MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 16 (144)/2005

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Sat May 7 10:49:42 2005


Original sender: Divers Bulletin <edivers_buletin-admin@mediafax.ro>


Divers Bulletin no. 16 (144) / May 4, 2005

News
DISAGREEMENT IN THE RULING COALITION OVER DRAFT ON ETHNIC MINORITIES LAW
UDMR SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT’S PROPERTY LAWS...
...BUT DISAGREES WITH FORMER RULING PARTY OVER DEVELOPMENT AREAS
UDMR ASKS FOR POSITIONS OF AMBASSADORS AND CONSULS FOR ETHNIC HUNGARIANS
BILINGUAL ID CARDS FOR LOCAL COUNCILORS
OPPOSITION LEADER ASKS FOR POSITIONS IN THE PARLIAMENT OF HUNGARY FOR
ROMANIAN MINORITY
ETHNIC ROMA PUPILS TO BE TRAINED THROUGH A SPECIAL PROGRAM
ROMANIAN MAYOR FINED FOR RACIST COMMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------------

News

DISAGREEMENT IN THE RULING COALITION OVER DRAFT ON ETHNIC MINORITIES LAW

BUCHAREST - Marko Bela, leader of the Hungarian Democratic Alliance in
Romania (UDMR), has declared that there are divergent opinions in the
governing coalition on the draft legislation on minority rights,
especially on the issue of decision making rights in education, culture
and the press.

He said the coalition partners seemed unwilling to grant minorities
rights of decision in the respective fields, favoring merely
consultation rights. Bela said the version of the legislation favored by
his party would provide important solutions for all minorities in
general, and in particular for the Hungarian minority, since it would
give the opportunity to participate in decision making on cultural
identity in key areas - education(in the mother tongue) and culture.

The UDMR leader added that the ratification of this draft law would
grant the principle of cultural autonomy.
The government has decided to ask the view of both the Venice Committee
and the National Minorities' High Chancellery with the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about the legislation draft on
national minorities. In the meantime, the legislation will be forwarded
to the government and then sent to parliament.

UDMR announced in mid-February that they would present a draft law to
Parliament to regulate the status of national minorities and to set up
the proper legal environment for cultural autonomy.

Laszlo Tokes, leader of the National Council of Hungarians in
Transylvania, also criticized the coalition, including the UDMR, for
"trying to create a fake alternative to autonomy." Presidential Advisor
Theodor Stolojan recently said he is confident a solution will be found
to overcome the divergences within the coalition on legislation for
minorities. 
Author: DIVERS


UDMR SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT’S PROPERTY LAWS...

BUCHAREST - Ethnic Hungarians support the government's move to draft a
new set of laws governing property rights and its commitment to complete
property restitution.

Hungarian Democratic Alliance in Romania (UDMR)'s Marko Bela stressed
the importance of the authorities' declaration of responsibility, which
sends a "clear message" on property restitution issues. This new set of
laws should solve the problems of contradictory interpretation of the
existing legislation for the authorities in charge of property
restitution cases.

Several cases of properties claimed by the former owners have not been
solved up to now, because of lack of clarity in current legislation.

Marko added that the new legislation would complete the return of
properties confiscated by the communists and stabilize property rights,
improving investment possibilities too, since the property market will
be more stable. UDMR Members of Parliament met Bogdan Olteanu, minister
for relations with parliament, and Gheorghe Flutur, minister of
Agriculture, to discuss the Tariceanu administration's set of laws
intended to reinforce property rights.

Last month, the Liberals announced they were developing a package of
laws to regulate the general framework of property restitution issues.
Liberal leader and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, said his
party will support the idea of complete property restitution (restitutio
in integrum) as opposed to material damages for all nationalized
properties (houses and lands confiscated by the Communists between 1945
and 1989), including those that currently serve as headquarters for
parties, embassies, or state institutions.

Consequently, organizations currently based in nationalized buildings
will either have to move or pay rent to the rightful owner, he said.

The current law states that nationalized buildings hosting such
institutions will not be returned to their previous owners, but that
instead the state will pay damages.

The government announced a financial mechanism last month, which could
help facilitate the return of real-estate properties nationalized by the
communist regime prior to December 22, 1989. The government will create
an investment fund using shares held by ministries in various companies
and state owned debts in other countries, while shares will be available
on national and international capital markets. A draft law on the issue
was finalized by groups of specialists from the ministries involved and
was coordinated by the minister delegate for Parliament, Bogdan Olteanu. 
Author: DIVERS


...BUT DISAGREES WITH FORMER RULING PARTY OVER DEVELOPMENT AREAS

BUCHAREST - Reorganization of economic development zones could endanger
Romania's accession to the EU, according to the former prefect of
Covasna County and local Social Democrat Party (PSD) vice president,
Horia Grama.

The current regional development strategy was based on European Union
grants and aid which would fail to achieve its objectives in case of a
reorganization of the regions.

PSD Covasna president Adrian Vlad Casuneanu accused the Hungarian
Democratic Alliance (UDMR) of trying to gain support for their
reorganizing strategy within the government. The PSD leader expressed
hope that the UDMR's policy actually aimed at founding the Szeklers'
County development region and their intention was based on economic
objectives and not for autonomy.

