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Central Eastern Europe, Post-Communist Romania, Post-Communist Slovakia, Slovakia and Hungary relations, Transition in Post-Communist States

Question of Hungarian Minority in post-communist Slovakia and Romania in the light of Euro-Atlantic integration: Comparative analysis

Authors: Milan Milenković and Miloš Janicki

Publihshed by Evrodijalog: Journal for European Issues, VOL 14, pg. 113-132

Abstract:

Slovakia and Romania are typical examples of post-communistic states that experienced difficulties and challenges of nationalism in the period of transformation. New regimes try to cope with challenges, among which minority issue was the most difficult one. In this paper the authors try to present an answer to the question, if nationalism can successfully deal with minority rights and what was the impact of the foreign factor – political and economic integration of these states in institutions such as CoE, EU and NATO, in the process of improving position of the minorities. Hungary was the first to realize that only the deepening of cooperation with EU[1] and not nationalistic approach will help in resolving the problems of its own minority in neighbouring states. By comparing situation in Slovakia, Romania and Hungary in period after the fall of communism, the authors conclude that relations between those countries, as well as relations of majority and minorities inside the countries normalized only after messages and “advices“ from EU were correctly interpreted. Crucial role was played by French minister Balladur’s proposal of Stability Pact in Europe that has helped in enhancing mutual interstate relation of the three respective states and by doing so decreased the tensions of minorities in the countries.

Introduction

 The collapse of communism brought new challenges upon the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from major difficulties caused by the necessity of economic transformation, minority issues that were not correctly addressed by former governments emerged in the new political reality. In this part of Europe the Hungarian minority is a specific case, since large number (more than 2 million) live along the border of neighbouring Romania and Slovakia.

For new political elites in these countries, nationalism became the easiest way for getting support in the democratic elections and strengthening the seized power afterwards. But, nationalism of post-communist states soon became a Pandora’s Box from which many uncontrolled and extreme organizations, events, and figures emerged. One of the negative consequences of state building was acts of repression and intolerance towards national minorities.

With the breakout of wars in Yugoslavia, it soon became evident that juncture of minority question and nationalism can produce serious tensions which can even lead to armed conflict and boarder changes.[3] Positive distinction from Yugoslavia was that these three states – Slovakia, Romania and Hungary – involved in this issue, badly wanted to escape from “East” to “West” and in the legitimization of that goal they needed a membership in the international organizations such as OSCE, CoE, NATO and EU. The question of Hungarian minority was one of the biggest obstacles for establishing relations between these countries and with Euro-Atlantic institutions.

In this article we will try to depict how nationalist regimes of these countries coped with the problem of Hungarian minorities. The article will discuss: a) relevant minority policies in communism (as legacy), b) position of the new establishment on minority issues (use and, as the article will show, even abuse of the issue) c) when, how and why minority policies reached their worst climax, d) what was the role of EU and NATO, and e) when and how was stabilization reached.

In our research we paid significant attention to adopted laws, political proclamations and agreements signed between the states. Relations of the three states with NATO and EU are the keystones of the article, since the posed argument here is that international organizations in many aspects positively influenced proclaimed goals of governments and political rhetoric and ideology of state officials and parties.

The research studied the publications about Hungarian minority from the period overviewed in the article, but also more contemporary materials that provide certain historical distance. Attention was paid not only to monographic publications but also to official reports of European organizations as well as reports of NGOs and Helsinki Human Rights Watch reports.

The study is approached using historical comparison of the two states and theories of Europeanisation in the sense of the need for systematic transformation and structural accommodation in the process of transition and integration, since the Council of Europe (CoE) and the OSCE have shifted from non-discrimination of minorities to requiring states to actively preserve and support minority language and culture (Deets, Stroschein p. 289). EU functioning as a role model for Romania and Slovakia indirectly required major harmonization of policies and implementation of norms and European values to end their isolation.

Subject is analyzed in the time frame between the consolidation of the first free elected governments after 1989 and the period when tensions weakened causing (or caused by) government changes in Slovakia (1998) and Romania (1996).

