy’s European Center of Ethnic Studies and Institute of Sociology wish to point out a number of shortcomings identified in the voting process for the autonomy of the so-called “Szeckler Land”:
From a constitutional perspective:
- The referendum is a state matter, regulated by special laws and by a strict deontology. Like any other state matter, the referendum cannot be organized by a non-State entity and without due consideration to all specific prerogatives. Any individual who organizes a referendum outside the authority of the State can be held accountable for endangering the very integrity of the State;
- A government that accepts the interference with a state matter in any way other than the ones stipulated in the Constitution and in national laws is itself guilty of abetting an action directed against the State and which violates the main contract based on collective will: the Constitution.
From the perspective of lawfulness and reliability of the data collected (of the “signatures” gathered):
- The problem raised by CNS is unlawful, as the concept of local autonomy on ethnic grounds in unconstitutional;
- The procedure initiated by CNS does not comply with the basic legal principle according to which all evidence collected outside the legal framework cannot be formally used;
- Claiming that the referendum was only consultative in nature is absurd. If it is a referendum, it is legally binding; if not, it is an opinion poll at the most. Neither the administrative, nor the scientific conditions in which the data were collected are reliable, due to the informal “moral” pressures that were inflicted on the subjects by means of a quasi-political and media campaign centered exclusively on the need for regional autonomy. It is hard to say if and how the message got across to the population, particularly in the rural areas.
From a historical, political and ethnic perspective:
- This “referendum” is meaningless, since the underlying claim that the Hungarian minority is not granted its constitutional rights is unfounded; the Hungarian minority is entitled to fully exercise its liberties, in the sense that “it has the right to use its own language in the field of education, administration and justice”, it is “represented in the lawmaking bodies and in the country’s government”, and its political weight often sways the domestic political balance. If we analyze the structure of the local governments, we notice that they are almost exclusively controlled by Hungarian ethnics, even when, under the law, the Romanian population should also be represented in such bodies, thus depriving the latter of a right stipulated in the Resolution of December 1, 1918.
- At the same time, the recurrent references made by the “referendum” organizers to the Alba Iulia Declaration (Resolution) – which is the basis of the Romanian modern State – contradict their public statements according to which they are not willing to recognize the founding principle of the Romanian State, i.e. its national, unitary and indivisible nature;
- With regard to the object of the “referendum” – Hungarian autonomy – we notice a tendency to excessively promote an identification between the “Szeckler minority” and the “Hungarian local community”, which is inaccurate and, in fact, poses a threat to Szeckler cultural identity;
- Ethnic-based autonomy would be tantamount to confirming the status of socially, economically and politically discarded minority of the Romanian local population, particularly since the “referendum” did not take account of its point of view.
From an economic perspective:
- This action promotes the myth of the Szeckler community as a “little Switzerland” that “should be permitted to flaunt its true value”.
The area in question is one of the country’s poorest regions, which means that autonomy would be de facto supported by other regions. The “economic emancipation” myth is, therefore, based on a politically incorrect line of reasoning, when, in fact, the promoters of autonomy on ethnic grounds are completely indifferent to the overall social and economic problems affecting Romania. The economic view of ethnic autonomy is centered on the “undervalued” local potential. However, it is unclear why this potential could not be properly exploited, given that Hungarian interests are all too well represented at the level of local governments.
From a geopolitical perspective:
- The new post ‘90s international relations model shows that, where there are no particular tensions between ethnic groups etc., regional autonomy generates conflicting communities, by accentuating the existing differences. The new rights granted will not put an end to the demands directed at the center, and the situation could gradually escalate to serious threats against the State, usually in favor of other state structures (newly created or foreign).
The Romanian civil society’s point of view was expressed in the Statement of the Romanian Civic Forum of Harghita and Covasna, of February 6, 2007, signed by the Forum’s president, lawyer Ioan Solomon.
“On the issue of the so-called “referendum” planned by the Hungarian Civic Union and the National Szeckler Council to take place between 10 and 18 of February, in the Sfântu Gheorghe area, the Executive Board of the Romanian Civic Forum of Harghita and Covasna believes that this initiative is a stark violation of the Constitution and of the national and European legislation, instigating to territorial separatism on ethnic grounds and altering interethnic relations. (…) As Romanian citizens directly affected by these unconstitutional actions, we ask the Romanian State authorities to take a strong, resolute public stand against such separatist initiatives, which pose a new threat to regional and nationwide interethnic relations.”
III. The Already Existing Autonomy in the Counties of Covasna and Harghita
In Romania, the rights of ethnic minorities are guaranteed in line with EU standards. According to the Constitution and the relevant legislation, minorities are granted: the use of their mother tongue at all levels of education, as well as in administration and justice; political, administrative and parliamentary representation; support for religious groups; restitution of the properties seized by the communist authorities; fostering of minority cultures and traditions. All these rights are unanimously recognized and have long been put into effect.
In line with the European legislation and practices, the new public administration principles enforced in Romania provide for the decentralization and assignment of increased competences to local governments. According to the new regulations, local public authorities can now manage more resources than in the past, resources that had been previously managed by the central government. Likewise, local authorities in Romania now have broad competences as far as the activities of their various sub-systems are concerned, mainly targeted at the field of culture and education.
Apart from the constitutional provisions governing the minorities’ right to education in their mother tongue, public expenditure on education, as well as the organization of the education system are regulated by the Education Act, by government decisions and minister’s orders. All these acts include special articles guaranteeing the right to education in the minorities’ mother tongue at all levels (preschool, elementary, secondary, vocational, or higher education). Universities and postgraduate institutions have departments and sections where education is imparted in the ethnic minorities’ mother tongue, subject to individual options.
In the counties of Covasna, Harghita and partly Mureş, by separating schools on ethnic criteria during the 1989/1990 school year - with a dramatic effect on both teachers and students (“it es most – here and now”) - a Hungarian-language education system was created, covering all levels, from preschool to higher and postgraduate education (Appendix no. 2).
Unfortunately, the education process in most of these schools is noticeably ethnocentric. Many of the graduates of such schools where education is imparted in Hungarian, despite their high qualifications in Romanian language, do not have the minimum knowledge required for sustaining a general conversation in the official language of the country where they reside as citizens.
In line with the European legislation and practices, Romania defends the right of minority citizens to express their specific character and to develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs. Hungarian ethnics are allowed to freely express, maintain and develop their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity and to preserve and develop their culture under all aspects.
The Hungarian minority has its own cultural institutions – theaters, museums, libraries, cultural centers. The State is actively involved in financing their activities, publishing newspapers and books and broadcasting Hungarian radio and TV programs. The counties of Covasna and Harghita have numerous Hungarian public or private cultural institutions (Appendix no. 3).
Most of these institutions were also founded in 1990, as a result of ethnic-based separation. The county, municipal and town museums became Szeckler museums, changing not only their names, but also the structure of their patrimony, staff and research programs. The same thing happened to the two professional folk ensembles of Covasna and Harghita, which became, by unilateral decision, “Szeckler state ensembles”. Cultural centers, as well as county, municipal and town libraries in the two counties are in a similar situation.
