MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 46(174)/2005

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Wed Dec 7 09:57:44 2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 46 (174) / December 5, 2005




A recent declaration of president Traian Basescu, according to which
Romania supports the idea of granting larger autonomy to the Albanianns
in Kosovo, arose the interest of the ethnic Hungarians in the Szeckler’s
County (central Romania). The leaders of the Hungarian Civic Union
believe that a similar autonomy model is enforceable in Harghita and
Covasna counties, a region with a large majority of ethnic Hungarians.

President Traian Basescu on November 28 presented to his French
counterpart Jacques Chirac, a so-called Romanian solution to solve the
conflict in Kosovo. Basescu stated to the press, after the meeting with
the French president, that Romania’s proposal on solving the situation
in Kosovo is addressed to the international community and starts from
the premise that no border in Europe can be changed. "Also, the Romanian
solution is based on the premise the EU must ensure the future
evolutions in this province, through an acceptable solution for the
Serbians as well as for the Albanians in Kosovo", said the president.

According to Basescu, Kosovo might have its own new political structures
(government, Parliament etc), its own currency as well as possibility to
have bilateral economical-political relations, but it might not have its
own army and foreign policy.

Short-time after, the president of Hungarian Civic Union in Covasna
county, Gazda Zoltan, stated during a press conference, that president
Traian Basescu “cleared up” the issue on the territorial autonomy of the
Szeckler’s County through his statements regarding Kosovo. “President of
Romania would not solve the issue of the conflict in Western Balkans,
more precisely in Kosovo, through reshaping the borders in the territory
of Serbia, but would grant total autonomy to this region. According to
the president, the Serbian minority should be protected on this field
and a special safety should be granted for all the citizens of the
area”, said Gazda. He said "this is also UCM’s view on the solution for
the ethnic Hungarians in Romania, consisting in autonomy". According to
UCM, the basic situation in Kosovo was similar to that in the Szeckler’s
County, namely the majority in the region asked for autonomy, education
in the mother tongue and self-government, just as many communities in
Europe enjoy these rights. “The difference between the two regions,
namely Kosovo and the Szeckler’s County is that the Albanians in Kosovo
started the armed fight to acquire these rights, while the Szecklers
chose the instruments of a democracy”.

In response to these declarations, the spokesperson of the Presidency,
Adriana Saftoiu, stated that according to Traian Basescu, the solution
regarding Kosovo cannot be enforced to Romania. "The president took note
of UCM stand, but considers the solution on Kosovo province cannot be
enforced to Romania, as very clear constitutional stipulations exist in
that respect as regards our country", said Saftoiu.

Saftoiu added that Romania is not in the same situation as the countries
in the former Yugoslavia and are not in war. The President suggested the
UCM representatives to visit Kosovo province to notice the differences
between the political and security status back there and that in

UCM leadership showed offended by Basescu’s answer and considered
necessary the president must divert the attention from Kosovo area to
the problems countrywide. UCM leaders claim the declarations of the
spokesperson of the Presidency suggest that president Basescu accepts to
grant the autonomy only if it is preceded by armed fights. “We draw the
attention that a wise politician learns from the other people’s mistakes
and does everything to prevent conflicts and violence, through
compromise and dialogue”, claim UCM leaders. According to them, the
Szecklers do not give up their claims on getting the territorial
autonomy. “We ask the president that instead of focusing the attention
on the problems in Kosovo, he should pay more attention to his country
and using his position, solves as urgent as possible and through
peaceful methods, the situation in the Szeckler’s County. UCM is the
supporter of peaceful and legal instruments, which has been used by now
and which will use in the future, but everybody must be clear the
Union’s most important target is to get the territorial autonomy of the
Szeckler’s County, which it will not give up at”, claims the leadership
of the Hungarian Civic Union. 
Author: DIVERS


CLUJ NAPOCA - The draft law on national minorities' status is not
excessive, but a normal regulation in the field, according to Prime
Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

"The law, as it is, only gives a legal framework to the reality of
Romania. I don't think we must be afraid of cultural autonomy, because
the law is not only for Hungarians, but for all minorities," he said. 

The national minorities' law, developed and backed by ruling coalition
member the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), has
provoked a conflict inside the coalition, after the project was slammed
in the Senate, with some votes from the ruling Democratic Party (PD).

UDMR also had disputes over the law with another party from the ruling
coalition, namely the Conservative Party (PC). Eventually, UDMR leader
Marko Bela warned that if the law is rejected, the coalition's terms
will have to be revised.