 

1. HUNGARIAN MINORITIES IN POST COMMUNIST SLOVAKIA

 

Hungarian Minority in Communist Czechoslovakia

Hungarians restored their civil rights in Czechoslovakia after 1948, and most of those who were deported during World War II (WWII) were allowed to return to Slovakia. However, their property losses were never restituted. Hungarian language was reintroduced in schools in 1949. The 1960 constitution recognized (Kovrig, p.43-44) minority rights to cultural development and education in their mother tongue.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s de-Stalinisation, which took place in Warsaw Pact states, had an impact on gradually restoring education in Hungarian language in Slovakia. One of the biggest achievements was the passing of the Constitutional Act No. 144 during the Prague Spring 1968. It was a very progressive act for its time and it recognized the rights of national minorities (Henderson, p.74).

Those achievements were refuted during the 1970s and marked as Anti-Leninists. State investments in Hungarian districts were sharply reduced and more courses taught in Slovak language were introduced in the minority schools. This trend provoked response from Hungarians that created a Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Hungarian Minority in Czechoslovakia under the leadership of Miklós Duray in 1978. In 1982, he was arrested and tried on charges of conducting bourgeois nationalist activities. By that time, promotion of human rights in the Soviet block was intensified under the provisions of the Helsinki agreements. Because of this and the presence of foreign observers, he was freed without a verdict. The same scenario was repeated in 1984, when Hungarians mounted public protests against a draft bill that they considered would further reduce their education facilities. Oppression of minority rights continued afterwards in different ways: Hungarians were not allowed to use their mother tongue in administrative dealings and they were pressured to slovakize their given names, and even the Hungarian names of geographical places were removed from signs (Kovrig p.44-45).

 

From Revolution to the last Mečiar’s Government

As soon as the revolution ended, Hungarian minority started-up cultural organizations and political parties. Good signals were coming from Bratislava and Prague. President Havel promised the formation of Ministry for minorities and support for setting up a Hungarian language university in Slovakia.[4] Good relations among Slovaks and Hungarians lasted until the first elections in June 1990. Until then, they had common goal in removing communists from power. The regular contact between Slovak and Hungarian political leaders were common as were the regular friendly meetings between president of Hungary, A. Gonz and president of Slovak National Council, F. Mikloško. Positive signal (Toma and Kovac, p.289-290) was the appointment of Sándor Varga (Hungarian) as Slovakia’s deputy prime minister in charge of nationality affairs. But it turned out that he was an exception.

Negative signals came from Slovakia when demand of Hungarian minority for opening University entirely taught in Hungarian language was rejected in Slovak National Council, followed with closing down Hungarian language schools and several sporadic anti-Hungarian protests. Tensions worsened with the adaptation of “language law”[5] in 1990 (Ibid, p.291-292).

The first party to raise the issue of Hungarian minority was Slovak National Party (SNP). Before the elections[6] in 1990, their political rhetoric was based on description of Slovak history as an oppressed nation who first suffered from Hungarians and later from the Czechs. Since the elections were supposed to be held in two years this issue remained unresolved and not as important as the future of Czechoslovakia itself. New nationalist trend adopted by SNP was also embraced by Mečiar’s Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (MDS)[7] which emerged from Public Against Violence Party (VPN).

In 1993, the Council of Europe (Ibid, p.321) reported violations of minority rights in Slovakia. They included forcible removal of place signs in Hungarian language; a ban on the use of Hungarian first names in birth registries and proposed gerrymandering of administrative districts to weaken the political representation of Hungarian minorities. Recommendation 1201 on rights of national minorities issued by CoE in 1993 provided a framework for future treaties between Hungary and Slovakia and also between Hungary and Romania.

 

Total Nationalism – Last Government of Mečiar

After the elections in 1994, Mečiar was forced to add another party in his coalition beside nationalists SNP, and that was the Association for Workers of Slovakia – AWF, a “nonstandard, chaotic, populist party of the left” (Ibid, p.303). These two parties since then often expressed political attitudes against Euro-atlantic integration of Slovakia. The last Mečiar’s Government was the most authoritarian and most radical one, therefore the oppression toward Hungarian minority only prolonged. Not only were the acts of the government damaging interethnic relation but the rhetoric with which they spoke as well.

