MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 23 (151)/2005

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Tue Jun 21 18:22:01 2005


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Divers Bulletin no. 23 (151) / June 20, 2005
News

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS REMAIN DIVIDED AS REGARD THE AUTHONOMY

UDMR LEADER CALLS FOR UNITY ON MINORITIES LAW

UCM OPEN TO DIALOGUE WITH CIVIC FORUM

TRAIAN BASESCU: "WE HAVE CONSTRAINTS ON GIVING ROMANIAN CITIZENSHIP”

''ROMA PEOPLE OF THE 21st CENTURY'' – SEMINAR FOR ETHNIC ROMA IN ROMANIA

CRAIOVA MAYOR FINED AFTER INSULTING ETHNIC ROMA


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News

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS REMAIN DIVIDED AS REGARD THE AUTHONOMY

BUCHAREST - Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) group in the Chamber of 
Deputies and the Senate decided last week not to submit to the Parliament the 
law draft on the National Szeckler’s Council (CNS) on the autonomy of the 
Szeckler’s County, this decision being subsequently harshly criticized by 
several ethnic Hungarian autonomous leaders.
UDMR deputy Marton Arpad stated on Thursday, June 9, the parliamentarians of 
the Union claim that by now, this group has focused on the law draft on the 
national minorities and the Union must also focus upon this issue and not on 
CNS’s law draft.
Marton stated the law draft on the autonomy of the Szeckler’s County (a region 
in southern Transylvania were majority of the population is of ethnic Hungarian 
origin) cannot be submitted to the Parliament as it has many mistakes and its 
current draft has already been rejected by the Parliament last year.
According to UDMR deputy, subsequent to the enactment of the law draft on the 
national minorities, the next problem to be solved is that of decentralization, 
of passing a law in that respect.
The decision of UDMR parliamentarians was harshly criticized by the leadership 
of Covasna Civic Ethnic Hungarian Union. The chairman of the local branch Gazda 
Zoltan stated that through this decision, UDMR has clearly sent the message 
that UDMR dignitaries "serve their own interests and those of the Government 
and not the interests of the ethnic Hungarian community".
According to him, "the ethnic Hungarian nation is betrayed through such 
criminal and sinful actions". UCM Covasna leader stated that half a year ago, 
UDMR leaders "were shouting Autonomy for the Szeckler’s County!”, and now CNS’s 
law draft on the autonomy of the Szeckler’s County is being rejected. According 
to Gazda, despite the fact UDMR group in the Senate and in the Chamber of 
Deputies decided not to submit CNS bill to the Parliament, UCM Covasna is 
drawing the attention that through individual attention, a parliamentarian 
could honour the request of the National Szeckler’s Council. 
In answer, UDMR Sfintu Gheorghe chairman Toth Birtan Csaba stated during a 
press conference, the law on the minorities does not solve all the complaints 
of the ethnic Hungarian community in Romania, but it is “a good starting 
point''.
The leaders of the National Szeckler’s Council (CNS) summoned in an open 
letter, UDMR parliamentarians, especially those in counties Covasna, Harghita 
and Mures, to submit to the Parliament the law draft on the autonomy of the 
Szeckler’s County. CNS shows that in May, he addressed all UDMR 
parliamentarians, a request to submit the Parliament the statute of autonomy, 
but no answer was received. 
Author: DIVERS


UDMR LEADER CALLS FOR UNITY ON MINORITIES LAW

CLUJ-NAPOCA - Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) leader Marko Bela asked 
Hungarians opposed to the law for national minorities not to mislead the 
Hungarian community in Transylvania.
He said the national minorities' law draft, which was developed by his party, 
was opposed by both Romanian ultranationalists and some Hungarians who "would 
do anything to prevent it from coming in effect."
He said the Hungarians' opposition in this case is mostly directed against his 
party, not the law itself. Marko also asked those who oppose the law not to 
mislead the whole Hungarian community. 
Author: DIVERS


UCM OPEN TO DIALOGUE WITH CIVIC FORUM

GHEORGHENI - Hungarian Civic Union (UCM) Gheorgheni organization invited the 
Romanian Civic Forum from Harghita and Covasna counties to a debate in order to 
clarify aspects of its territorial autonomy.
UCM officials said they are expecting the representatives of the forum to 
contact them. According to the press office of the Romanians' Civic Forum from 
Harghita and Covasna Counties, its leaders will respond to the UCM's press 
release after consulting its members. The forum was officially constituted in 
the beginning of June and encompasses 13 foundations and associations of 
Romanians living in Harghita and Covasna counties. 
Author: DIVERS


TRAIAN BASESCU: "WE HAVE CONSTRAINTS ON GIVING ROMANIAN CITIZENSHIP”