UDMR president Marko Bela, after the party's Council of representatives'
meeting in April, said the UDMR would not give up its demand for the
reorganization of economical development regions.

The UDMR chief said that the status of these development zones was an
issue and Romania's policies had been affected by critical statements
from the EU and concerns that European funds for these zones could be
affected as a result of reorganization. Marko further his party will not
abandon its reorganization demands because the current development zones
were not working. 
Author: DIVERS


UDMR ASKS FOR POSITIONS OF AMBASSADORS AND CONSULS FOR ETHNIC HUNGARIANS

TIRGU MURES – UDMR has candidates capable to fulfill the positions of
ambassadors and consuls and submitted a request in that respect to the
Presidency of Romania, stated on Saturday, April 23, during a press
conference, UDMR chairman Marko Bela. ''We should have ethnic Hungarians
among our ambassadors. There will no be UDMR ambassadors but ambassadors
devoted to Romania. I took and I will take actions as Romania did not
have diplomats among the ethnic Hungarians minority'', stated Marko
Bela. 
Author: DIVERS


BILINGUAL ID CARDS FOR LOCAL COUNCILORS

TIRGU MURES - Local councilors of Tirgu Mures (central Romania) voted to
have their official identity cards printed in both Romanian and
Hungarian. The vote came after council members of the Hungarian
Democratic Alliance, who hold a majority, submitted a proposal asking
for ID cards in both languages. Some ethnic Romanian members of the
council objected to the proposal, saying it would have been better if
the second language for the ID cards was English or any of the other
international languages. 
Author: DIVERS


OPPOSITION LEADER ASKS FOR POSITIONS IN THE PARLIAMENT OF HUNGARY FOR
ROMANIAN MINORITY

SATU MARE – The chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Adrian Nastase
stated on April 27 that he asked his ethnic Hungarian counterpart Szili
Katalin to amend the Law on the minorities in Hungary, so that the
Romanian minority is represented in the Parliament from Budapest.

Nastase met in Nyregyhaza city from Hungary the chairman of the
Hungarian Parliament Szili Katalin, according to the calendar in 2003,
which stipulates exchanges and periodical meetings between the
representatives of the parliaments in the two countries.

"Unfortunately, the Hungarian Parliament has been expecting a law
enabling the representation of the ethnic minorities in Hungary within
the Parliament of Hungary”, stated the chairman of the Chamber of
Deputies when coming back from Hungary.

In order to enact such a law it is required a two-thirds majority.
Nastase said his ethnic Hungarian counterpart promised "he will deploy
all the efforts this law is soon passed by the Parliament in Budapest”.
On the meeting, Nastase also talked about the problem of the funds that
should get to the national minorities within some programs helping them
to keep the national identity. 
Author: DIVERS


ETHNIC ROMA PUPILS TO BE TRAINED THROUGH A SPECIAL PROGRAM

BUCHAREST – Association Ovidiu Rom and firm Nobel Romania launched on
April 27 the project “Nobel Kids” by means of which 30 socially
underprivileged ethnic Roma pupils from a school in Bucharest will be
helped to improve their future perspectives through taking part in an
interactive program to learn informatics and English language.

The 30 pupils with ages between 8 and 12 years old will have intensive
courses of English language held by a teacher assisted by voluntaries
whose mother tongue is English as well as interactive computer classes. 
They will correspond through email, in English, with the employees of
Nobel corporation in California, stressing out upon the intercultural
exchange and upon changing the children’s life mentality. “Bucharest is
a city with a developing economy but in the peripheral area lacking the
social support, many families have a low education level and neglect the
opportunities their children could have through proper training. Within
a civil society, the entire community is in charge with making sure that
all children benefit from healthy food, education, medical assistance
and from the opportunity to develop the potential as adults”, stated
Alina Seghedi, director of Association Ovidiu Rom. 

She hopes the success of this program makes other corporations in
Romania sponsor similar programs. 
Association Ovidiu Rom has experience in promoting equal opportunities
through education for the underprivileged persons through the deployment
of such a program. 
Author: DIVERS


ROMANIAN MAYOR FINED FOR RACIST COMMENTS

BUCHAREST - A Romanian mayor has been fined 10 million lei (US$350)
after he made racist comments about a black player in his town's local
team, AP reports. Antonie Solomon, who is mayor in the southern city of
Craiova, made a racial slur against a black player from Universitatea
Craiova that was reported in the media on April 20.

"The comments violated the rights of players of African origin," the
National Council for Fighting Discrimination, the government body which
imposed the fine, said in a statement. 

Solomon has apologized for his comments, saying he was angry when he
talked to journalists and that he has no problem with black players. "I
was a fool ... I deserve this fine," Solomon said.

Romanian soccer has come under criticism from civic groups for
widespread acism at games. The soccer federation ordered Bucharest clubs
Steaua and Rapid last week o play their next league matches behind
closed doors after fans chanted acist slogans at each other in a recent
game. 
Author: DIVERS


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