MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 13 (141)/2005

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Wed Apr 13 08:05:43 2005


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Divers Bulletin no. 13 (141) / April 11, 2005

News
RETURN OF PROPERTY SEIZED BY FASCISTS, COMMUNISTS SPED UP
TRANSYLVANIA HIGHWAY IS ONE OF UDMR’S MAJOR TASKS
LAUNCH OF HUNGARIAN TV STATION IN TRANSYLVANIA DELAYED
UDMR SUPPORTS MINORITY LAW
COURT PASSES A VERDICT AGAINST THE REFERENDUM ON THE AUTONOMY OF
"SZECKLER'S COUNTY"
VOLUME OF A "CLASSIC WRITER" OF ROMA LITERATURE
SPANISH SONG AGAINST ROMANIAN IMMIGRANTS
-----------------------------------------------------

News

RETURN OF PROPERTY SEIZED BY FASCISTS, COMMUNISTS SPED UP

BUCHAREST - Romania will speed up efforts to return property seized from
Jewish and Hungarian communities by the country's past fascist and
communist regimes, AP reports.

The government released new guidelines aimed at accelerating the return
of real estate, schools, hospitals and other property taken from
Romania's Jewish community, ethnic Hungarians, and other minorities
between 1940 and the fall of communism in 1989.

In cases where property cannot be returned, the government said it will
pay compensation.

The total cost of the restitution of all private, community and
religious property is estimated at 5 billion to 8 billion euros, Bogdan
Olteanu, the minister in charge of relations with Parliament said last
month. 
Restitution authorities aim to return property within 60 days of the
date applications are filed under the new guidelines.

After communism collapsed in 1989, Romania has struggled to balance
international pressures to return property and the economic costs of
restitution. The previous left-wing administration passed legislation in
2001 to return most property, but community property was exempted and
the restitution process was slowed by complicated procedures and
insufficient resources.

The new legal guidelines are expected to speed up the process. Four
years since the legislation was passed, only a few buildings have been
returned to their former owners. 
Author: DIVERS


TRANSYLVANIA HIGHWAY IS ONE OF UDMR’S MAJOR TASKS

TIRGU MURES – Council of Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) Union
Representatives on April 2 passed a resolution to support the
construction project of Transylvania highway, connecting Bors and Brasov
cities.
Most of the people taking the floor during the session criticized the
attempts of the current government to postpone the accomplishment of the
highway. Last week, during a TV show, Premier Tariceanu stated the
program to construct the highway, agreed by the former government with
US Bechtel will be financed according to the funds available to the
state after having allotted the sums necessary for the project as
regards the 4th Pan-European corridor.

Moreover, he reminded the European Bank for Investments cannot finance
Bechtel project, under the circumstances the contract was not attributed
through bid. "We will see how much money we have for Bechtel highway.
With the necessary resources we could construct two or three lanes
concomitantly, but Romania cannot afford to simultaneously construct two
highways for the time being", also said Tariceanu.

In answer, Bechtel representatives published a release, saying the
change of the budget for the highway cannot amend the contract for the
works execution or the parties’ obligations. According to them, the
works are continuing and the program in 2005 is going to be settled
after the rectification of the national budget.

During UDMR meeting, Marko Bela stated: "We cannot give-up the project
to construct Bors-Brasov highway. We do not say the 4th corridor should
not be established, but this will be a transit route, namely it will
connect Europe to the Balkans, while Northern Transylvania highway will
be more efficient in the domestic development. We cannot give up the
future of Transylvania for the sake of Turkish trucks". Marko Bela also
said the Romanian politicians must choose: "They help Transylvania or
let it help itself".

UDMR leader Gyorgy Frunda adopted the same definite attitude, announcing
a possible governmental crisis if the problems is not favourably solved.
"For UDMR, according to the concluded contract, the support granted to
the deadline and the financing of the program for constructing the
highway could mean a tearing apart from the Government in case the
contract of this highway is not observed. Is that clear?", says UDMR
senator. 
Author: DIVERS


LAUNCH OF HUNGARIAN TV STATION IN TRANSYLVANIA DELAYED

TIRGU MURESM – UDMR chairman Marko Bela stated the Hungarian TV station
in Transylvania has more remote chances of being established than the
territorial studio of public tv station TVR in Tirgu Mures, which might
start to broadcast beginning with the mid-year.

Marko Bela stated on April 1 that the Hungarian TV station in
Transylvania will not be established for now because a promise made by
the Hungarian Government on allotting funds, which was only partially
complied with. "This was a promise made by the Government of Hungary
concerning 300 million Forints but the money were enough only for the
equipment but not for the functioning as well. Until we are given
financing guarantees, the project is postponed”, stated Marko Bela,
adding the respective money were not transferred.

