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Chronology for Magyars (Hungarians) in Romania

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Magyars (Hungarians) in Romania, 2004, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
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Date(s) Item
Feb 1990 Hungary had revived dual citizenship for Romanians of Hungarian descent. Romania and Hungary had barred dual citizenship under a 1979 bilateral agreement. However, Hungary unilaterally abrogated the pact.
Mar 1990 Demonstrations by ethnic Hungarians demanding cultural and linguistic autonomy were attacked by Romanian nationalists in Tirgu Mures, a town in central Transylvania. Tanks and troops were deployed to quell the unrest, in which several people were killed. A state of emergency was declared. Hungary filed a diplomatic protest over a Romanian ban on the import of Hungarian-language books to Romania's Transylvania region. Romania denied that the import ban covered Hungarian-language textbooks. However, the government added that while such books could be sent to Transylvania, they could not be used as "teaching material" when Transylvania's schools reopened. (World News Digest, 03/23/90.)
May 1990 Hungarian Premier J. Antall has said it is "inconceivable" for Hungary to maintain good relations with a state which suppresses the Magyar minority. Antall rejected the charge that the Magyars wanted a border revision. "Our stand is based on the Helsinki Final Act which excludes every kind of forceful border alteration." (BBC, 05/24/90.) The newly-elected Romanian President Ion Iliescu said there was no path other than coexistence with the minorities living in the country. Iliescu, however, said it was a political mistake for the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (HDUR) to distance itself from the National Salvation Front. (BBC, 05/26/90.)
Jul 1990 The HDUR is asking the Hungarian National Assembly to put a bill ensuring parliamentary representation for Hungarian national minorities on the legislative agenda once again. The party says it is a sensitive issue for Magyardom in Romania whether the Romanians in Hungary have representation. (BBC, 07/10/90.)
Oct 1990 In a meeting with the Romanian President, the newly appointed Hungarian Ambassador to Bucharest E. Rudas affirmed that Hungary had no territorial demands vis-a-vis Romania, but he emphasized that the situation of the Magyars in Romania must be settled in a manner worthy of a legal state, otherwise an improvement of bilateral relations was inconceivable. (BBC, 10/17/90.) At the latest meeting of the nationalist, anti-Magyar organization Vatra Romaneasca (Romanian Hearth), speakers demanded that rights of the Magyar minority be severely curtailed. Arguments were made that the Magyars are demanding Transylvania's return to Hungary. Several VR representatives proposed that Bishop Tokes be exiled from Romania. (BBC, 10/02/90.)
Mar 1991 The HDUR urges joint action with other concerned parties against the arbitrary restriction of nationality and opposition programs on Romanian TV. The HDUR board decided that until the next congress of the union, the presidium would decide on political matters, while it would take decisions together with the federation's parliamentary group in debates regarding the new draft Romanian constitution. Several Transylvanian Magyar parties took part in the meeting, and the Independent Magyar Party became a new collective member of the organization. (BBC, 03/09/91.) Speaking on Budapest radio (0500 gmt 7 Mar 91) about the minority clauses in the draft Romanian constitution, Geza Domokos, President of the HDUR said: "The draft constitution has a thesis which queries the existence of the minority political organizations, associations. The ethnic question appears twice. Once when there is mention that only on a political basis can there be a political organization. Then, it returns to this and says that the political parties which are organized on an ethnic, linguistic, religious basis are unconstitutional..." (BBC, 03/12/91.)
Apr 1991 A two-day international conference of the Transylvanian Association has taken place in Eger, Hungary. The conference deliberated on the situation of Magyardom living beyond Hungary's borders. The TA issued a declaration to be sent to the UN, the Council of Europe, and signatories to the Helsinki Act. It notes that "Romania should renounce the official tenet that it is a unified national state and the Romanian government should begin democratic discussions with the ethnic groups about their political, economic, cultural and social rights on the basis of the peoples rights to self-determination." According to the TA, the situation of the Magyars in Romania has deteriorated since Ceaucescu's overthrow. They are fleeing from their motherland en masse because of forced assimilation (BBC, 04/18/91).