Infamous for such rhetoric was the leader of SNP, Jan Slota who was the chairman of Žilina. In April 1998, he called for changing the Slovak Constitution so that only Slovak public schools would exist in Slovakia and the citizenship would be modified in a way that every citizen of Slovakia would be defined as a Slovak (Ibid, p.296). Hungarians were refereed in unveiled animosity and there was a negative characterization of everything Hungarian in Slovak history as well. (Henderson, p.77)

The new State Language Law was adopted in 1995, and it was even stricter for using minority language than the previous one, adopted five years before. By this law, Slovakian language was to be used in all spheres of life. Critiques which came from Hungarian parties were neglected same as the criticism of the Council of Europe and EU. Although this law was amended a year after and its modified draft allowed usage of minority rights in press, its undemocratic substance remained intact (Toma and Kovac, p.293). This law had even put Slovak nation/identity under the state and police protection and by this, a large population was excluded from enjoying full civil rights. (Samson, p.367)

Next law, which was considered unfriendly for Hungarian minority was the Law on new territorial and administrative management of Slovak Republic. By this law, 8 larger administrative units were created in which ethnic Hungarians were precluded from having either majority or even a large presentation.[8] Another clear attack on minority rights in Slovakia was recorded when Mečiar’s Government drastically cut the state grants for minority culture development. They also announced that certificates for graduations and grades can only be printed in Slovak language despite the large number of minorities present in some schools (Toma and Kovac, p.294).

Still, this Government was involved in the Stability Pact, and has had signed bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, including Hungary.[9] This agreement included big improvement of minority rights in Slovakia, but it took more than one year to ratify it. Due to the pressure from SNP, amendments that were introduced did not recognize collective rights of Hungarian minority.

 

Factor EU and NATO: Stabilisation of Slovakia

While Mečiar’s governments proclaimed membership in EU and NATO to be their strategic goal, Slovakia, from all Višegrad 4 states, had most difficulties in joining these organizations. His authoritarian regime was often criticized in the west and one of the culmination was when in 1997, Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary of state, went as far as to call Slovakia “a hole on the map of Europe.” (Kukan, p. 20)

European Agreement was signed in October 1993, and has been in force since February 1995. In 1997 EU refused to open negotiation talks because of the violations of the rules settled in the EA. Samson noticed that: “Slovak policy toward its ethnic’s minorities has been the greatest stumbling block to meeting the EU admission criteria”. (Samson, p.367)

Slovakia joined Partnership for peace, NATO programme in 1994. ‘Study on NATO enlargement’ issued in 1995 was very critical about policies towards minorities of Slovakia, warning the government that full membership would be unrealistic, if significant change in legislation is not achieved (Chapter 1,2,3 Study on NATO enlargement). But since little was done in this direction, on NATO summit in Madrid in 1997 Slovakia was the only state from V4 that was not called to open negotiations for joining this organization and “slipped silently back into invisibility” (Henderson, p.100). Slovakia ignored warnings from the USA about undemocratic practices of its Government, because Mečiar considered that geopolitical position of Slovakia was enough for NATO membership. This 1997 integration collapse was described as “a failure of the western policy”. (Samson, p.366)

One of the reasons why Slovakia didn’t understand signals and messages coming from the EU and NATO[10] could be found in geopolitical analysis conducted by two agencies (under the government) in 1990, which greatly influenced later foreign policy of Slovakia.[11] This is one of the reasons why Mečiar’s regime didn’t accept warnings as a threat to its political stability (Ibid, p.373).

After Mečiar lost the elections, new Slovakian government under Dzurinda, has done a lot on the improvement of Slovakian image in neighbouring states, international community and its Hungarian minority (Henderson, p.48). Government of Dzurinda was characterized by the shift from ethnic nationalism to civic patriotism (Duin, Poláčková, p. 343). The status of Hungarians improved in many ways – Party of the Hungarian Coalition – SMK for the first time in history joined Slovakian government, gaining over 10 percent of the popular vote at the parliamentary elections. With SMK, Government ruling majority had three-fifths in Parliament, which gave them opportunity for much needed constitutional changes. Preparation for revision of problematic laws started facing loud antagonism from the nationalistic opposition.