In full compliance with the provisions of international documents, Romania guarantees the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Religious groups are free to choose their leaders and to appoint their clergy and lay staff, with no state interference. Specific instruction is provided in the theological schools, faculties and institutes of religious groups. The parishioners’ mother tongue can be used in the various confessional manifestations.
As a result, the Church became one of the main pillars of the existing autonomy in South-Eastern Transylvania. All Hungarian churches, be they Roman Catholic, Reformed, Unitarian or Evangelical, regained their patrimony, which had been nationalized by the communist authorities, and benefited from the support of the Romanian State, like all other religious groups established under the law.
A major redress action of a truly historical value was the restitution of over one million hectares of land and of a number of important buildings to the Hungarian ethnics, churches, confessional schools and community associations. However, the significance of this action was not properly valued, as it failed to measure up to the political idea that generated it and was perceived as a meaningless political transaction.
Other important indicators of the Hungarian autonomy in the counties of Covasna and Harghita are: the numerous publishing and printing houses, the dense network of bookshops (most of which are local branches of Hungarian bookshops), stores and newsagent stands (supplied by means of a specially created structure), and the network of shops selling craft objects and Hungarian traditional items.
Hungarian-language media include, apart from the written press, a significant number of local and regional radio and TV stations, as well as programs of Hungarian radio and TV stations, including those broadcast by DUNA TV (Appendix no. 4). Cable companies started to translate into Hungarian the programs of the main international TV channels. Unfortunately, this is yet another situation when part of the local Hungarian-language press is engaged into an ethnocentric discourse and takes an aggressive stand on identity issues, which leads to intolerance and discrimination against Romanian ethnics.
Many of the objectives of ethnic-based autonomy in the counties of Covasna and Harghita are put into practice by the Hungarian-speaking civil society, by the numerous civic, cultural, sports, travel associations, etc. In 2004, there were 1443 NGOs only in Harghita, out of which 1025 operated in the field of economic development, tourism, sport and society, 381 focused on Hungarian identity issues, 12 on Romanian identity issues and 25 promoted multiculturalism. All of them receive constant and substantial funding from local councils, the Romanian Government, the Hungarian Government and the Hungarian diaspora in Western countries. Only a few of the Hungarian associations and foundations advocate multiculturalism and interethnic dialogue. Most of them boast generous objectives of an educational, cultural and religious nature, formally justified by the need to preserve national traditions and specificity, but destined, in fact, to strengthen the status of the local Hungarian minority as part of the Hungarian nation and to gain autonomy under its various forms – individual, cultural, administrative and, in the end, territorial.
Using a strategy of symbolic control over the public space, designed by Hungarian leaders and other experts in the field, the Hungarian local authorities built over 300 monuments, memorial plaques (written only in Hungarian), crucifixes and other symbols marking the 1000-year commemoration of the Hungarian State and 1100 years since the Hungarian settlement in Transylvania.
The involvement of national minorities in general and of the Hungarian ethnic group in particular in political life and in local and regional government is another undeniable fact. Ever since the first parliamentary elections on September 27, 1992, the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) has constantly obtained seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, establishing its own parliamentary group. The deputies and senators representing the Hungarian minority are part of the leadership structure of the two parliamentary chambers. UDMR politicians held important ministerial positions in various governments, including the minister of state position (deputy prime minister in the 2005-2007 term of office) and controlled several national agencies.
After December 1989, the local public government was organized based on the principles of local autonomy, election of local public authorities, decentralization of public services and citizens’ consultation on issues of major local interest. The Local Public Administration Act set forth a number of actions meant to implement the local autonomy principle. As provided by the law, “the public administration authorities responsible for the implementation of local autonomy in rural communities and towns are the local councils as deliberative authorities and the mayors as executive authorities”. The law further stipulates that each county shall elect a county council, the basic function of which would be “to coordinate the activities of local councils which are meant to ensure that public services are responsive to the needs of the community”. Following the 2004 elections, Hungarian ethnics are represented in the local public administration bodies as described in Appendix no. 5.
Fully benefiting from the Romanian State’s policy focused on decentralization and increased local autonomy, County and Local Councils in Covasna and Harghita, established and run by members of Hungarian parties and ethnic organizations (UDMR, UCM, etc.), ensure the implementation of autonomy which, under the specific demographic and political conditions in the region, inevitably acquires ethnic connotations.
The ethnic origin of councilors, mayors and deputy mayors of most towns and villages in the two counties clearly demonstrates that local power is practically concentrated in the hands of the Hungarian ethnics, while the Romanians are not represented in the Local Councils of multiethnic towns and villages and, therefore, are not able to advance and promote their own interests and identity values.
As a result, a number of mechanisms and institutions were rendered operational in the aforementioned counties, leading to the implementation and strengthening of an “autonomous territorial structure able to carry out political, social and economic activities without maintaining any significant ties with Bucharest”.
All these considerations conclusively indicate that, in the counties of Covasna and Harghita, ethnic-based autonomy is a fact and, given the increased autonomy and decentralization process, is likely to result in the establishment of an ethnic enclave, unless the Romanian State finds a way to put an end to such evolution. “Actually, the two counties are autonomous, reporting only formally to the central administration” and, therefore, the representatives of the Romanian civil society believe that “in this region, where a stable and ethnically-motivated electorate supports the inevitable grip on power of the Hungarian ethnic party, regardless of any power changes in the country, we can no longer speak of democracy, but of ethnocracy…” (Lăcătuşu, 2004).
The Hungarian local community is a high status ethnic group, a symbolical rather than actual minority, permanently involved in the local apparatus of power, monopolizing all the resources and displaying strong ethnocentric traits. As Hungarian ethnics dominate the local political arena, their need of legal protection is obsolete. It is the Romanian rather than the Hungarian community who is in need of protection in order to preserve its ethnic identity.
IV. The Need for Positive Discrimination towards the Less Numerous Romanian Population in the Region
All the facts described so far clearly show that, in an environment where the local Hungarian minority not only holds a dominant political position, but also plays leading economic and cultural roles, the provision of special legal protection is no longer required. Under these circumstances, the Romanians are those in need of protection in order to preserve and assert their ethnic identity, and not the Hungarians, in the counties where the latter are the most numerous.
The sociological studies conducted in the region indicate an identity split caused by the manner in which the simultaneous majority/minority status is actually assumed. The Romanian population, the most numerous in Romania, has a minority status in the counties of Covasna and Harghita and is under strong pressure given the autonomist tendency displayed across the Hungarian society.
Irrespective of the conditions imposed by actual local developments, the steps taken by the Hungarian leaders have followed two complementary lines: the exploitation of the administrative decentralization process in order to gain control over several important social fields in those two counties where the Hungarians are the most numerous ethnic group; the initiation of a process of assimilation of the Romanians by the Hungarians in the region, by means of excluding the Romanians from the local decision-making process and thereby forcing them to leave those counties.
By making the employment in local government positions (as well as in companies) or the settling of Romanians in “The Szekler Land” conditional upon their Hungarian language skills, young Romanians and Romanian professionals are prevented from occupying various specialized positions. As a consequence, the gap occurred due to the departure of many Romanian professionals after December 1989 is constantly growing. Against this background, the dissatisfaction, disappointment and lack of perspective of the Romanian population as concerns its present and future status are growing deeper in this area, where the Hungarian monoculture is gaining ground day by day.