May 1991 There was heated debate in the Romanian parliament about the Eger Conference on the future of Transylvania. Representatives of the ruling party accused the HDUR and its leadership of revisionism. The President of the HDUR stated that his organization had not been invited to the conference and that representatives of the Hungarian government had not participated in the meeting either. He said it was incomprehensible that a meeting which had not been attended by serious politicians could cause such disputes in the Romanian parliament (BBC, 05/09/91).
Jun 1991 In an interview Senator Radu Contea, newly-elected Chairman of the Romanian National Unity Party (RNUP), accused the Magyar leaders of Transylvania with irresponsibility. He said: "A party within the United Romanian national state which uses a language other than the language of the State, in my opinion is a party that serves the interests of another nation, not those of the Romanian nation. Whether they like it or not, the Magyars constitute a part of the Romanian nation... They can be liberals, peasant party adherents, environment protectors, but let them be active in those parties which use the Romanian language in this country" (BBC, 06/08/91).
Oct 1991 The report of the parliamentary hearing commission on refugee flight from Covasna and Harghita counties has been presented to the parliament. The commission consisted of members of all parties proportionally represented in parliament. The report accused the ethnic Hungarians of causing disturbance in the concerned areas which had been "intensively Magyarised" after the December revolution. The report says that this process was intended to lead to the creation of a Hungarian enclave, as a first step to territorial separation. The two HDUR deputies did not endorse the report, although they took part in the hearings (BBC, 10/21/91).
Jan 1992 The Presidium of the HDUR condemned the corrupt practices in the ongoing census in Romania and opted for a separate census for Magyars in Romania. The HDUR will carry out a separate census in the areas inhabited by nationalists with assistance from the Churches. The presidium also discussed the preparation for the local elections due in the beginning of February (BBC, 01/15/92). A group of Hungarian public figures has addressed an open letter to European heads of states concerning the recent death threat to Bishop Tokes by a group calling itself the Romanian People's Court (BBC, 01/10/92).
May 1992 Nationalist G. Funar, the newly-elected mayor of Cluj-Napoca and leader of the RNUP initiated a policy of "de-Magyarization" of the city, and to "Romanize" it, cleansing it of many symbols of its Hungarian past. The mayor ordered the removal of Hungarian-language street signs in the city. Tensions and demonstrations by ethnic Hungarians followed.
Sep 1992 In the parliamentary elections the HDUR won 27 places in the 384-seat Chamber of Deputies and 12 of the 143-member Senate. In contrast, the ultra-nationalist parties RNUP and Greater Romania Party (GRP) managed a total of 66 seats. The ruling Democratic National Salvation Front (DNSF) won 117 and 49 seats respectively of the Chamber and Senate.
Oct 1992 Ethnic Hungarians denied they wanted to secede from Romania in a move aimed at defusing a political row created by a recent declaration that they desired self-government. The DUMR said secession was impossible in any case given that regions where Hungarians formed the majority were in the center of Romania. Instead, they said ethnic Hungarians only wished for greater autonomy in order to preserve their religious and cultural identity, which are guaranteed under the constitution. The declaration had fuelled nationalist parties which in last month's general election won 22% of the votes in Transylvania, where most of the ethnic Hungarians live. The nationalists have interpreted the HDUR statement as further proof that it aims to restore Transylvania to Hungarian rule (Financial Times, 10/30/92).
Jan 1993 The autonomy plans of the Magyars in Romania were prepared by Budapest, writes Dimineata (01/19/93), a semi-official daily of the Romanian presidential office. "Now there can be no doubts at all that the final form of the autonomy proposal presented by the HDUR was approved by high level officials at the Hungarian Ministry of Defence" (BBC, 01/21/93).
Mar 1993 Ethnic Hungarians had accused the government in Bucharest of "ethnic purification" within state institutions. The charge came after the appointment of two ethnic Romanian officials in Transylvanian prefectures inhabited mainly by ethnic Hungarians. The prefects were installed in Harghita and Covasna, where more than 75% of the people are ethnic Hungarian. The appointments ran counter to the Romanian government's declared wish for integration into European Community structures, according to HDUR (Financial Times, 03/30/93). The appointments terminated a 1992 compromise under which each prefecture was administered jointly by one ethnic Romanian and one ethnic Hungarian. Before, ethnic Hungarians filled the posts.
