Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Romania Opposes Collective Minority Rights


Romania will not allow collective rights for the country's ethnic minorities, President Traian Basescu said on Monday. "We support individual rights for minorities, such as the right to study in their mother tongue, or to be politicaly represented in the Parliament", Basescu said during a visit to Hungary.

"But, according to the Constitution, we will not allow any claim for teritorial autonomy".

Ethnic minorities enjoy a wide range of rights in Romania, Basescu added. He said he supported cultural autonomy but warned that that could also lead to isolation of an ethnic minority.

About seven percent of Romania's 22 million people are ethnic Hungarian, most of them living in the central Transylvanian counties. Some 600,000 Szeklers - another name for the Hungarians of this region, where they are the majority - have long campaigned for an autonomous region in Transylvania.

Transylvania became part of Romania after Hungary emerged on the losing side of the First World War in 1918.

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