If we accept the definition according to which “a minority is a social group whose members consider themselves prejudiced by other groups, i.e. discriminated, segregated or persecuted” and also agree that a minority is not what its name seems to indicate, namely a statistical category, but a social and political one – that is, defined by its status, and not by numbers – an interpenetration between the minority and majority status of individuals or groups in the Covasna – Harghita region can be noticed. To conclude, we consider that the Romanians living in Covasna and Harghita represent a low status majority, an underprivileged community, negatively affected by numerous institutional and de facto discriminatory practices, which might become a “de jure minority” following the transfer of extended administrative, economic, cultural and other responsibilities to local structures.
The lack of an effective protection of the ethnic identity of the Romanians belonging to less numerous communities, alongside an interethnic cohabitation climate opposed to alterity, have perpetuated and increased the sense of frustration and marginalization among the Romanian population in the counties of Covasna and Harghita. The Romanians living in those counties do not enjoy a proper legal, institutional and logistic framework so as to counter by their own capabilities the consequences of the ethnocentric and exclusive policies of the local government, under the permanent administration of UDMR. Although the idea of a unitary strategy on issues related to the preservation of the linguistic, cultural and religious identity has been unanimously accepted of late, things have not progressed beyond the initial emotional approach. In drawing up this strategy, no proper way has been found to implement the provisions of the Explanatory Memorandum of the Recommendation 1201 issued by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, which states that “the rights protected by this protocol are relevant to all, including to a majority ethnic group, in case it constitutes a minority in a region within their country. For example, the Hungarian minority is the most numerous in certain regions of Romania; the Romanians, who are in a minority in these regions, should be protected by the provisions of this protocol.”
The legal framework prepared for this area should have a well-defined juridical configuration, with different approaches for the issues in the counties of Covasna and Harghita. In other words, it should take into account certain political, cultural, social and economic variables that make up a specific communication code between the inhabitants of this region, Romanians and Hungarians, a code required by the reversed majority–minority ratio.
The position of the representatives of the Romanian civil society in Covasna, Harghita and Mureş as to the steps of the Hungarian leaders looking for autonomy on ethnic criteria and, generally, as to the status of the Romanians in these counties, as a result of the reversed majority– inority ratio, has been expressed on various occasions, such as in the Declaration of the representatives of the Romanian population in Covasna, Harghita and Mureş – mayors, deputy mayors, local and county councilors, parliamentarians, clergymen and leaders of civic organizations – adopted during a meeting held at Izvorul Mureşului, in the county of Harghita, on November 18th, 2006 (Appendix no.6).
V. Arguments against the Ethnic Separatism in the Covasna, Harghita and Mureş Counties
The sociological research carried out by the Institute for Geopolitical Studies and the Covasna-Harghita Center for European Studies indicates that the administrative organization on ethnic criteria endangers the cohesion of present-day European states, which is actually meant as an extremely well-integrated system. The idea that the main factor behind the European states' cohesion is the civic-national, and not the ethnic one – the latter having a strong disintegrating or centrifugal potential – is widely accepted.
According to the same research, as sociologist Codrina Şandru specifies, administrative autonomy should by no means be construed in ethnic terms, as modern administration has the same principles wherever it is implemented, and modern sociology, especially due to Max Weber, has clarified the rational and therefore universal nature of modern administration. The application of ethnic criteria in the administrative organization field leads to ethnic cleansing practices, namely to the thesis of the ethnocratic state, the hardest blow that could be dealt to a national state, member of the European Union.
In fact, according to recent studies conducted by the most representative and reliable institutes for public opinion research in Romania, IMAS, GALLUP INTERNATIONAL, METROMEDIA Transilvania, a.o., gaining autonomy of the so-called “Szekler Land” on ethnic criteria is not included among the priorities and expectations of Hungarian ethnics in Romania.
While understanding the legitimate desire of the Hungarians in Transylvania in general, and of those in Covasna and Harghita in particular, to preserve and assert their identity, as well as their concern about future challenges (mainly about the decreasing number of Hungarian ethnics), we will show that the problems encountered by the Hungarians living in Romania are not caused by a lack of autonomy. As a matter of fact, the planned autonomy of the Szekler Land is not meant to gain further rights for Hungarians, but to “establish a territorial foundation for the Hungarian ethnic group”.
The main concern of most Hungarian leaders after December 1989 has been to raise dividing walls between Romanians and Hungarians, and not to build bridges between the two populations. The presence of a party built up on ethnic criteria and that of the “ethnic vote” represents an incentive to ethnic separatism; there is a significant discrepancy between the European-like message of some Hungarian leaders and the ethnocentricity, nationalism and intolerance actually promoted in those two counties. There is a difference between the behavior of Hungarians in the regions where they are in a minority and of those in the counties where they represent the most numerous group.
As in the case of the “Draft law on the status of national minorities”, initiated by the UDMR parliamentary group and not yet finalized, the supporters of the so-called “Szekler Land” autonomy on ethnic criteria devise the future status of ethnic minorities in Romania on several main levels: regulating the rights of individuals belonging to ethnic minorities as collective rights; using the territorial element as basis for the exercise of collective rights; devolving (central and local) state authority responsibilities to structures elected on ethnic criteria.
In a study drawn up by the European Center of Ethnic Studies (C.E.S.P.E.) regarding the Draft law on the status of national minorities, the following considerations are made:
- the principles underlying the draft law are contrary to European practices and recommendations, and to the Constitution of Romania as well. The policy promoted by the European Union focuses on the cultural and linguistic protection of minorities; the word “national’ is constantly avoided in the text of various documents issued by EU institutions, as the rights of individuals belonging to ethnic minorities are not regulated collectively. It is clear that the approach taken by the originators of the draft law is fundamentally different;
- the originators' intention is to regulate the collective rights of ethnic minorities concentrated in certain regions;
- a fundamental issue regarding the interethnic relations in Covasna and Harghita refers to the segregation process – some of the local Hungarians are looking for segregation, while others consider that segregation – for example, in the educational field – is detrimental to them, especially to the very young generation. They see Romanian language skills as required for professional achievements outside the region - where there are limited opportunities for professional development – starting with university studies in Braşov, Bucharest, Cluj, Craiova, etc;
- according to the originators' views on “cultural autonomy”, the Parliament, the Government, the state authorities in general, are to devolve responsibilities to certain structures made up exclusively on ethnic criteria. As per the definition in the said draft, “cultural autonomy” seems to involve a certain political autonomy, which is contrary not only to the provisions of the Constitution, but also to the European regulations referring to ethnic minorities. We are not aware of any other instance in which public authority responsibilities are devolved to community management structures defined on ethnic criteria. The draft introduces political autonomy under the guise of cultural autonomy; considering that organizations of national minorities are invested with public authority, they acquire the basic features of a political authority;
- we revert to the point that European regulations endorse the cultural development of minorities, but also take into account the need to protect the rights of those members of the majority population living in areas where other nationalities are significant in terms of numbers. In our opinion, the practices of the Romanian State regarding the protection and observance of ethnic minorities’ rights ensure an optimum balance between the provisions of the Constitution and European norms and practices. There is no reliable international source claiming that the Romanian legislation does not facilitate the survival, and, moreover, the development of the minorities' identity features;
- we reiterate that several provisions of the draft law may result in creating an environment where national minorities live separately, and the connections between them and the majority are reduced to a minimum. We believe that the culture of the majority population is as important for minorities as the cultural heritage of ethnic minorities is for the majority. In our view, this aspect has been totally ignored by the originators of the draft;
- the social, economic and political developments after 1989 have generated, among other things, a social gap between the members of the majority and those of the minorities. Depending on the actual social and economic circumstances in the regions with multiple ethnic groups and on their numbers, the deepening of this social gap has various negative consequences on the cohabitation of majority and minority groups.