Jul 1993 An agreement on minority rights was signed between the government and representatives of ethnic Hungarians, guaranteeing, among other clauses, bilingual street signs in areas with Hungarian populations of at least 30% and the training of Hungarian-speaking school teachers.
Jun 1994 The Romanian Chamber of Deputies passed a Law on Education by a vote of 206 to 39, with 14 abstentions. The Law will be debated now by the Senate, and the HDUR is reportedly preparing a last ditch offensive against the Senate's approving it in its present form. HDUR objected that the Law omitted: the right to instruction in the mother tongue at all levels of public education; the right to instruction in the mother tongue in vocational schools (a provision allowed in the communist-era); and reinstatement of government financing of education in minority church schools. The HDUR also objected to provisions requiring that even in schools in which the instruction was to be conducted in the language of a national minority, courses in history, geography, and civic education would still be conducted in the Romanian language.
Jul 1994 Thousands of Hungarian demonstrators have blocked Romanian archaeologists from beginning an exploratory dig at one end of the central Union Square of Cluj, where there is a statue of the 15th century Hungarian King Mathias. The demonstrators say the dig is no scientific exercise, but a political ploy by the growing Romanian ultra-nationalist movement to remove the statue, which nationalist Romanians regard as a symbol of 500-years of oppression by Hungarians. "The problem is not the excavation" said Bishop Tokes. "That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's the revival of Romanian nationalism." (The Washington Post, 07/05/94).
Jan 1995 The minority Romanian government signed a cooperation agreement with the GRP, an openly anti-Semitic, racist organization in an attempt to strengthen its position in the country's deadlocked parliament. This has led the HDUR to accuse President Iliescu and the government of duplicity. Viorel Hrebenciuc, Secretary General of the Romanian government, a post equivalent to deputy premier, cut short a visit to Hungary after being snubbed in an escalating dispute over Romania's treatment of its Hungarian minority. The official headed home after being told his appointments with the Hungarian Prime Minister and the President had been suddenly cancelled due to a clash of dates. It was clear the episode was triggered by a remark by Romania's rightwing Minister of Justice, Iosif Chiuzbain, who called for the HDUR to be banned. President Iliescu explained that this was only his "private view" (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 01/24/95). Budapest also took umbrage at Iliescu's demand that HDUR abolish its own council of ethnic Hungarian mayors. Iliescu said it did not conform with the Romanian Constitution, whereas Budapest felt he was interfering with ethnic Hungarian rights.
Feb 1995 International mediators including former US President Carter chaired talks in Atlanta between Romanian government officials and representatives of Hungarian minority in an attempt to settle one of east Europe's most intractable and long-running ethnic disputes. The talks have been hosted by the Project for Ethnic Relations, a privately-funded US group and the Carter Center. The Atlanta talks came after a sharp deterioration in the already poor relations between the government and the HDUR. G. Funar, mayor of the Transylvanian town of Cluj-Napoca and President of the RNUP, said: "I think it is possible" that there will be an armed conflict between Romanians and ethnic Hungarians. "It is not that I want a conflict, but the irresponsible leaders of the UDMR (HDUR) are capable of giving a signal for one." Funar accused the party of being "nothing more than the pawns of the Budapest government." He claimed that over 500,000 of the 1.7 million Magyars in Romania were gypsies that the UDMR had "blackmailed or bought" to register as Hungarians. "In reality, there are no more than 300,000 Romanians of Hungarian origin," he claimed (AFP, 02/18/95).
May 1995 An eviction notice targeted 200 ethnic Hungarians said to be illegally occupying state-owned flats at the Transylvanian University town of Cluj-Napoca. Most of the occupants are elderly retirees. "We have resisted, and so far nobody has been evicted, but people are very frightened," said Zoltan Tibori, editor of the town's Hungarian language newspaper (Chicago Tribune, 05/15/95).