"It is much more likely the variant of TVR’s regional studios", stated
Marko Bela, who said that frequencies were got for the studios in
Cluj-Napoca and by mid-year, these will be ready to function.

"The broadcast period in Hungarian language might be extended in
Cluj-Napoca. We also aim TVR Tirgu Mures studio starts functioning in
the two languages. There is a building and a project and money will be
subsequently allotted for the works start-up", also said Marko Bela. 
Author: DIVERS


UDMR SUPPORTS MINORITY LAW

TIRGU MURES - The president of the Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR),
Marko Bela, on April 2 said that if the bill on the statute of national
minorities is adopted by Parliament, cultural autonomy will have been
achieved. Marko said the bill refers both to cultural and administrative
autonomy. The UDMR leader said administrative autonomy will be possible
only through strong decentralization.

The bill includes a chapter referring to cultural autonomy, stipulating
that the organizations of national minorities may form, after internal
elections, a National Council of Cultural Autonomy, a public authority
with juridical power representative of the national minority.

The bill also says committees of the county cultural autonomies may be
formed if the presence of that particular national minority is
significant.

A week ago local organizations of the Hungarian Civic Union in Covasna
issued a statement appealing to human rights organizations in the
country and abroad to convince President Traian Basescu not to
promulgate the law on national minorities.

UDMR received over a hundred amendments to the bill on national
minorities, after a public debate was launched by the party.

Marko said most of the amendments refer to the rather vague stipulations
in the bill, which should be clearer.
Author: DIVERS


COURT PASSES A VERDICT AGAINST THE REFERENDUM ON THE AUTONOMY OF
"SZECKLER'S COUNTY"

SFINTU GHEORGHE – Brasov Appeal Court (in central Romania) on April 4
passed a verdict through definitive and irrevocable sentence against the
decision of Ilieni Local Council on organizing a referendum for the
autonomy of the so-called Szeckler's County.

The Justice acknowledged that according to the Constitution, there
cannot be revised, so there cannot be subjected to a referendum the
national, unitary and indivisible character of the Romanian state, the
territorial integrity, the independence of the justice, the political
pluralism and the official language of the state, arguments claimed by
Covasna Prefecture in the trial against Ilieni Local Council at the end
of last year.

Covasna Prefecture will also sue Varghis Local Council, which has
recently enacted a similar decision, upon the request of the National
Szeckler’s Council, namely the initiator of the project of territorial
autonomy of counties Covasna, Harghita and a part of Mures, mainly
inhabited by ethnic Hungarians. 

In related news, the Permanent Council of the Szeklers National
Committee (CNS) on April 9 decided to continue the legal fight for
autonomy of the Szekler County and to forward to the Parliament the
draft legislation concerning the region's autonomous status, after the
European Parliament debates Romania's EU accession report. Csapo Jozsef
said one of the recent amendments adopted by the European Parliament
upholds the improvement of national minorities' protection touching as
well the subject of respecting the principle of autonomy and self
determination. The Szekler representative believes that the European
vote will definitely be a step forward in their legal action since the
country's Parliament will be compelled to take their demand into
consideration.
Author: DIVERS


VOLUME OF A "CLASSIC WRITER" OF ROMA LITERATURE

CLUJ-NAPOCA – Resources Department for the Ethnic Roma Communities in
Romania (CRCR) launched on April 8 the first edition on Romani language
of the work "Price of freedom" by Mateo Maximoff. This is the last
classic of ethnic Roma literature and the book "successfully and
accurately illustrates aspects from the life, suffering and ideals of a
people marginalized for centuries".

"Price for freedom" is the 17th work published with the financial
support of the Resources Department for the Ethnic Roma Communities,
within the program to publish some books with ethnic Roma specific. 
Author: DIVERS


SPANISH SONG AGAINST ROMANIAN IMMIGRANTS

BUCHAREST – Romanian Council Against Discrimination (CNCD) is to take
steps to stop the broadcast of a song that could instigate racial hatred
against Romanian immigrants in Spain and will draw the attention of
Romanian authorities to it.

The song is in Spanish and lasts for 3 minutes and 13 seconds, referring
to the Romanian immigrants as being an "extending plague."

"We translated the lyrics and we consider they are would instigate
racial hatred, surpassing the freedom of speech borders," CNCD
president, Csaba Astalosz, said.

Astalosz added the CNCD is to ask the National Broadcasting Authority
(CNA) to forbid the broadcasting of this song, noting that the CNCD is
not allowed to take these measures outside the country. 
Author: DIVERS

--------------------------------
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