The New Minority Language Law has been drafted by the early 1999 after consultation with OSCE. Not satisfying requests of SMK completely, it was a compromise document. Political climate of that time didn’t allow very radical improvements of minority rights. Although Framework Convention for National Minorities promoted by CoE was signed and ratified in 1995 it started to be implemented as late as 1998 (Report CoE 2001), after the fall of Mečiar’s government. Crucial improvement in relations between EU and Slovakia was when accession talks were resumed in 1999 at the Helsinki Summit. In the same year, in Washington NATO approved Action Plan as a form of assistance and support for candidate countries including Slovakia. In 2001 European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages was ratified by Slovak government, which brought further improvement to Slovakia’s image, speeding-up the accession process. After positive report of the Commission in 2002, Slovakia concluded talks with EU in Copenhagen and at the NATO summit in Prague also in 2002 was invited to join NATO.[12]

 

II HUNGARIAN MINORITIES IN POST-COMMUNIST ROMANIA

 

Hungarian Minority in Communist Romania

Even though Hungarian minority in Romania got some marginal benefits from Romanian Communist Party (PCR), single-party rule in the first years after WWII, the period of Stalinization that followed, annulled these benefits and ended up worsening their position. The 1952 Constitution introduced Hungarian Autonomous Region, but the autonomy was quite illusory, as Romania was still a very centralized state. During the 1960’s after changing of region boundaries, administrative regions were abolished. Constitutions that followed reaffirmed minority language rights for education, culture and local administration, but in reality the party didn’t care much about the rule of law (Kovrig, p.47).

Hungarian language was offered not only in the primary and secondary schools but also in some postsecondary institutions in Cluj and in Târgu Mureş. However, this didn’t last long because in 1959 Bolyai University in Cluj was merged with the Babeș University in Cluj, becoming exclusively Romanian-language institution. Romanization was notable in the other parts of education as well, but that was a trend in the big cities where Hungarians gradually became minority (Cluj, Oradea and Satu-Mare).

Since 1956 plan for creating educational institutions for mixed nationalities, resulting in the fact that by the end of 1980s, there has been no autonomous establishment of secondary or higher education teaching in Hungarian language (Decsy, p. 64-65). It was obvious that Ceausescu regime specially targeted minority language education.[13] (Helsiniki Watch, p.20-21)

During the 1970s, the rising weight of Romanisation and liberalization climate encouraged by signing of Helsinki accords in 1975, promoted several protests of Hungarians. Organizers were arrested and expelled from the country. Nationalist propaganda presented Magyars as a threat to integrity of Romania, reviving the traditional antagonism between the nations and historical perception of Hungarians as a threat to national identity of Romania. The last years of the regime of CPR were marked by some serious oppression of Hungarian minority that was introduced in series of laws.[14]

Ceaușescu policy made long-lasting impact on the Romanian political scene. It shows that nationalism could easily be a source of great power to whoever was skilled in taping this emotional force.

 

Fall of Ceaușescu

It was ironic that the Hungarian community in Timișoara was that initiator of Ceaușescu’s overthrow. Hungarian Government supported this revolution and emerging euphoria, which in return reflected in the relations between these two countries. This had positive impact on their relations as well as the attitude of National Salvation Front. It is important to mention that 14 Hungarians were included in its work as well (Ristović, p.59-60).

Immediately after the Revolution the National Salvation Front issued its “Declaration of the National Minorities” in which they condemned Ceaușescu’s politics towards ethnic minorities. Also Ministry and Law for minorities were promised. However, soon this declaration and promises became an empty story (Helsinki Watch, p.99-100) partially because the Government failed to find greater support for such measures among the population.

For Hungarian minority, issue of education in their own language was the most important topic that they immediately raised after the revolution, since it was considered crucial for preserving their identity. Their requests were opposed by some Romanians who viewed this as the first step toward secessionist demands. It soon became evident that this regime would find source of legitimization and support in the population with nationalist approach, which was hardly compatible with the protection of minority rights.