Aug 9, 1995 An UDMR spokesperson said protest action will continue against the Romanian Education Law because a ministerial decree allowing the use of Hungarian in exams leaves other provisions of the law which "strip people of their rights" untouched and only applies for one year. The UDMR spokesperson said that the group will continue its protest program because it must think in the long term.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 8/9/95)
Sep 1, 1995 The ruling Social Democracy Party of Romania (PSDR) is preparing to ban the UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania) by applying a bill on the establishment and running of parties, which is now being drafted. The bill will be written in such a way that the formation of parties on ethnic grounds will no longer be possible. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/1/95)
Sep 2, 1995 About 20,000 ethnic Hungarians protested in Odorheiu Secuiesc against the new Romanian Education Law, which among other things, prohibits teaching in any minority language, including Hungarian. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/4/95)
Sep 12, 1995 Protest actions by ethnic Hungarians against the Romanian Education Law have continued in Transylvania. Protest rallies, protest meetings and, in some places, ecumenical masses have taken place in all the more important Hungarian-populated Transylvanian towns. Undoubtedly, it has been a united action of solidarity by the Hungarians of Transylvania. Also today, a youth delegation set off for Strasbourg. The delegation will convey to the Council of Europe and the European Parliament in Strasbourg the Hungarian young people's sense of opposition to the Romanian Education Law and their view on education in the mother tongue. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/12/95)
Sep 19, 1995 Representatives of the UDMR Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, the historic churches and various Hungarian organizations have staged a new round of protest actions in several towns of the Romania against the limitations of teaching in the mother tongue. Seven thousand students and 1,500 parents formed a human chain around the Hungarian schools for quarter of an hour. Elsewhere people wore white arm bends as a sign a protest. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/19/95)
Oct 6, 1995 The parliamentary deputy group of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR has proposed that Hungarian -populated villages in Transylvania be declared martyr villages. The bill submitted by the deputy group refers to the fact that in the autumn of 1944 a number of Hungarians were murdered by fascist Maniu guardsmen Iron Guard . The UDMR initiative is a response to the Romanian parliament declaring villages in County Salaj martyr villages, because Hungarian troops marching in after the 1940 Vienna decision killed Romanians.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/6/95)
Oct 26, 1995 In a statement released the County Mures branch of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR considers the replacement of county prefects and the dismissal of the Hungarian vice prefect just before the local authority elections to be a serious political mistake. This step does not serve domestic stability, for a representative of the Romanian National Unity Party PUNR led by Georghe Funar widely known for his anti-Hungarian pronouncements and measures, has been appointed to the head of the county.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/26/95)
Nov 16, 1995 A total of 231 people have so far participated in prayer sessions in Tirgu Mures in protest against the Education Law and to back demands for the restoration of seized church properties and re-establishment of church education. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 11/16/95)
Nov 20, 1995 Adam Katona, spokesman for the Transylvanian Hungarian Initiative, a platform of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR, has been on hunger strike for two weeks. He sent a letter to President Iliescu explaining the reason for his protest action. In his letter Adam Katona said he had decided to go on a hunger strike to call the attention of the public to discrimination against the Hungarian national community in Romania. He asked President Iliescu to make it possible for seven Hungarians from Zetea; presumably those imprisoned for their alleged involvement in the killing of Romanian policemen in December 1989 and granted amnesty in 1994 who have spent five years in exile to return unhurt to Szeklerland, their homeland. Adam Katona warned in his letter that the new Romanian education law seriously infringed the equal opportunities of all ethnic minorities living in Romania. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 11/20/95)
Dec 18, 1995 A Council of Europe delegation has again arrived in Romania to assess and report on how Romania meets its obligations undertaken when admitted to the Council of Europe. The three delegates of the Council of Europe met the leaders of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR in Bucharest. The UDMR leaders handed a document of more than 50 pages to the delegation. The document refers to the lack of a minority law, the education law which restricts education in minority languages, the local government bill which is not in line with European documents, the situation of innocent ethnic Hungarians sentenced to imprisonment and an order by a government media body which restricts the relay of Hungarian satellite Duna television programmes by cable television companies .(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/20/95)
Mar 14, 1996 At a press briefing today the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR protested against a law passed by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies on banning the use of minority languages at local authority meetings, even if all members present at the government meeting give their consent to use a minority dialect such as Hungarian, and also agree to write all official reports in Romanian. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/14/96)
