MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 22 (150)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 22 (150) / June 13, 2005

News
NEW COORDINATION STRUCTURE FOR ETHNIC ROMA, WHILE OLD PROBLEMS REMAIN
FAIR OF ETHNIC ROMA ARTISANS IN SIBIU 
CULTURAL PRIZE FOR ROMANIAN ETHNOLOGIST 
CONFERENCE CALLS FOR CHARTER TO GUARANTEE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MINORITY
LANGUAGES
HUNGARIAN LEADER ASKS FOR SOLIDARITY ON MINORITIES LAW
UDMR LAWMAKERS REFUSE TO SUBMIT AUTONOMY DRAFT
HUNGARIAN CIVIC UNION OPPOSES BUDAPEST’S NATIONAL VISA PLAN
-----------------------------------------------------------

News

NEW COORDINATION STRUCTURE FOR ETHNIC ROMA, WHILE OLD PROBLEMS REMAIN

BUCHAREST - Premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu has announced the
establishment of a working team ensuring he compliance of the projects
coordinated by the Government to improve the status of the ethnic Roma
with the programs of Soros Foundation.
This new structure aims to prepare the next month event when Romania
takes over the leadership of "The decade of ethnic Roma inclusion".
The working team will be made up of representatives of the Agency for
Governmental Strategies and of the National Agency for ethnic Roma, as
well as of the minister delegate for the control of implementing
international financing programs and of monitoring the enforcement of
the communitarians aquis Cristian David.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu met on June 6 the American businessman George
Soros, the most important financer of Organization Open Society
Institute, who requested the Premier to support the projects the
Foundation is financing in Romania in order to improve the ethnic Roma
status and to solve some of the existent problems, mainly among this
ethnic. They discussed about the problems of the ethnic Roma community
on the access to the forms of high education and to the medical services
as well as on the lack of dwellings. 
The Premier also said he will get involved in solving specific problems
of the ethnic Roma community, including through directing some European
funds to finance some programs enabling the access to education and to
the health system. The Executive is coordinating, through the Government
General Secretariat, the enforcement of the strategy on improving the
status of the ethnic Roma community.
Author: DIVERS

FAIR OF ETHNIC ROMA ARTISANS IN SIBIU 

SIBIU – Sibiu city in Transylvania will host during June 24-26 the Fair
of the Artisan of Ethnic Roma origin, which was annually organized to
conserve the ethno-cultural traditions.
"The coppersmiths, the wood artisans, the jewellers and the brick makers
will prove their skills and artistic spirit, the sale of the artisans’
products being accompanied by practical demonstrations", claimed Adrian
Roman, museographer at the National Museum Complex Astra in Sibiu.
He claims the manifestation is included within the category of actions
by means of which the museum tries to help at keeping the traditions. 
Developed in open air at the museum in Dumbrava Sibiului, the fair will
gather about 50 ethnic Roma artisans in urban and rural localities of
counties Sibiu, Vilcea and Teleorman. On the last day of the fair, the
organizers also prepared an artistic moment that included a folk music
band.
Author: DIVERS

CULTURAL PRIZE FOR ROMANIAN ETHNOLOGIST 

HAIFA – Israeli cultural Foundation "Haim si Sara Ianculovici" (Haim and
Sara Ianculovici) awarded on June 9 the prizes for 2005, at the section
"Istoria gindirii" (History of thinking), the distinction being given to
the ethnologist Andrei Oisteanu. 
Oisteanu was awarded for having published last year the volume "Imaginea
evreului in cultura romana. Studiu de imagologie in context est-central
european" (The image of the Jewish person in the Romanian culture. Image
study within the East-central European context).
On the occasion of his visit to Israel for awarding the prize, Andrei
Oisteanu will hold, at the Cultural Centre in Haifa, the speech "Evreul
imaginar versus evreul real in Europa Centrala si de Est" (Imaginary
Jewish versus the real Jewish in Central and Eastern Europe).
Author: DIVERS