One of the consequences of Hungarian demands for more rights in education sphere were ethnic clashes between Romanians and Hungarians which erupted in the city of Târgu Mureş leaving behind casualties and hundreds of wounded. The incident occurred on the 19th of March 1990, when Hungarians sought to restore a high school to its pre- Ceaușescu status. They were opposed by newly founded legal chauvinist organization, Vatra Românească (Romanian hearth). Headquarters of Hungarian Democratic Alliance was attacked, and violence erupted in such gravity that people in this building had to be evacuated by the military. Next day thousands of members of both ethnics groups violently clashed on the main square. President Iliescu never criticized Vatra Românească for these incidents.[15]

Good signals came with an adoption of the new Romanian constitution in 1991 that contained guaranties for the right of minorities to be educated in their mother tongue. With the decisions of Government made in the following year further positive steps were taken in this direction. Still, special law on education was not adopted and Government was very slow in preparing this law.

  

Rising of Ultranationalists 1992 – 1996

After the local, parliamentary and presidential elections, it became evident that ultranationalist were gaining more and more support from the population. Parties such as Greater Romania Party – PRM, Social Labour Party – PSM and Romanian Party of National Unity -PUNR (which was strongly connected with Vatra Românească), received almost 20% of all votes. Receiving almost 20% of all votes, minority government of Nicolae Văcăroiu was not able to function without the support in Parliament of those parties. All three parties were nationalistic, openly anti Hungarian, anti Semitic. Iliescu’s party, now called Democratic National Salvation Front – FDSN, couldn’t find majority for forming the government[16] without coalition with another party. Iliescu made unofficial agreement with these three parties empowering the minority government of Nicolae Văcăroiu. However, afterwards these three parties demanded to be officially included in the Government. In January 1995, they officially became a part of the ruling coalition, which brought further negative popularity to the government (Roper, p.75-77).

One of the most famous nationalist politicians of that time was mayor of Cluj, Gheorghe Funar, and leader of PUNR. During 1992, he firstly provoked Hungarian minority by altering the inscription on the statue of Hungary’s King Matthias in the city and by forbidding posting the advertisement of upcoming performance in theatre on Hungarian language (Helsinki Watch. p.39-41). Funar also frequently called for officials to ban Hungarian minority party – Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania – UDMR and for dismissal of all their mayors. His deputy leader in PRNU Iona Gavra called UDMR as a disease of AIDS that is working in the organism of Romanian state (Gallagher, Romania after Ceausescu, p.202).

Another ultranationalist with strong xenophobic rhetoric was the leader of PRM Vadim Tudor. His party was deeply involved in publishing popular magazine Romania Mare (Greater Romania), in which they exposed their nationalistic and anti-Hungarian positions. He also tried many times publicly or through this magazine to positively evaluate Ceaușescu regime, and especially nationalistic politics conducted in those times (Ibid, p.209-210).

In 1993, Government appointed ethnic Romanian prefects[17] in the overwhelmingly Hungarian counties of Harghita and Covasna. That caused big protests within Hungarian population. Critics pointed out that even during old regime perfects were always from Hungarian population. Dissatisfaction of minorities was prolonged, although positive signal came with forming the Council for national minorities soon after this event.

The most sensitive issue after this was the introduction of Law on Education in June 1995. This law made usage of minority language impossible in some fields of education and resized the number of subject that could be taught in minority languages (Ristović, p. 68-69).

Mandate of this Government ended with signing of the Agreement with Hungary in which collective rights for Hungarian minority were guarantied.[18] Arie Bloed and Pieter Van Dijk (15) consider this agreement of a great political importance, Iliescu once again tried to make his image more European before the elections. Having failed to improve his image both internationally and in Romania, he ended unseccessfully in all elections in 1996.

 

Factor: EU and NATO and Normalisation in Romania

First major diplomatic success of post-communist Romania was signing of the European Agreement in 1993 that was ratified in 1995 by all parties.[19] Romania was the first ex-communist state that joined Partnership for Peace, NATO program.

Following the outbreak of Yugoslav wars, Romania was seen as an island of stability in the Balkans (Gallagher, Building democracy in Romania, p.387). This is one of the reasons why Romania was not heavily criticized internationally for its undemocratic actions until the Dayton Agreement was signed in 1995. Only after 1996, strong criticism was made on the account of ultranationalists in the Romanian Government. It was that USA’s pressure that created ground for better relations between Romania and Hungary, which was eventually crowned with an agreement[20] signed in September 1996.