Several Euro-observers also warned that the rejection of the draft law
may affect the country's EU integration, after EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn expressed his concern over the text's rejection
in the Senate. Several Hungarian MEPs also expressed their concern. A
few days ago, Democrats in the Chamber of Deputies' administration
committee either voted against or abstained on the minorities' status

Tariceanu said the European Parliament had got the impression that
certain political tendencies were trying to prevent the law from being
passed and underlined that this impression should be taken into
consideration. "The fears and concerns of the European Parliament must
be considered. All those (MEPs) think the law on the minorities' status
is a European law," said Tariceanu.

Marko also said last week that the law his party is endorsing is
designed to complete the desiderata included in the Resolution signed on
December 1 1918 in Alba Iulia, which marked the Great Union of Romanian

Marko said December 1, Romania's National Day, has a different meaning
for Hungarians than for Romanians and underlined the importance of the
Resolution for minorities. The document proclaimed "full national
freedom for all peoples" living on Romanian territory, explained Marko. 
Author: DIVERS


ALEXANDRIA – A seminar occasioned by the launch of the project “We learn
how to live a healthy life” was held on Wednesday, November 30, at the
secondary school no. 4 in Alexandria municipal (southern Romania). The
project was initiated by the Medical Christian Philanthropic Association
“Christiana” Alexandria, in partnership with the Teleorman School
Inspectorate and is included with a pilot educational program of ethnic
Roma pupils. The seminar was financed by the European Union within the
PHARE Program “Consolidation of the civil society in Romania”, and the
sum assigned to this project worth EUR34,973. 

According to the president of “Christiana” Association, medic Tita
Dobre, the general target of the project is that the “school and health
body, the leaders and members of the ethnic Roma community acknowledge
the necessity of supervising the health status of the ethnic Roma pupils
in order to prevent discrimination and marginalization”. 

Association “Christiana” Alexandria has initiated in the past years
other projects financed by the European Union, one of which targeted the
training of sanitary mediators in the ethnic Roma communities in
Teleorman county. 
Author: DIVERS


BUCHAREST - Writer and publicist Mircea Dinescu has announced his
intention to launch a magazine with the title "Poor Rroma, Rich Rroma"
next January, Bucharest Daily News informs. The publication will be
promoted within the community of rich Rroma in Cluj, Bucharest and the
suburbs of these cities. The publication will be administered by the
Satiricon press society in which Mircea Dinescu explained that for the
moment he has decided that the magazine would be launched at the
beginning of next year "when people are suffering from a hangover." "But
it is likely we will think about it and launch it this year," he added.
Dinescu said his team has already prepared an edition of the magazine
but did not wish to make the contents public. The team working at the
magazine includes "Rroma and Romanian intellectuals."

Dinescu mentioned that his role will be that of "nanny and owner," as
the editor in chief and the manager have not yet been appointed. The new
magazine will contain about 80 or 100 pages. Dinescu also said the
publication will be distributed nationally with a circulation of 25,000
Author: DIVERS


SIBIU - The Brukenthal Palace in Sibiu (central Romania), which hosts
one of the most important museums in the country, was returned last week
to the Evangelical Church and to the German Community in the town. 

According to the Minister of Culture, Adrian Iorgulescu, the Evangelical
Church was acknowledged as the rightful owner of almost the entire
building but there are still issues to be solved as far as the
collections inside the museum are concerned. The Evangelical Church has
received only the old building of the palace, which was left to the
institution by the Baron of Brukenthal, who built it. 

According to Ingrid Zaarour, the president of the National Authority for
Property Restitution, the Evangelical Church can negotiate with the
Romanian state for the management of the new building if it wants to.
The ownership will be enforced within ten days of the signing of the
property restitution document last Monday. 
The assessment of the objects and art collections in the Brukenthal
Palace will be made by a joint Commission formed of representatives of
the Culture Ministry and of the Evangelical Church. "We want to see
exactly which collections were donated to the Brukenthal Museum by the
Romanian state and which were those that belonged to the Baron of
Brukenthal," Iorgulescu explained, adding that the palace will remain
open for the public as a museum under the joint administration of the
ministry and the owners. 
Author: DIVERS


BUDAPEST - The Romanian and Hungarian governments will allocate at least
200,000 euros of the state budgets for the public foundation "Gojdu", as
a consequence of an agreement ratified recently by the governments. The
agreement was signed by the Foreign Affairs ministers of the two states
on October 2, when the joint government session took place in Bucharest.
The agreement stipulates the founding of the public foundation
Romanian-Hungarian, which should function in Budapest.

The foundation's goals are, among others, to give scholarships, organize
temporary and permanent exhibitions, scientific conferences, and to
support the Memorial Museum "Emanuil Gojdu", the library and the
Strategic Partnership Institute, with the same name. 
Author: DIVERS

DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by MEDIAFAX, with the financial support of King
Baudouin Foundation, Belgium and Ethnocultural Diversity Resource
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