Recent years, but especially the last two years have been marked by so far failed attempts to update linguistic rights for national minorities in Romania. One such initiative was blocked in Parliament in 2017, while another one, an attempt to adopt an Administrative Code, was initially adopted by Parliament in the summer of 2018, then contested by opposition parties, as well as the President, and it was eventually declared unconstitutional in its entirety by the Constitutional Court, based on procedural grounds.
Now the government is preparing to once again adopt the Administrative Code through an emergency decree, but without several of the favourable clauses from the original text that were meant to strengthen linguistic rights for national minorities. Among the provisions that were left out of this new draft is also one that would have made it mandatory to write the names of streets, squares and parks in a minority language as well, if the given minority exceeds the threshold of 20%. Other important provisions left out include making application forms available in minority languages and introducing alternative thresholds for the implementation of linguistic rights.
In its current form the Administrative Code is unacceptable, says senator Attila Cseke from the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), who is a member of the parliament committee that drafted the original text of the Code. “The government disregards the work of the parliament” – said Cseke, adding that none of the provisions regarding minority language use that were included in the original text at the proposal of RMDSZ appear in the current draft of the Administrative Code. The only acceptable solution according to the senator is to reinsert the said provisions that had previously been adopted by the parliament.