CONFERENCE CALLS FOR CHARTER TO GUARANTEE HIGHER EDUCATION IN MINORITY
LANGUAGES

CLUJ - The First European Conference on Higher Education in the
Languages of National Minorities was held in Cluj/Kolozsvar and online
with participation from all over Europe, Eurolang reports. 
They examined the possibilities of establishing or extending higher
education in the mother tongue of "national minorities" based on the
principles of the European Union and the Bologna Process and they
adopted a Charter of Higher Education in Minority-Languages in Europe.
The virtual conference was held in a closed session on May 26th. Last
week, at an on-line press conference, the organisers highlighted that
the initiative was the first of its kind and they are hopeful that
European institutions and governments will accept its recommendations.
The conference was organized by the Education Committee of the
Transylvanian Hungarian National Council (CNMT, an NGO for the autonomy
of the ethnic Hungarians in Romania), the Bolyai Society (SB, an NGO for
re-opening the Hungarian-language Bolyai state university in Cluj) and
the Hungarian Students Union in Kolozsvar (HSUK, OSMC). 
Many so-called "national minorities" from Europe with their language
established in higher education were represented at the conference:
Welsh, Basques, Catalans, Swedes from Finland, Germans from Italy,
Albanians from Macedonia and Hungarians from Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia
and Romania. Universities from Switzerland and Ireland that teach in
minoritised languages also participated.
The conference found that some ethnic minorities with a structure of
higher education in their mother tongue were in a disadvantaged
situation. Examples were the ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania (Romania)
and Vojvodina (Serbia and Montenegro), as well, as the Basques in
France. 
“Only 4.4% of those with a higher education degree were ethnic
Hungarians in Romania, whereas this minority represented 6.6% of the
total population”, conference Vice-President and teacher at the
Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj (UBB) Peter Hantz told Eurolang. “At the
same time, 6.7% of the population had Hungarian, as their mother tongue.
Only 4.3% of higher educational students were ethnic Hungarians and only
1.6% of all students in Romania were studying in Hungarian. No bilingual
signs can be seen at the UBB, which likes to call itself a multicultural
institution.” 
“The best solution to overcome this would be, according to a European
model, a separate Hungarian-language university”, conference Chairman
and teacher at the UBB Political Sciences Chair Barna Bodo added. 
This could be best carried out by simply re-opening the
Hungarian-language Bolyai University (UB), a state-owned and financed
higher educational institution closed down by the communists in Cluj in
1959. He pointed out that in the context of the Romanian higher
educational system adapting to the Bologna Process, the reorganizing of
the higher educational system was a great opportunity to re-open a
Hungarian language university. He criticized the present ruling
coalition in Romania for not even mentioning the Hungarian-language
state university in its government programme.
The conference found that almost all ethnic minorities consisting of at
least 200,000 people in Europe had at least one higher educational
institution. The only exceptions were the ethnic Germans in South-Tyrol,
but in this case Italy financed their studies at German-language
universities in neighbouring Austria. The Swedish minority of Finland
and the Catalans had the highest number of universities in their native
languages. Likewise, the Hungarian-speakers in Slovakia and the
Carpathian Ukraine had independent universities. The same went for the
Albanians in Macedonia, but that they had fought hard for their
Albanian-language university in Tetovo. 
Serbia and Montenegro was one of the negative examples, because no
Hungarian-language university existed there, just a few courses at the
University of Novi Sad / Ujvidek. 
The conference adopted a draft Charter of Higher Education in
Minority-Languages in Europe based on the European Constitution and the
regulations of the Bologna Process. Originating in the principles of the
European Constitution which “respects cultural and linguistic
diversity", the Charter recommended that European states make it
possible for all those traditional ethnic minorities that had at least
100,000 members to have higher educational institutions of their own.
These universities or colleges would teach in the language of the
respective minority, in the state language and in a worldwide language
as well. The Charter enumerated the possibilities on how to set up or
develop a higher educational system in a minority-language and it
recommended legislative solutions for states on how to achieve these
goals.
However, by setting a lower limit of 100,000 the proposed Charter would
exclude some lesser-used languages and make them even more minoritised
such as Scottish Gaelic (59,000 speakers)- even though it is taught at
Scottish universities and has a dedicated Gaelic-medium campus at Sabhal
Mor Ostaig on Skye. 
The Charter will be presented to the European Parliament (EP) by MEP
Kinga GAL (Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance, Hungary) in order to make
the European Ministers of Education adapt educational policies
accordingly and the EP to enact a European framework law. The Charter
would also serve as an initiative for a resolution or recommendation of
the Council of Europe (CoE), at the next session of its Parliamentary
Assembly.
A real conference, and not a virtual one, will be organized on the same
topic next year.
Author: DIVERS