From among the negative consequences of acquiring autonomy on ethnic criteria in the Covasna-Harghita region, the following should be kept in mind:
- the potential unfavorable effects on the Romanians living in Covasna and Harghita from a psychological, social, cultural and human perspective, as they would see themselves abandoned by the Romanian State and considered as inevitable “collateral losses” in the process of joining the European Union;
- the development of possible conflicts between minorities, as well as between members of the minorities and of the majority, conflicts which have not existed so far;
- the need for separation will be ingrained in the mindset of ordinary Hungarians, and this implicitly means the exclusion of the Romanians, their social, economic and cultural marginalization.
While at the community level, a sense of tolerance and cohabitation in terms of similarities and complementarities have prevailed in Covasna, Harghita and Mureş for long periods of time, the political elite, particularly the Hungarian one, has fostered a divergent cultural and political model. This model has been periodically resuscitated and societally reconfigured in the collective mentality by certain political and intellectual Hungarian elites.
For Hungarian leaders, South-Eastern Transylvania, i.e. the counties of Covasna, Harghita and Mureş, represent, as we have already stated, a panidea, a nostalgic area, and, at the same time, “a redoubt”. There are numberless negative reactions expressed by all Romanian political leaders, by intellectuals and by representatives of the civil society as to the autonomy claims made by Hungarian leaders. We illustrate the Romanian political discourse by quoting Emil Boc, the president of the Democratic Party, who stated on December 5, 2005, with reference to the draft law on the status of national minorities, that “other countries are also paying attention to this law with regard to its implications for their own national minorities. Romania should therefore take into account international standards and not transform itself into a testing ground for non-existing rights. I do not feel that we need super-standards as concerns minorities rights”, as “a united Romania and not a divided one” should join the European Union, said Emil Boc.
The community discourse of the Romanian civil society can be found in the Memorandum addressed to the president of Romania and to other political leaders, which specifies that: “this draft law (on the status of national minorities) is in flagrant contradiction with the Romanian Constitution and with international law, as it aims at introducing collective rights and the concept of cultural autonomy in our domestic legislation, though both are not acknowledged by international law; this legislative measure is inconsistent with current European values and trends, which foster multiculturalism and unity despite diversity, and not ethnic separatism and segregation”.
In his turn, the OSCE's High Commissioner for National Minorities, referring to the draft law on the status of national minorities, stated that: “Cultural autonomy is not universally accepted, neither in international law, nor in comparative law. The right to cultural autonomy is not recognized from an international law perspective, and it is not used as a notion in international treaties”.
As an example of the Romanian academic discourse, we quote the conclusions reached following the research carried out by professor Ilie Bădesc, PhD, from the frontier sociology perspective: “Not only that the ethnicity and autonomy-focused actions of UDMR, and of the political elite in Transylvania in general, determine a contraction of the Romanian territory, but they relaunch a frontier process and therefore the frontier phenomenon in a region within the Romanian State.
The cultural model of interethnic relations in Covasna and Harghita is similar to a pyramid, with political, ethnic, administrative leadership structures haunted by separatist and discriminatory aspirations and acts at its top, while the base is made up of people living in harmony with Romanians and other ethnics. This interethnic cohabitation model, indicated by other sociological studies as well, particularly those carried out by the Center of Interethnic Relations Research in Cluj Napoca, may lay the foundation for a future and required normalization of interethnic relations, by means of continuing to promote this cohabitation model and not that of separatism on ethnic criteria.
In a context where the rights of individuals belonging to national minorities are guaranteed by Romania according to EU standards, the Hungarian organizations in Romania (UDMR included) promote sovereignty concepts, under the cover of minorities' rights rhetoric, exceeding EU accepted standards. Ethnic segregational and separatist views are in profound disagreement with the European principles and practices on minorities issues.
In view of the above considerations, we can conclude that we are in the presence of a dummy “referendum”, organized by unauthorized associations led by nostalgic leaders, in order to fulfil a desideratum existing de facto in the counties of Covasna, Harghita and partly Mureş, where Hungarians are the most numerous ethnic group.
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Excerpts from the Romanian Constitution and Ordinary Acts, Stipulating the Rights and Liberties of National Minorities
The Romanian Constitution
Right to identity
(1) The state recognizes and guarantees the rights of the persons belonging to national minorities to the preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.
(2) The protection measures taken by the Romanian State for the preservation, development and expression of identity of the persons belonging to national minorities shall comply with the principles of equality and non-discrimination in relation to the other Romanian citizens.
Right to education
(3) The right of persons belonging to national minorities to learn their mother tongue and their right to be educated in this language are guaranteed; the ways to exercise these rights shall be regulated by law.
Freedom of conscience
(1) Freedom of thought, opinion and religious beliefs shall not be restricted in any form whatsoever. No one shall be compelled to embrace an opinion or religion contrary to his/her own convictions.
(3) All religions shall be free and are organized in accordance with their own statutes, under the terms laid down by law.
(5) Religious cults shall be autonomous from the State and shall enjoy support from it, including the facilitation of religious assistance in the army, in hospitals, prisons, homes and orphanages.
The Local Public Administration Act (no. 215/23.04.2001)
In those territorial-administrative units where citizens belonging to national minorities exceed 20% of the total population, the local governments, the affiliated public institutions and the deconcentrated public services shall ensure also the use of their mother tongue, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, of this law and of the international treaties signed by Romania.
(7) In the villages or towns where a national minority represents over 20% of the total population, the agenda shall be made public also in the mother tongue of the citizens belonging to that minority.
The meetings of the local council are public.
(2) The Romanian language shall be used during the meetings. In those local councils where the local councilors belonging to a national minority represent at least one fifth of the total number, the mother tongue can also be used during the council meetings. In such cases it is the mayor’s responsibility to ensure translation into Romanian. In all cases, the documents related to the council meetings shall be drawn up in Romanian.
In the territorial-administrative units where a national minority exceeds 20% of the total population, the normative decisions shall be made public also in the mother tongue of the citizens belonging to that minority, and the individual ones shall also be communicated, upon request, in their mother tongue.
(2) In the territorial-administrative units where the citizens belonging to a national minority exceed 20% of the total population, they may choose to address orally or in writing in their mother tongue when dealing with the local governments, with the local council and its affiliated bodies, and shall receive an answer both in Romanian and in the respective language.
(3) Under the provisions of paragraph (2), public-relations positions shall be held also by persons who are fluent in the language spoken by the citizens of that minority.