Mar 18, 1996 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] decided that Imre Andras, parliamentary deputy for Harghita County, will present a written protest to the Romanian interior minister against the fact that wreaths and Hungarian flags placed on the Petoefi Hungarian poet of 1848-49 revolution sculpture in Miercurea Ciuc on 15th March were torn off on Friday night 15th March and Saturday afternoon 16th March . (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/19/96)
Mar 20, 1996 Following court decisions affecting thousands of the people, the Romanian courts have admitted that in certain cases Romanian citizens mostly ethnic Hungarians who fell into Soviet captivity as soldiers of the Hungarian Army in WW2 were deprived of their rights by mistake. All those who were deprived of their rights by a final and irrevocable court decision can now ask the chief prosecutor to appeal to the High Court to declare the court decision null and void. Those concerned will be able to receive their pension as war veterans, and what is more, back-dated to the date of the submission of their first appeal. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/20/96)
Jul 23, 1996 Recent local electioins have clearly pointed out the fact that UDMR has not enjoyed the same strong backing of the community members that it used to. The present UDMR candidate for Romania's presidency, Gyoergy Frunda, declared: It is obvious that in the last four years the UDMR has lost the unconditional support of the Magyars in Romania. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 7/23/96)
Aug 3, 1996 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] will stand in the general elections in the autumn not as a party but as an organization to protect minority interests, because the parties must register again and, according to the laws in force, this [registration as a party] can be refused by the Bucharest authorities. Several Romanian nationalist parties have been demanding that the UDMR be barred from the elections because, in their opinion, the UDMR does not recognize Romania's constitution and its autonomy efforts violate the laws. The law, however, makes it possible for the UDMR to stand in the elections as a minority alliance.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 8/3/96)
Oct 4, 1996 The head of Romanian public service television has forbidden Gyoergy Frunda, presidential candidate of the UDMR [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania], to speak in Hungarian in his political TV advertisements. The editor in chief of Romanian national television today called on Senator Gyoergy Frunda, the UDMR's presidential candidate, not to use the Hungarian language any more in his election video clips sent to Romanian television for broadcasting. He based this request on the Romanian Constitution, according to which Romanian is the official language in Romania. If Frunda disregards this, Romanian television will not broadcast his election material in the future. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/4/96)
Oct 21, 1996 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] has issued a statement in which it protests against the fact that the party has not received funds for its election campaign, as laid down by the law. The communique says that the Romanian government has violated the constitution and ignored its obligations undertaken in the recently-signed basic treaty [with Hungary]. It also violated the Party Law and its own decision, according to which the UDMR was included in the list of organizations entitled to financial support. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/21/96)
Nov 27, 1996 The leader of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, Bela Marko, has announced that the UDMR will join the government coalition. He stressed that joining the government coalition will not mean the party has abandoned its own program. He said that the party would have more chance of influencing the new government on minority issues from within the coalition.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 11/27/96)
Dec 19, 1996 The UDMR [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania] has lost a prefect post. The other Romanian government coalition parties have modified an earlier agreement with the UDMR after protests by nationalist circles in Salaj County. The UDMR has only two prefects instead of three, in the counties of Satu Mare and Harghita. The Salaj County prefect post has been renegotiated with the coalition partners and an agreement has been reached that the UDMR will give up the county leader's post here . Of course, this was not a one-sided move. The UDMR received three posts of subprefect - one of them in Salaj County - in exchange for the Salaj County prefect post. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/19/96)
Jan 20, 1997 In an open letter to Romanian President Emil Constantinescu, PUNR [Romanian National Unity Party] leader Gheorghe Funar refers to a recent statement made in Vienna by pastor Laszlo Toekesof UDMR, in which the latter says an autonomous government of the ethnic Hungarian community must be set up in Romania. Considering that this statement violates both Romania's constitution and the law on national security, as it endangers the integrity of the unitary national Romanian state, the PUNR leader asks the Romanian president to order the UDMR honorary president's arrest. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1/20/97)
Feb 15, 1997 The honorary chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, UDMR, which represents the ethnic Hungarians in Romania, has said that UDMR leaders are becoming increasingly authoritarian and are trying to isolate him because of his criticism of the party's participation in the government. He said that unless opposition views were respected, he would support the creation of a breakaway party.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 2/15/97)