BUCHAREST – During a meeting with the students from Faculty of Sociology in 
Bucharest president Traian Basescu stated the accession to the European Union 
required the enactment of some standards limiting the procedure to grant 
Romanian citizenship. "We have constraints on granting the Romanian 
citizenship, which we settled ourselves", said Basescu, cited by agency 
Romanian Global News. Through the signup of the Accession Treaty to the EU, 
Romania settled certain standards in the relation with the Romanian ethnics 
around the borders, especially with those in the former Romanian areas, 
Republic of Moldova (also known as Bessarabia) and Bucovina (now in Ukraine), 
seriously affected by the introduction of the visa system, the case of Ukraine 
or the re-acquirement of the Romanian citizenship, in case of Bessarabia. Most 
of the unofficial dissatisfactions showed during this conference came from the 
Romanian students in Bessarabia who "saw" the president’s intervention on 
reacquiring Romanian citizenship like an exaggerated diplomacy within the 
context that countries such as Bulgaria are having an aggressive upfront 
campaign to grant Bulgarian citizenship to the Bulgarian ethnics in Bessarabia.
Basescu explained the slow rhythm to reacquire the citizenship is caused by the 
agreements signed by Romania on rendering the Schengen area safer as well as 
the tight relations between Kishinev and Bucharest in the last seven years. The 
President tried to outline the Romanian-Moldova relationship, stressing upon 
that only complying with the sovereignty of Moldova it is reached a 
constructive dialogue. "If we start from the premise we are the same nation but 
two independent and sovereign states, we have much to gain. We settled this 
with president Voronin and I think that at that time we underwent a 
constructive dialogue based upon mutual respect. This style is preferable to a 
superior position, which has been enforced by now", also stated Basescu.
Author: DIVERS


''ROMA PEOPLE OF THE 21st CENTURY'' – SEMINAR FOR ETHNIC ROMA IN ROMANIA

BUCHAREST – The organization Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) – Center for the 
South-Eastern Europe organized on June 15 the seminar ''Ethnic Roma in the 21st 
century. Structural Funds – support of the policies for ethnic Roma'', which 
was focused on urging the implementation of the National Plan to Develop the 
Structural Funds of the EU in the field of policies for this ethnic minority.
Especially meant to eliminate the discrimination and to improve the ethnic Roma 
poor living conditions, the structural funds could be accessed for the benefit 
of the ethnic Roma in our country, immediately after the accession in 2007, 
provided the authorities hurry up. 
Representatives of the directly involved funds, Ministries of Labour and Public 
Finances, UNDP, National Council to Fight Discrimination as well as the non-
governmental organizations of the ethnic Roma approached issues such as: 
existence of a strategy on the ethnic Roma community and whether this has the 
expected impact upon the difficult situations of the ethnic Roma in Romania, 
the way there are accomplished the national and regional consultations on these 
issues between the main players involved or the way the ethnic Roma themselves 
collaborate to draw up the National Plan and the Operational Program etc.
Out of the communitarian perspective, the funds – about EUR14 bn stipulated for 
this sector for the stage 2007-2013 – are meant only for the economic increase, 
job recruitment and not for the passive social support (social aids, pensions, 
allowances etc.) or for the construction of houses, for example. Thus, the 
important problems of the community connected to the weak professional 
training, the restrained access to the properly paid jobs or to education are 
solved with money from the European Community.
''Undoubtedly, the European Commission and the European Parliament are giving 
special care to the problems of the ethnic Roma in the countries that have 
recently adhered or are about to adhere to the Union. Many improvements have 
been registered in the past years and many problems are still to be solved 
among the community in Romania. We all realize the situation of the ethnic Roma 
could not be rapidly solved but the correct use of the Structural Funds will 
bring about a radical change'', stated PER chairman Livia Plaks.
The Development Plan must be finalized by 2006 and the negotiations must start 
up at Brussels, for the ethnic Roma to benefit from these funds immediately 
after the accession. ''Romania is moving too slowly as regards the funds 
management. We want to boost the development of the action plan. There is still 
a discrepancy between the political declarations in Bucharest and the reality 
of the ethnic Roma living status – this is not only the case of Romania. 
Everything can be solved with political will. Unless we stipulate a special 
chapter for the ethnic Roma in the National Plan, the funds can be used for 
everything else except for changing the faith of the community'', also said 
Silvia Plaks.
For the time being, in Romania, the ethnic Roma are officially declared ''a 
disadvantaged social group subjected to the exclusion'', and at the level of 
the Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family and Ministry of Finances, 
starting May 2004, there have been established inter-institutional working 
groups specialized on each of the main problems of the community.
Author: DIVERS


CRAIOVA MAYOR FINED AFTER INSULTING ETHNIC ROMA

BUCHAREST – National Council to Fight Discrimination (CNCD) penalized Antonie 
Solomon, the mayor of Craiova (southern Romania) with a fine of ROL15 mn (some 
Eur 400). In an interview given to a central daily, Solomon also referred to 
some of the ethnic Roma who live in the same city as he does, according to 
CNCD, "in an offending and insulting manner", which created "a hostile and 
degrading atmosphere". Solomon relapsed after having previously 
made "discriminatory statements regarding some African football players of FC 
Universitatea Craiova". 
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 Center. Partial or full 
reproduction of the information contained in DIVERS is allowed only if the 
source is mentioned. You can send messages and suggestions regarding the 
content of DIVERS bulletin at MEDIAFAX, Str. Tudor Arghezi, Nr. 3B, Sector 2 - 
Bucharest, tel: 021/ 305.31.91 or at the e-mail address: divers@mediafax.ro 
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