(4) The local governments shall ensure that plates are inscribed with the names of the towns and public institutions and that information of general interest is posted also in the language of the citizens belonging to the respective minority, under the provisions of paragraph (2).
(8) In the counties where citizens belonging to a national minority exceed 20% of the total population, the agenda shall be made public also in the mother tongue of that minority.
The provisions of Article 19, Article 39 (7) and Article 76 (2-4) shall also apply when, after the enforcement of this law, the number of the citizens belonging to a national minority decreases below the percentage mentioned under Article 19.
Education Act (no. 84 of July 24, 1995, republished)
(1) All forms of education shall be imparted in Romanian. Education can also be imparted, under the provisions of this law, in the languages of national minorities, or in other widely used language.
(2) In each town Romanian language educational establishments shall be set up and, if necessary, education shall also be ensured in the languages of national minorities. Otherwise, education in the minorities’ mother tongue shall be provided in the nearest town possible.
(1) Completion of high school education is attested by a graduation certificate, which gives the right to accede, under the provisions of the law, to a post-graduate course, the right to take the national school-leaving examination or the professional examination.
(2) High school graduates also receive the personal portfolio for permanent education and, upon request, a registration certificate.
(3) High school graduates who take and pass the national school-leaving examination also receive the diploma giving them access to higher education, under the provisions of the law.
(4) The national school-leaving examination consists of two or three common tests and three different tests, according to specialization.
The common tests are:
Romanian language and literature, written and oral examination;
One of the modern languages studied during high school;
The minority’s native language, written and oral examination, for the students who studied in that language; a language and literature examination for the students who studied in another widely used language
(2) Children with special educational needs shall be integrated in special educational establishments, in special groups in regular schools and pre-school establishments, or in regular educational establishments, including those where education is imparted in the languages of national minorities.
Education for persons belonging to national minorities
Persons belonging to national minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue at all education levels, and to be included in a form of education for which there is sufficient demand, under the provisions of the law.
(1) According to local needs, groups, sections or schools ensuring education in the language of national minorities can be established on request and under the provisions of the law.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall be applied without prejudice to the education in the official language.
(1) Romanian shall be taught in primary schools using specific curricula and textbooks designed for the respective minority. In secondary schools Romanian language and literature shall be taught based on the same curricula as those used for the Romanian teaching classes and on specific textbooks. In high schools Romanian language and literature shall be taught using the same curricula and textbooks as those used for the Romanian teaching classes.
(2) In primary schools providing education in the languages of national minorities, Romanian History and Geography shall be taught in the respective language using the same textbooks and curricula as those used for the Romanian teaching classes, provided that Romanian toponymy and proper names are transcribed and learned in Romanian. The exams in Romanian History and Geography shall be taken in the language used for teaching them.
(3) The universal history and Romanian history curricula and textbooks shall reflect the history and traditions of the national minorities in Romania.
(4) In secondary schools, a new subject can be introduced on demand – the history and traditions of the national minorities, taught in their mother tongue. The Ministry of Education shall approve the curricula and textbooks for this subject.
Students belonging to national minorities who attend educational facilities ensuring education in Romanian shall have the opportunity to study their maternal language and literature and the history and traditions of the respective national minority, on demand and under the provisions of the law.
In the state arts and crafts schools and during the complementary year, as well as in specialized high schools and post-high school education, where the specialized subjects are taught, on demand and under the provisions of the law, in the minorities' mother tongue, the special terminology shall also be learned in Romanian.
(1) Upon request, state universities can establish, under the provisions of the law, groups, sections, colleges and faculties providing education in the languages of national minorities. In such cases, special terminology shall also be learned in Romanian. Upon request and under the provisions of the law, multicultural higher education institutions can be set up. The languages used in such institutions shall be stipulated in the law regulating their establishment.
(2) The persons belonging to national minorities have the right to set up and manage their own private higher education establishments, under the provisions of the law.
(3) Higher education establishments developing multicultural structures and activities are considered beneficial for promoting interethnic harmony, as well as national and European integration.
(4) Romanian citizens, regardless of their mother tongue and the language used during their previous school years, can attend all forms of education taught in Romanian or in the languages of national minorities.
At all levels of education, the admission and graduation tests shall be taken in the language in which the respective subjects were studied, under the provisions of the law.
The Ministry of Education ensures the training and development of the teachers, as well as the textbooks and other teaching resources, in the language used for teaching the respective subjects.
Within the management boards of schools where there are groups or sections using the language of national minorities, teachers belonging to national minorities shall be proportionally represented, subject to their professional skills.
(2) School inspectorates in the counties where education is provided also in the languages of national minorities shall include inspectors for this type of education.
The parent or legal guardian of a minor shall decide on whether the child will attend a school ensuring education in Romanian or in a national minority language.
A. The School Network in the County of Covasna, by Type of School
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Hungarian:
“Antos Janos” School Reci
“Darko Jeno” School Dalnic
The General School Comandău
“Tatrangi Sandor” School Ozun
The General School Poian
The General School Estelnic
“Bem Jozsef” School Lemnia
“Tokes Jozsef” School Malnaş Sat
“Balint Gabor” School Catalina
“Orban Balazs” School Moacşa
“Kelemen Didak” School Mereni
“Fejer Akos” School Micfalău
“Bod Peter” School Târgu Secuiesc
“Dr. Gelei Jozsef” School Arcuş
“Neri Szent Fulop” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Karatna” School Turia
“Jancso Benedek” School Ghelinţa
“Bartha Karoly” School Boroşneul Mare
“Benedek Elek” School Băţanii Mari
“Borbath Karoly” School Vârghiş
“Mikes Armin” School Bixad
“Vegh Antal” School Cernat
“Bibo Jozsef” School Brateş
“Lukacs Laszlo” School Ilieni
“Kalmoki Ludmila” School Valea Crişului
“Apor Istvan” School Sânzieni
“Czetz Janos” School Ghidfalău
“Molnar Jozsias” School Târgu Secuiesc
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Romanian:
“Nicolae Russu” School Sita Buzăului
“Romulus Cioflec” School Araci
The General School Barcani
“Mihail Sadoveanu” School Întorsura Buzăului
The General School Dobârlău
“Mihai Eminescu” School Valea Mare
The General School Vâlcele
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Hungarian and Romanian:
“Nicolae Colan” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Avram Iancu” School Covasna
The General School Hăghig
“Kiss Arpad” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Varadi Jozsef” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Godri Ferenc” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Kriza Janos” School Aita Mare
“Benko Jozsef” School Brăduţ
“Mikes Kelemen” School Zagon
The Special School Sfântu Gheorghe
The Special School Olteni
“Gaal Mozses” School Baraolt
“Petofi Sandor” School Târgu Secuiesc
“Boloni Farkas Sandor” School Belin
“Gabor Aron” School Chichiş
“Kun Kocsard” School Ojdula
“Comenius” School Breţcu
“Henter Karoly” School Bodoc
“Turoczi Mozes” School Târgu Secuiesc
School no.1 Zăbala
School no.6 Sfântu Gheorghe.