Mar 18, 1997 The chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, Bela Marko, has rejected doubts raised over the party's failure to sign a written coalition agreement setting out its conditions for involvement in the Romanian government. Marko said that a written coalition agreement was not necessary and would not have provided a guarantee that the situation of the ethnic Hungarians would improve. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/18/97)
Jun 28, 1997 A proposed amendment that would legalize class instruction in languages besides Romanian to the Education Law is drawing rifts within the Romanian ruling coalition. The government, that had submitted the bill to the Senate's education commission earlier this week, has however decided to withdraw it, in an attempt to adopt the amendment by an emergency ordinance, and, therefore, sidestep the parliamentary debates. The UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, ) which is a junior partner in the ruling coalition, seeks to speed up the adoption of the amended bill and, therefore, backs an emergency ordinance being passed by the government . (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/28/97)
Jul 22, 1997 Activists of the Romanian nationalist umbrella organization Vatra Romaneasca have painted over the Hungarian portion of bilingual road and place-name signs at several points in the neighborhood of the Romanian town of Tirgu Mures [which has a large ethnic Hungarian population]. The action provoked a sharp protest from the UDMR [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania] . (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 7/22/97)
Oct 8, 1997 Gheorghe Funar [Cluj mayor and former leader of the Romanian National Unity Party, PUNR] is calling for the UDMR's [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania] elimination both from the government and Romanian political life. Funar called on the head of state [President Emil Constantinescu] to request that the general prosecutor take steps against the UDMR's extremist leaders. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/8/97)
Dec 8, 1997 The parliamentary group of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] advanced to the permanent bureau of the Chamber of Deputies a draft decision on the prevention and fight against national and local minority discrimination. The UDMR requests the government to advance "immediately" to the parliament for discussion of the bill on national minorities, as well as the bill on the status of the public officer. The status will have to stipulate the obligation of knowing and using the language of national minorities by those officers who have direct relations with the population of those areas where minorities have a weight of at least 20 percent of the total population.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/8/97)
Dec 11, 1997 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, UDMR, has announced that its ministers will not attend government sessions. The UDMR, which is a member of the Romanian coalition government, took the decision after some coalition party senators voted with the opposition in the education law debate. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/11/97)
Dec 15, 1997 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] will stay in the government coalition, though only if certain conditions are met. Coalition cooperation could only continue if the Romanian partners firmly rejected the increasingly alarming anti-Hungarian campaign. Continued reforms, a positive decision on issues concerning language use and the return of church property were further conditions for staying in the coalition. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/15/97)
Apr 8, 1998 State Secretary Laszlo Borbely, Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] deputy, has said that reports claiming that during coalition-forming talks the UDMR was offered the Health Ministry portfolio are true. The UDMR was offered three ministries, but so far it has received only two, in addition to several state secretarial posts.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/8/98)
Jun 11, 1998 An ecumenical protest rally was held today in the former Presbyterian bishop's palace in Oradea [northwestern Romania] . The UDMR speakers at the rally, which was organized by the Piatra Craiului Presbyterian diocese, called for the elimination of any kind of ethnic or confessional discrimination and condemned the trimming of ethnic or religious rights and the violation of the individual and collective right to property. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/11/98)
Sep 19, 1998 The Hungarians have recognized Transylvania [western Romania] as Romanian land. This is what the Romanian interior minister [Gavril Dejeu] said to assure those concerned about endeavours to achieve autonomy for the area of Harghita and Covasna Counties of Transylvania where ethnic Hungarians constitute the majority of the population. Despite this, there will be more policemen stationed in Hungarian-populated areas for security reasons.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/19/98)
Sep 23, 1998 A speech by Jozsef Csapo, Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, UDMR senator, was interrupted by shouts from the opposition parties in parliament. He was trying to read a political statement related to the Alsocsernaton Cernat, in Transylvania in western Romania. Jozsef Csapo said that he identified himself with the forum's declaration of autonomy for the counties of Harghita and Covasna where ethnic Hungarians constitute the majority of the population.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/23/98)
Sep 30, 1998 The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania ministers announced they will step out of Romania's government unless things change as regards the setting up of a state university having Hungarian as a teaching language. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 9/30/98)
Oct 2, 1998 During its meeting this evening, the government decided to initiate procedures for the establishment of a multicultural state university, to be named Petoefi-Schiller, with German and Hungarian as the tuition languages. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/2/98)
