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Romanian President: We will “rein in Budapest”

History

In the wake of Jobbik Party President Gábor Vona’s typically bombastic comments at a youth camp in Harghita on the weekend, Romanian President Traian Băsescu has declared that his government would “rein in Budapest” from interfering with national government policies throughout the region.

The Romania-based Jurnalul Național goes on to quote Băsescu describing “Budapest’s aggressive policy” and its politicians as “going too far” regarding Hungarian minority populations in Romania and the region. One day after Vona’s comments, the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement calling for the Orbán government to disassociate itself from the statements on “a topic [that] runs contrary to the certified European standards in force for national minorities.”

In a terse reply, Hungary’s Foreign Affairs Ministry emphasized its commitment to Hungarian-Romanian strategic partnership, reminding that “Jobbik is an opposition party in Hungary, and so it does not take part in the work of the Hungarian government in any way and it does not share any responsibility with the Hungarian government.”

Băsescu also reminded of the “parade of Hungarian politicians” at the Baile Tusnad youth camp earlier this summer. At that time, Romanian State Secretary for European Affairs, George Ciamba had declared the planning of the event akin to “a session of the Hungarian government in Romania”; he stated afterward that Hungarians’ “interference” in the event was capable of “breaking the spirit of the strategic partnership for the 21st century between Romania and Hungary.”

From the Baile Tusnad camp, Băsescu particularly recalls the offense given in the presence of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán by Romanian EU MP László Tőkés, who asked that a “protectorate for Transylvania” for Hungarians be ensured.

How Hungarian politicos’ recent actions combined with Băsescu’s assertions affects a Hungarian-Romanian relationship that Hungary’s Foreign Affairs State Secretary Zsolt Németh characterized in July (post-Baile Tusnad) as having “suffered no irreparable damage” but a “slight halt over the past year which should not be dramatized” remains to be seen, but Băsescu seems to be emphatic in saying “This year we have reached the limit at which I say ‘Too much.’”

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