As prefects have repeatedly done in the past few years, the prefect of Covasna county once again fined Árpád Antal, the mayor of Sfântu Gheorghe/Sepsiszentgyörgy, with a total amount of 10 000 lei. Iulian Constantin Todor fined the mayor for decorating the city with the colours of the Hungarian flag, on the occasion of the March 15th celebrations, and for failing to put up a Romanian flag next to each Hungarian flag and cockade.

The use of flags in Romania is regulated by Law nr. 75 of 1994, which establishes the correct use of the Romanian and other national flags during the visits of official foreign delegations. However, during their events, national minorities can use their own symbols freely, as stipulated in Government Resolutions 1157/2001 and 223/2002. The fact that each year the Romanian government conflates the Hungarian national colours, used by our community to symbolise our belonging to the Hungarian nation, with the state symbols of Hungary, is a false equivalence. Romanians living outside the country also use the Romanian national colours during their various events, which does not mean that on such occasions they are representing the Romanian state.

This measure, which dampens commemorations each year, is aggravated by the fact that even during a global health crisis the local representative of the government is preoccupied with counting the Hungarian flags in the city, and takes every opportunity to penalise the leaders of the Hungarian community. This is evidenced by the fact that this new fine is registered under number 1, meaning that the first and only issue the prefect’s office deemed to be problematic this year so far has been the Hungarian national day celebration.

Prefects have been fining the mayors who decorated their localities with Hungarian flags for March 15th celebrations since 2018.