General High Schools, Technical Schools and Post-High School Facilities, Providing Education in Hungarian
The Reformed General High School Sfântu Gheorghe
The Reformed General High School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Mikes Kelemen” General High School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Nagy Mozses” General High School Târgu Secuiesc
“Miko Imre” General High School Sfântu Gheorghe
The Medical Post-High School Facility Sfântu Gheorghe
The Agriculture School Sfântu Gheorghe
General Highs Schools and Technical Schools
Providing Education in Romanian
“Mihai Viteazul” National College Sfântu Gheorghe
“Constantin Brâncuşi” Technical School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Nicolae Bălcescu” Technical School Întorsura Buzăului
General High Schools, Technical Schools and in Romanian and Post-High School Facilities Providing Education in Romanian and Hungarian
“Korosi Csoma Sandor” School Covasna
“Apor Peter” School Târgu Secuiesc
“Kos Karoly” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Puskas Tivadar” School Sfântu Gheorghe
“Gabor Aron” School Târgu Secuiesc
“Baroti Szabo David” School Baraolt
The Administrative-Economic School Sfântu Gheorghe
The Arts High School Sfântu Gheorghe
B. The School Network in the County of Harghita, by Type of School
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Hungarian:
“Benedek Elek” Primary and Secondary School Filiaşi
“Berzenczei Laszlo” Primary and Secondary School Lutiţa
“Jokai Mor” Primary and Secondary School Băile Tuşnad
“Kiss Ferenc” Primary and Secondary School Mădăraş
“Petofi Sandor” Primary and Secondary School Dealu
“Balazs Jeno” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Remetea
“Bem Jozsef” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Secuieni
“Csiby Andor” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Ditrău
“Domokos Pal Peter” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Lunca de Sus
“Gaal Tamas” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Borzont
“Majlath Gusztav Karoly” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Lunca de Jos
“Marton Aron” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Sândominic
“Petofi Sandor” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Cristur
“Szekely Janos” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Izvoare
“Szekely Mozes” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Lueta
“Tompa Laszlo” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Odorhei
“Zold Peter” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Siculeni
Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Brădeşti
Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Mugeni
“Jozsef Attila” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Vărşag
“Nyiro Jozsef” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Satu Mare
“Orban Balazs” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Odorhei
“Pecsi Simon” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Eliseni
“Tarisznyas Marton” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Valea Strâmbă
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Aldea
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Crişeni
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Poiana Fagului
“Laszlo Gyula” Primary and Secondary School No. 3 Sânpaul
“Marton Ferenc” Primary and Secondary School No. 3 Bancu
Primary and Secondary School No. 3 Păuleni
Primary and Secondary School No. 3 Valea Rece
Primary and Secondary School No. 4 Plăieşii de Sus
Primary and Secondary School No. 5 Cinod
“Bethlen Gabor” Primary and Secondary School No. 6 Odorhei
“Frater Gyorgy” Primary and Secondary School No. 7 Remetea
Primary and Secondary School Ulieş
Primary and Secondary School Valea Lui Pavel
Porumbenii Mari School
“Benedek Elek” Primary and Secondary School Avrămeşti
“Szent Istvan” Primary and Secondary School Sâncrai
“Aprily Lajos” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Praid
“Nagy Imre” No. 12 Primary and Secondary School Miercurea Ciuc
“Makkai Andras” No. 3 Primary and Secondary School Rugăneşti
“Xantusz Janos” No. 3 Primary and Secondary School Miercurea Ciuc
“Arany Janos” School Mihăileni
“Nyiro Jozsef” School Frumoasa
“Augusztinovics Pal” Primary and Secondary School Şoimuşu Mic
“David Ferenc” Primary and Secondary School Mereşti
“Dr. Boga Alajos” Primary and Secondary School Cozmeni
“Endes Jozsef” Primary and Secondary School Sânsimion
“Fulop Aron” Primary and Secondary School Feliceni
“Janos Zsigmond” Primary and Secondary School Dârjiu
“Kelemen Imre” Primary and Secondary School Ocland
“Kriza Janos” Primary and Secondary School Capâlniţa
“Lorincz Aron” Primary and Secondary School Forţeni
“Mora Ferenc” Primary and Secondary School Goagiu
Primary and Secondary School Fântâna Brazilor
“Gal Sandor” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Ciucsângeorgiu
“Imets Fulop Jako” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Tuşnad Sat
“Josika Miklos” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Atid
“Kollo Miklos” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Ciumani
“Korosi Csoma Sandor” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Vărşag
“Marosi Gergely” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Simoneşti
“Martonffi Janos” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Vlăhiţa
“Martonffy Gyorgy” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Cârţa
“Petofi Sandor” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Miercurea Ciuc
“Roman Viktor” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Mărtiniş
“Tamasi Aron” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Lupeni
“Vitos Mozes” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Sâncrăieni
“Arany Janos” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Sântimbru
“Balint Vilmos” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Tomeşti
“Benedek Fidel” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Bisericani
“Galfi Sandor” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Cobăteşti
“Kos Karoly” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Tuşnad Nou
“Sukosd Ferenc” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Ocna de Jos
“Tamasi Aron” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Vlăhiţa
“Tuzson Janos” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Casinu Nou
“Xantusz Keresztes” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Armăşeni
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Jolotca
“Cserei Mihaly” No. 3 Primary and Secondary School Racu
“Nagy Istvan” No. 3 Primary and Secondary School Misentea
“Szekely Mozes” No. 3 Primary and Secondary School Ocna de Sus
Primary and Secondary School No. 3 Ulcani
“Marton Aron” No. 4 Primary and Secondary School Tăietura
“Siklodi Lorinc” No. 5 Primary and Secondary School Ditrău
“Mora Ferenc” No. 7 Primary and Secondary School Odorhei
“Jozsef Attila” No. 8 Primary and Secondary School Miercurea Ciuc
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Romanian:
Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Bălan
“O.C.Taslauanu” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Bilbor
“Liviu Rebreanu” No. 9 Primary and Secondary School Miercurea Ciuc
Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Topliţa
“Sfantu Ilie” No. 4 Primary and Secondary School Topliţa
“Miron Cristea” No. 8 Primary and Secondary School Topliţa
I-VIII Grade Schools (day school), providing education in Hungarian and Romanian:
“Teodor Chindea” Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Voşlobeni
“Geo Bogza” Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Bălan
Primary and Secondary School Săcel
“Vaskertes” School Gheorgheni
“Bethlen Gabor” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Lăzarea
“Dr.Lukacs Mihaly” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Plăieşii de Jos
