As we have reported in our recent newsletters, anti-Hungarian statements made by Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis on April 29th shocked the approximately 1.2 million Hungarians living in the country. The President showcased his most primitive, aggressive and cynical side, in a statement unprecedented in Romania since the regime change.
Following this speech, and after receiving several complaints, the National Council for Combatting Discrimination (CNDC) thoroughly investigated the matter and its deciding committee found, in an overwhelming majority, that the President did in fact deliver an offensive, discriminatory statement targeting Hungarians. They fined President Iohannis with a total of 5000 RON (1000 euros).
In an announcement following the Council’s decision, the Office of the President stated that Iohannis rejects the fine given to him by the CNDC for his anti-Hungarian statements, and will challenge the decision in court. Subsequently, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, a fellow party member of Iohannis, launched a political attack against the CNDC, arguing that the fine given to the President was unjust. Hunor Kelemen, the president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) reacted by saying that instead of challenging the decision, the President should apologize for his instigatory speech.
According to the Prime Minister, the CNDC is under the influence of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and the President’s remarks were not discriminatory, but in fact unveiled the “complicity” between PSD and RMDSZ. In Ludovic Orban’s view the biggest sin of the Social Democratic Party is that they voted for a law, which would make the use of minority languages compulsory everywhere in the country – an openly false claim, as the legislative proposal he refers to contains no such provisions.
By making these statements, the Prime Minister, as the second highest ranking official in the country, joins the President in creating and intensifying the anti-Hungarian atmosphere of recent weeks in Romania.