Open Letter to Mr. Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania

Mr. Prime Minister!

You have recently published your plan on dividing Romania into regions. This plan suggests, that you wish to go beyond your political opponents, who “only” wanted to assimilate Szeklerland into one larger region. Like them, you also seem to forget that both proposals violate Romania’s international commitments, and that the country’s administrative map cannot be redrawn while ignoring the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
We would like to remind you that a reform that would create administrative regions greater than the actual counties, must take into account the will of the local communities, and regional boundaries cannot be assigned without consulting the affected communities through referendum. We Szeklers, the majority inhabitants of Szeklerland, will not vote for any draft law that would either divide Szeklerland, or assimilate it into a greater administrative unit.
You must also have in mind the fact that the creation of new regions also affects the designation of statistical regions, which were imposed by the EU in its member states, as tools of its cohesion policy, which may not be used as a weapon against peoples living on the member states’ territory, but with language and culture different from the majority inhabitants of those countries.
Furthermore, Regulation No 1059/2003 of the European Union, on the creation of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (referred to in Romania as development regions), declares that these regions “must reflect economic, social, historical, cultural, geographical or environmental circumstances”.
It is due to this specification that South Tyrol, Valle d'Aosta, Friuli-Venezia- Giulia, Corsica, Sardinia, Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia, Friesland and Brittany have become individual NUTS 2 regions. Romania is the only country in Europe that ignored the historical, cultural, geographical criteria, and forced Szeklerland into a greater region, where the Szekler-Hungarian community, which forms a majority of 75% in Szeklerland, became a minority of less than 30% in the region. The proposal you presented is intended to make our situation even worse, by blowing apart the historically, culturally and linguistically uniform Szeklerland.
The quoted EU regulation also states that the NUTS classification should not be changed too often; it must remain stable. Your draft is very unlikely to provide long-term stability, as it is not based on social cohesion, the solidarity of the inhabitants of the region, and linguistic, cultural, social, and geographical unity, but rather, nationalism, raised to the rank of state politics.
Let us remind you that Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to destroy the villages in order to remove all the monuments, churches and cemeteries of several thousand Hungarian villages from Romania’s map, to destroy all evidence of Hungarian presence in Transylvania. He did not consider that he’s not only acting against the Hungarians, but against the whole of Romania, against his own people. Likewise, your plan contradicts economical rationality; it will not advance, but rather, make it impossible for the EU cohesion policy to be realized in Romania, and will push the country into a deeper crisis, for which you and your government will be responsible.
Finally, let me assure you that we Szeklers will not allow our homeland to fall victim to incompetence and hate. If needed, we will make use of means of civil disobedience, to preserve Szeklerland’s unity.
There is however another way for the administrative reform, that is more advantageous for Romania. If your government wishes to respect Romania’s constitution and all the international treaties Romania has adhered to, then you should consider the report of the expert committee led by professor Ioan Stanomir as the starting point of the administrative reform, and this can be a basis of dialog and cooperation. We are ready for dialog and cooperation, but only if your policy will be based on the free will of the local communities, the solidarity and constructive cooperation between citizens.
The responsibility of the choice is yours, Mr. Prime Minister: dialog and social peace, or the deepening of ethnic tensions. We stand by the side of peace, dialog and cooperation.
Finally, we would like to remind you that the Szekler people, and their homeland, Szeklerland, will be a living reality, even long after the proposals for our assimilation and dispersion will be forgotten.

Izsák Balázs
President of the Szekler National Council
Marosvásárhely - Targu Mures
The 13th of May 2012
Information about Szeklerland and szeklers
Szeklerland in the communist era

 Fig. 1. In 1952 the Hungarian Autonomous Province (which covered Szeklerland) was created in Romania

 Fig. 2. In 1960 the Hungarian Autonomous Province is reshaped in a way that causes the percentage of Hungarian inhabitants to decrease, And is renamed Mures-Hungarian Autonomous Province. In 1968 Nicolae Ceausescu dissolves the province and introduces the county system that remains in use until today.

Fig. 3. Romania’s current administrative divisions and NUTS2 regions

Fig. 4. Transylvania and the Central Region. The Szeklers live on the territory of  Kovászna, Hargita and  Maros counties. Traian Basescu and the PDL government intended to turn the NUTS 2 regions into administrative units, and at the same time, eliminate the counties.

      Fig. 5. Szekler population the three counties: Kovászna, Hargita and Maros

Fig. 6. The USL (Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s party) plans for the new administrative regions. Maros, Kovászna and Hargita counties (marked with the blue borders) would be divided between three different administrative regions. The figures in each county represent the GDP of the county.

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