“Dumitru Gafton” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Gălăuţaş
“Elekes Vencel” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Suseni
“Fogarassy Mihaly” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Gheorgheni
“St. Andrei” No. 1 Primary and Secondary School Sărmaş
Primary and Secondary School No. 1 Tulgheş
“Kajoni Janos” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Ciceu
“Kos Karoly” No. 2 Primary and Secondary School Gheorgheni
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Capu Corbului
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Hodoşa
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Izvorul Trotuşului
Primary and Secondary School No. 2 Livezi
Bilbor Special School
General High Schools, Technical Schools and Post-High School Facilities, Providing Education in Hungarian
“Eotvos Jozsef” School Odorhei
“Sover Elek” School Joseni
“Petofi Sandor” School Dăneşti
“Johannes Kajoni” Economic School Miercurea Ciuc
“Nagy Istvan” Arts High School Miercurea Ciuc
“Pallo Imre” Arts High School Odorhei
“Baczkamadarasi Kis Gergely” Reformed Theological High School Odorhei
“Segito Maria” Roman-Catholic Theological High School Miercurea Ciuc
“Sfanta Elisabeta” Roman-Catholic Theological High School Lunca de Sus
“Marin Preda” General High School Odorhei
“Marton Aron” General High School Miercurea Ciuc
“St. Nicolae” General High School Gheorgheni
“St. Ana” Arts and Crafts Special School Miercurea Ciuc
Ocland Special School
“Puskas Tivadar” High School Ditrău
“Gabor Aron” High School Vlăhiţa
Corund High School
“Tivai Nagy Imre” High School Sânmartin
Cristuru Secuiesc Unitarian Theological High School
“Dr.P.Boros Fortunat” General High School Zetea
“Orban Balazs” General High School Cristuru Secuiesc
“Kemeny Janos” High School Topliţa
“Spiru Haret” Arts and Crafts Vocational School Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Benedek Elek” Pedagogic High School Odorhei
“Banyai Janos” Technical College Odorhei
“Kos Karoly” High School Odorhei
“Venczel Jozsef” High School Miercurea Ciuc
“Zeyk Domokos” High School Cristuru Secuiesc
“Zimmethausen” High School Borsec
“Salamon Erno” General High School Gheorgheni
“Tamasi Aron” General High School Odorhei
General Highs Schools and Technical Schools Providing Education in Romanian
“O.C. Tăslăuanu” General High School Topliţa
“Mihai Eminescu” National College Topliţa
“Octavian Goga” National College Miercurea Ciuc
“Marin Preda” General High School Odorheiu Secuiesc
“St. Nicolae” High School Gheorghieni
“Miron Cristea” High School Subcetate
Corbu High School
General High Schools, Technical Schools and in Romanian and Post-High School Facilities Providing Education in Romanian and Hungarian
“Batthyany Ignac” Technical College Gheorgheni
“Liviu Rebreanu” School Bălan
Gheorgheni School for Mechanical Engineering
“Szekely Karoly” High School Miercurea Ciuc
“Kos Karoly” School for Constructions Miercurea Ciuc
* * *
Sapientia – a private university located in Miercurea-Ciuc the county town of Harghita district
A department of Babes-Bolyai University from Cluj, with courses in Hungarian language located in Sfantu Gheorghe, the county town of Covasna district
Modern Uzleti Tudomany Egyetem – a private university from Hungary located in Odorheiu Secuiesc (Harghita district)
College for educators and teachers functioning as a section of Babes-Bolyai University from Cluj, located in Ordoheiu Secuiesc (Harghita district)
A branch of Babes-Bolyai University from Cluj, with courses in Hungarian language, located in Georgheni city (Harghita district)
The Network of Hungarian Museums and Cultural Establishments in the Counties of Covasna and Harghita
A. Hungarian Museums
1. The National Szekler Museum – Sfântu Gheorghe
2. The Guild History Museum – Târgu Secuiesc
3. “Haszman Pal” Museum – Cernat
4. “Benedek Elek” memorial house – Băţanii Mici
1. “Molnar Istvan” Museum – Cristuru Secuiesc
2. “Haaz Reszo” Museum – Odorheiu Secuiesc
3. “Tarisznyas Marton” Museum – Gheorgheni
4. Ciuc Szekler Museum – Miercurea Ciuc
5. “Sukos Ferencz” memorial house – Ocna de Jos
6. “Nagy Imre” memorial house – Miercurea Ciuc
7. “Tampa Laszlo” memorial house – Odorheiu Secuiesc
8. “Orban Balazs” memorial house – Odorheiu Secuiesc
9. “Tamasi Aron” memorial house – Odorheiu Secuiesc
B. Hungarian Cultural Centers in the Counties of Covasna and Harghita
Municipal Cultural Center – Sf. Gheorghe
“Vidago” Cultural Center – Tg. Secuiesc
Cultural Center – Baraolt
Cultural Center – Covasna (attended by both communities)
“Mikes Kelemen” Cultural Center – Zagon
“Tamasi Aron” Theater – Sf. Gheorghe
Municipal Cultural Center – Miercurea Ciuc
Municipal Cultural Center – Odorheiu Secuiesc
Cultural Center – Cristuru Secuiesc
Cultural Center – Vlăhiţa
Creation Center – Lăzarea
“Figura” Theater – Gheorghieni
The Hungarian Consulate is functioning in Miercurea-Ciuc the county town of Harghita district
In Sfantu Gheorghe, the county town of Covasna district, is located the Cultural Center of the Hungarian Republic
Note: None of the above-mentioned town and municipal cultural centers have Romanian employees nor promote Romanian cultural projects (except for the Town Cultural Center in Covasna).
Hungarian Written and Electronic Media in the Counties of Covasna and Harghita
1. Covasna County (2007)
“Haromszek” daily newspaper in Sfântu Gheorghe - supplements: “Hetfoi Sport” (weekly); “Rroma szombat” (weekly) and “Kovako”(quarterly)
“Szekely Hirmondo” weekly newspaper in Târgu Secuiesc
“Europai-Ido” bimonthly newspaper in Sfântu Gheorghe
“Erdovidek” weekly newspaper in Baraolt
“Tortenelmi Magazin” monthly magazine in Sfântu Gheorghe
“Slager Radio” in Sfântu Gheorghe
“Sepsi Radio” in Sfântu Gheorghe
“Siculus” Radio in Târgu Secuiesc
“Regio Radio” in Sfântu Gheorghe
“Profi” Radio in Târgu Secuiesc
“Polyp” TV station in Târgu Secuiesc
“Aktiv TV” stationin Sfântu Gheorghe
2. Harghita county (2007)
“Csiki Hirlap” daily newspaper in Miercurea Ciuc
“Harghita Nepe” daily newspaper in Miercurea Ciuc
“Udvarhei Hirado” daily newspaper in Gheorgheni
“Informaţia Harghitei” daily newspaper in Miercurea-Ciuc
“Gyergyoi Kisujsag” weekly newspaper in Gheorgheni
“Heti Hirdeto” weekly newspaper in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Polgari Elet” weekly newspaper in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Realitatea Transilvană” weekly newspaper in Miercurea Ciuc
“Uj Kelet” weekly newspaper in Gheorgheni
“Moldvai Magyarsag” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Szekelyfold” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Varoshazi Hirlap” monthly magazine in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Csikszereda” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Miercurea Ciuc” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Megyehaza” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Comitatus” monthly magazine in Miercurea Ciuc
“Fejlesztesi Hirmondo” journal in Miercurea Ciuc
“Oroksegunk” journal in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Delhegyalja” journal in Ciumani
“Fun FM” radio station in Miercurea Ciuc
“Extra” radio station in Topliţa
“Mix FM” radio station in Miercurea Ciuc
“Prima” radio station in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Star” radio station in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Csiki UPC TV” TV station in Miercurea Ciuc
“Digital 3” TV station in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Duna” TV station in Hungary and the local studio in Odorheiu Secuiesc
“Feny” TV station in Gheorgheni
Gyergyo TV station in Gheorgheni
* * *
The most important TV networks (public, national and regional networks such as TVR1, TVR2, TVR Cultural, TVR Internaţional, TV Cluj-Napoca, TV Tg. Mureş) have daily programs in Hungarian language; the same conditions can be encountered in the national, regional and local radio- stations.