HUNGARIAN LEADER ASKS FOR SOLIDARITY ON MINORITIES LAW

BUCHAREST - Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) leader Marko Bela has
said that he would ask the leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Alliance to warn their parliamentarians on the way they will vote on the
national minorities' law.
Marko's decision was made after a Liberal senator, Mihai Dumitrescu,
voted against the draft legislation in the Senate's Culture Committee.
His vote contributed to a negative notice on the draft.
"I will ask the Liberal Democrats to show solidarity on the matter,"
Marko said. He said he was not concerned about the negative notice of
the Culture Committee. He also said he was not worried about an alleged
dispute between the ethnic Hungarian and Alliance parliamentarians on
the government responsibility.
Sources within the governing coalition has said that several UDMR
parliamentarians did not agree with the government's assuming
responsibility for the property and justice reform legislation on June
14.
Author: DIVERS

UDMR LAWMAKERS REFUSE TO SUBMIT AUTONOMY DRAFT

BUCHAREST - The Hungarian Democratic Alliance groups in Senate and the
Chamber of Deputies decided not to submit the National Szekler Council's
project for Szekler County's autonomy to Parliament. The decision was
severely criticized by the leaders of the Hungarian Civic Union in
Covasna.
Hungarian deputy Marton Arpad said his party has to focus on the
national minorities' draft law, not on the Szeklers' project. He said
this issue will be dealt with after the national minorities' law is
passed.
The head of the Hungarian Civic Union, Gazda Zoltan, said the Hungarian
Alliance's decision shows "they serve their own interests and those of
the government, not the interests of the Hungarian community."
The National Szekler Council asked Democratic Hungarian Alliance
lawmakers, particularly those from the counties of Covasna, Harghita and
Mures, to submit a draft law for Szekler County autonomy.
The Council has asked Hungarian parliamentarians to submit the draft law
last month, but their request was not answered. Therefore, the Szekler
community said this attitude strongly contradicts the Alliance's
promises during the election campaign and serves the government's
interests in stopping Szeklers' struggle for autonomy.
Author: DIVERS

HUNGARIAN CIVIC UNION OPPOSES BUDAPEST’S NATIONAL VISA PLAN

COVASNA - The Hungarian Civic Union in Covasna County said the Hungarian
government's decision to grant national visa to all Hungarian citizens
living abroad will lead to the weakening of the Hungarian community in
Transylvania by encouraging emigration.
The head of the Union, Gazda Zoltan, told a press conference last week
the national visa approved by Hungary's parliament will have a negative
effect. He also expressed surprise that even the lawmakers of the
largest opposition party in Hungary, FIDESZ, voted in favor of the visa.
Gazda said his union will ask the Hungarian parliament to grant double
citizenship to all Hungarians living abroad, without them having to
leave the region they're currently in.
He also called on the Hungarian community in Covasna not to be tricked
by this measure and to do their best to have a normal life on their
native land and not chose emigration.
The national visa lasts for five years and was designed as a replacement
for the residence permit, which is hard to obtain.
All people of Hungarian origin who want to stay in Hungary for a longer
period for various reasons will be able to apply for a national visa.
Author: DIVERS

---------------------------------
DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
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