The Cluj Court of Appeal annulled a 2015 fine given to Gheorghe Funar, known for his extreme nationalism, formerly the mayor of Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár, by the National Council for Combatting Discrimination, after the said politician called Hungarian the language of horses during a debate on television in 2014.

Gheorghe Funar ran for president in 2014 as an independent candidate, and appeared as a guest on Romanian public television (TVR), together with Barna Tánczos, a senator from the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ). After Tánczos greeted viewers both in Romanian and Hungarian, Funar asked the host of the programme to reprimand the senator:

“Inform the interlocutor sitting on my right that we live in Romania (…), and ask him not to use a single word in the language of the horses, because the official language in Romania is Romanian. In Budapest he can speak Hungarian, here he should speak Romanian. If I become the president of Romania, I can assure you, no-one will speak Hungarian. Not on Romanian television either.”

Senator Tánczos lodged a complaint against the extremist politician at the National Council for Combatting Discrimination (CNCD), which in March of 2015 decided to fine Funar with a total of 2000 RON (appr. 420 euros). Funar challenged the decision in court, and after 5 years of litigation, last week the Cluj Court of Appeal decided in favour of the plaintive, forcing the CNCD and Barna Tánczos to pay for Funar’s legal expenses.

The National Council for Combatting Discrimination declared that they will appeal the decision.