Local and County Public Authorities in the Covasna County, by Nationalities,
after the 2004 Elections
1. Covasna County
I. Current situation regarding the mayors of the cities, towns and villages in the Covasna county:
Total: 44 – out of which 32 Hungarian ethnics and 12 Romanian ethnics
II. Current situation regarding the deputy mayors of the cities, towns and villages in the Covasna county:
Total: 43 – out of which 34 Hungarian ethnics and 9 Romanian ethnics
III. Current situation regarding the president and vice-presidents of the Covasna County Council:
Total: 3 – all Hungarian ethnics
IV. Current situation regarding the local municipal councilors:
Total: 40 – out of which 26 Hungarian ethnics and 12 Romanian ethnics
V. Current situation regarding the local town councilors:
Total: 47 – out of which 26 Hungarian ethnics and 12 Romanian ethnics
VI. Current situation regarding the local village councilors:
Total: 445 – out of which 353 Hungarian ethnics and 92 Romanian ethnics
2. Harghita county
I. Current situation regarding the mayors of the cities, towns and villages in the Harghita county:
Total: 67 – out of which 57 Hungarian ethnics and 10 Romanian ethnics
II. Current situation regarding the deputy mayors of the cities, towns and villages in the Harghita county:
Total: 67 – out of which 62 Hungarian ethnics and 5 Romanian ethnics
III. Current situation regarding the president and vice-presidents of the Harghita County Council:
Total: 3 – all Hungarian ethnics
IV. Current situation regarding the local municipal councilors:
Total: 74 – out of which 57 Hungarian ethnics and 17 Romanian ethnics
V. Current situation regarding the local town councilors:
Total: 69 – out of which 56 Hungarian ethnics and 13 Romanian ethnics
VI. Current situation regarding the local village councilors:
Total: 682 – out of which 597 Hungarian ethnics, 72 Romanian ethnics and 13 Roma ethnics
REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE ROMANIANS IN THE COUNTIES OF COVASNA, HARGHITA AND MUREŞ
We, the representatives of the Romanians in the counties of Covasna, Harghita and Mureş – mayors, deputy mayors, local and county councilors, parliamentarians, clergymen, as well as leaders of civic organizations, gathered here today, November 18th 2006 in Izvorul Mureşului, due to our concerns regarding the dangerous turn of events determined by the unconstitutional statements and actions of Hungarian political and civic leaders as to the transformation of this area into an enclave by gaining territorial autonomy on ethnic criteria, hereby adopt the following
For 17 years, we have signaled the true intentions of the Hungarian politicians – allegedly divided into “radicals” and “moderates” – and now, we find ourselves facing an explicit request to remove the so-called “Szekler Land” from under the authority of the Romanian State and to transfer it under an exclusive Hungarian leadership.
It is not the lack of rights or the ethnic discrimination that determines this kind of actions; it is their refusal to accept Romanian administrative authority. No documents drawn up by Hungarian leaders have ever expressed an availability towards dialogue and peaceful cohabitation with the Romanian population. The Romanians have never been consulted with regard to any of their actions concerning the present and future of the region, although they represent over a third of the population in all of the three counties.
The seriousness of this situation is the consequence of the compromises and concessions of the Romanian politicians who have been ruling for the past 17 years. Left at the mercy of UDMR, the Romanians in this area have been abandoned and considered as “collateral losses”. Even now, nobody actually understands that the problem does not affect only the Romanians in these counties, but the entire country. Just like nobody understands that, although unaccepted de jure, Hungarian autonomy exists de facto in the region.
In fact, those who are discriminated and in need of support are the Romanians in the three counties, because the Hungarian majority dominates from an administrative, political and economic point of view, and its representatives exclusively apply ethnocentric principles.
Taking into account the aggravation of the situation, the lawful representatives of the Romanians urge the entire Romanian society, the Parliament, the Presidency and the Government of Romania as well as the Patriarchate, the Romanian Academy, the media and the civil society to take a stand and publicly and unequivocally express a firm position regarding the Hungarian leaders’ separatist and segregationist actions, aimed at gaining territorial autonomy on ethnic criteria.
We request that the Parliament and the President of Romania should not adopt and promulgate the Law on the status of national minorities, initiated by UDMR and endorsed by the Government, which is meant to enact the territorial autonomy on ethnic criteria.
Given the negative consequences of the legislation on administrative decentralization, enhancing the power of the permanently UDMR-controlled local authorities to the detriment of the Romanian population, we forewarn that these laws should not be adopted hastily and instead be open to public debate in order to establish the lawful mechanisms that can prevent the deepening of the discrimination against Romanian nationals.
We hereby request that the Local Public Administration Act be urgently amended so as not to allow the establishment of inter-community associations that directly or indirectly aim at gaining territorial autonomy on ethnic criteria.
We also request that any decision of the public authorities that affects the identity of the Romanians living in the area should be adopted only after consultations with the Civic Forum of the Romanians in Harghita and Covasna.
We reiterate the request that the Romanian population in Harghita and Covasna be represented in the Parliament, as well as in the management structures of the local public authorities, of the deconcentrated institutions and of educational and cultural establishments.
We also revert to the request that the Government and the Presidency establish distinct consultative structures for the counties of Covasna, Harghita and Mureş.
We also request:
- Legal sanctioning of the discriminatory practices according to which employment in public positions is conditional upon Hungarian language skills.
- Ensuring that the official status of the Romanian language is observed in the activity of the local governments, including by amending the norms that undermine this status.
- Granting financial support to the Orthodox Episcopate of Covasna and Harghita, for its missionary and social work, for supporting small parishes, for rebuilding and maintaining the churches and other Romanian historical monuments, as well as for helping the underprivileged population.
- Granting financial support from the central government budget, for the projects of cultural, religious and civic associations in Covasna, Harghita and Mureş.
- Preserving the status of the Eastern Carpathians Museum as an institution of national interest.
- Keeping the Topliţa Cultural Center, the Arcus Cultural Center, as well as the National Archives County Sections under the direct authority of the Ministry of Culture and Cults and the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform, respectively.
- Co-financing from the central government budget the Romanian daily publications in Covasna and Harghita, as well as the scientific and cultural magazines published by cultural and educational institutions and by NGOs.
- Supporting Romanian language education, especially in towns with few Romanian students.
- Broadcasting TV and radio programs dedicated to the Romanian population and to the interethnic cohabitation in the region.
We hereby recommend that, in the event of an administrative and territorial reorganization of the country, the ethnic criterion should not prevail, as it generates dysfunctions and discriminations.
We request that the central government, together with the Civic Forum of the Romanians in Covasna and Harghita, develop a national strategy meant to solve the specific issues existing in the areas where Romanian nationals are in a minority.
The members of the Representative Assembly of the Romanians in Covasna, Harghita and Mureş call on their fellow countrymen of Hungarian origin to work together and establish a dialogue, as the only reasonable solution is peaceful cohabitation, based on mutual respect and European values.