Oct 4, 1998 Bela Marko, UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania) chairman, has said that the party has decided not to leave the government. Furthermore the chairman said this decision is only a postponement, but that the coalition partners must be given a chance to prove their sincerity over their Hungarian-German university proposal and their commitment to the coalition's minority-related program. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/4/98)
Nov 4, 1998 In a recent survey of 2000 Romanian citizens of ethnic Hungarian origin living in Transylvania 736 said they believe that territorial autonomy is the most important problem to be solved. They think this is the UDMR's [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania] main objective. There were 612 who believed that education in the ethnic minorities' mother tongues was the main problem of the ethnic Hungarian community in Romania. 1998 December 14: The Bucharest court of appeals has upheld a complaint put forward by the Romanian opposition against the establishment of the Petoefi-Schiller University. The opposition claims to be resisting the notion of establishing a Hungarian/German language university because it would violate the Romanian constitution. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 12/14/98)
Feb 25, 1999 Four people in Kezdivasarhely Tirgu Secuiesc, western Romania have been sentenced to imprisonment. They were accused of the murder of Maj (Aurel Agake), head of the economic department of the militia at Kezdivasarhely, on 22nd December 1989, during the Romanian revolution. Gyoergy Frunda, senator of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania UDMR represented the defendants at the Bucharest Court. Frunda claims that the ruling is unlawful and anti-Hungarian because militiamen were killed in many towns in Romania during the 1989 developments, but only people living in Hungarian-populated areas were taken to court. The UDMR plans to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court later this year. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 2/25/99).
Mar 15, 1999 The anniversary of 151 years from the breaking out of the Hungarian Revolution was celebrated at the monument of the Szeckler martyrs in the city of Targu Mures (central Romania). Participating in the event were 4,000 inhabitants of Hungarian nationality in the city of Targu Mures, alongside the leadership of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), which was represented by president Bela Marko and Ferenc Szocs, Hungary's ambassador in Bucharest. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/16/99)
Mar 22, 1999 The Court of Appeal in Bucharest has admitted for the third time, a contestation filed by the Greater Romania Party (PRM) against the government decision on setting up a multicultural state university with courses in Hungarian and German languages, called the Petoefi-Schiller University. The government may appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court.(Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 4/25/99)
May 16, 1999 At a marathon session of the congress in Csikszereda Miercurea-Ciuc, eastern Transylvania, which lasted until dawn, Bela Marko was again elected the UDMR's leader. Bela Marko received 274 votes and his rival, Eloed Kincses, received 157 votes. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 4/25/99)
May 20, 1999 The main party representing the ethnic Hungarians in Romania has issued a statement saying that the Kosovo conflict proves that the minority issue is unresolved in the Balkans and in Central and Eastern Europe. The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania backed NATO' s military intervention and Romania's cooperation with NATO over the Kosovo conflict. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 5/20/99)
May 24, 1999 A statement released by the UDMR claimed attacks against the Hungarians in Romania are becoming more frequent, with extremely-worded scare-mongering among them. Chairman of the Gretaer Romania Party PRM, said at a meeting in Brasso Brasov that, "If the UDMR brings autonomy to the eastern Transylvanian counties of Hargita Harghita and Kovaszna Covasna then, the next day, we will take the Hungarians' electricity, water and air so that they suffocate,". The PRM also alleged that real economic cleansing was being carried out against the Romanians in eastern Transylvania. He said they the Romanians were the main victims of unemployment, the aim of which was to force them out of the region. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 5/24/99).
Jun 8, 1999 Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania [UDMR] deputies walked out of parliament today when the Chamber of Deputies was voting on a bill on the status of civil servants. They did so because it became clear that the regulation was not going to compel the civil servants to know the language of a minority in an area where a minority constitute mores than 20 per cent of the population. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/8/99)
Jun 10, 1999 A group of Romanian and ethnic Hungarian and German intellectuals in Transylvania has raised the issue of granting increased autonomy and self-government for the region. They say that as the province is more developed economically than the rest of the country, this would allow for more rapid integration into the EU. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/10/99)
Jun 18, 1999 The reformist group in the UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, in the ruling coalition) sent a letter to US President Bill Clinton. The letter, presented at the UDMR Congress in Miercurea Ciuc [Transylvania] by a group of delegates, says that there is ethnic cleansing in Romania initiated by the authorities, and asks for the US president's support to get autonomy and an own government. (Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6/18/99)

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