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Deputy PM Kelemen on Szeklerland autonomy: No encroachment on Romanian state's unity whatsoever

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Kelemen Hunor

Touching on the controversial subject of the autonomy of the Szeklerland, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor told an Antena 3 TV show on Tuesday evening that no form of autonomy encroaches on the unity of the Romanian state and on territorial integrity.

"We have always said, and I agree with you that this needs an extremely balanced and well-grounded approach, and every time one must say that neither local, nor regional autonomy, no form of autonomy encroaches on the unity of the Romanian state and territorial integrity whatsoever. This is what must be made clear every time, and whenever we are having a serious talk, with arguments, about any form of subsidiarity or autonomy, I try to begin with this phrase: it does not encroach on territorial integrity and national unity," Kelemen Hunor said.

The UDMR leader emphasized that autonomy means subsidiarity and bringing decision-making at community level, not secessionism.

"Universities are autonomous, there are autonomous corporations, there is no secessionism here. Autonomy means that you decide about your own life. As for this idea of subsidiarity, this is true for every local community, not just for Szeklerland or a particular part of the country. But where Hungarians or other ethnic communities live, yes, there is another issue as well - linguistic competence, this is something on top of the aspects to handle in Oltenia, Moldova, or Muntenia: linguistic competence in relation with the authorities, beyond school, beyond cultural institutions. Otherwise things should go hand in hand: decisions left in the hands of local communities in most areas, with only few exceptions, that's what I've said every time. Foreign affairs, Defense, Public Order must always remain with the central authority. That's what we are talking about," the Deputy Prime Minister explained.

He pointed out that Szeklerland belongs to Romania, just like Motilor Land, Dobrogea or other regions, and that several regional identities coexist in Romania.

Kelemen also referred to the statements made in April by President Klaus Iohannis, that the Social Democrats had allegedly agreed with UDMR to "give Transylvania away to the Hungarians" and said that he maintains his opinion that the head of the state was wrong, but that this was part of the election campaign, yet cannot be forgotten.

He also mentioned that he has proposed that the issue of the Hungarian minority be left off limits in the internal political debates and battles, because every time it causes tension and questioning of the loyalty of the Hungarians in Romania.

Regarding the use of the Szekler flag, the UDMR leader insisted that it is part of the symbolism of a Romanian community and "is not against Romanians or Romania", just as "the Szeklers are not against Romanians and Romania."

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