New Government of Victor Ciorbea and new president elected in the end of 1996 -Constantinescu, emphasized post nationalist agenda, good neighbourliness and reconciliation with minorities. Entrance of Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) in the Government was another important signal that tensions between majority and minorities were reducing. Soon new proposals to laws introduced Hungarians right to use their own language in schools at all levels of education, and in courts and administration. Relations with Hungary were improving at all levels as well. On several occasions Bill Clinton, the US president, expressed his admiration to this successful cooperation and claimed their relation as a successful model of dealing with interethnic disputes (Ibid, p 399).

If we consider that only one year before, Romania and Hungary couldn’t find common language on the minority issue that resulted in a failure to conclude Treaty on Paris conference of Stability Pact in 1995, and that Government consisted of ultranationalists and xenophobic politicians, we can say that this normalization came as a real breakthrough in Romania.

 

CONCLUSIONS

As soon as new post-communist states in CEE proclaimed their ambition for political pluralism and joining institutions such as OSCE, CoE, EU and NATO in order to legitimize their belonging to the “Free World”, it became evident that they will face many challenges. Communist ideology was very soon replaced by nationalism as the easiest source of power for the ruling parties, which seized power on the elections.

Although positive signals came from first post-communist governments in Romania and Slovakia, and although it seemed that they were prepared for deeper democratization, it soon became clear that nationalism does not provide space for democratic dealing with human rights and especially with the rights of minorities. They started to conduct two contradictory politics – integration in western institutions and the violation of human rights of their own citizens, where the Hungarian minority was a particular target. Excuses for this could be found in clumsy and harsh policy of Hungarian Government led by the Prime Minister Antall.[21] Their exaggerated worry for their minority and frequent statements about unfairness of Trianon Treaty,[22] involvement in Yugoslav wars and several attempts to block membership of Romania and Slovakia in OSCE and CoE were interpreted in these countries as signs for possible future claims of territories inhabited by Hungarian minority. This was very well used by Mečiar and Iliescu for the purpose of justifying their nationalistic politics and refusing to give any autonomy to Hungarian minority in their countries. It was obvious that nationalism in one state of this region is feeding nationalism in other country. „Antall probably thought that the nationalism represented by Mečiar and Iliescu, their measures taken against ethnics Hungarians would strengthen solidarity among the Hungarians, and this solidarity would increase government’s authority at home.” (Valki, p. 300-301)

After Mečiar and Iliescu were forced to involve ultranationalists in the Governments, their policy toward the minority became more repressive and intolerant. This was reflected in the discriminatory laws that were adopted, xenophobic and anti – Hungarian declarations of politicians.

Such policies were under heavy criticism from the CoE and EU that often criticized their behaviour toward ethnics Hungarians as well as nationalistic tendencies in Hungary. EU and NATO, through Stability Pact, European Agreements and Study on NATO enlargement,[23] sent clear messages to all three states that all tensions, conflicts and violations of human rights will negatively affect their further integration in these organisations, and that disputes between them must be peacefully resolved before they become members of NATO and EU. These messages had big effect on all three states in their further relations toward each other and on the question of Hungarian minority.

Second post-communist Hungarian Government headed by Gyula Horn interpreted such messages in more rewarding way for his country, and stated that government would actively encourage the normalization of relations with its neighbours (Bessenyey Williams, p.232). Very soon Hungary signed Treaties[24] with Slovakia and Romania and their obedience was rewarded with speeding up the integrations toward NATO and EU.

On the other hand, Mečiar did not interpret political messages in such way, and oppression of Hungarian minority continued. Samson concluded correctly (p.367) „Slovak politics were characterized by a gap dividing official statements and declarations from political output and genuine decisions.” Because of that, Euro-Atlantic integration of Slovakia in 1997 was a failure. This failure delegitimized Mečiar’s proclaimed Euro-Atlantic position, and that was one of the causes for the collapse of his nationalistic policy in the elections held the following year.

Iliescu had problematic heritage from Ceaușescu times. That was increased Romanian nationalism that bothered relations of Romania and Hungary in the post communist period because of the bad treatment of Hungarian minority. This was a huge obstacle to Romania in Euro-Atlantic integrations. Only after pressure of the USA, the Treaty with Hungary was signed in 1996 and that provided more rights for the Hungarian minority and relaxed the tensions with Hungary. That same year the nationalists lost the elections.

_____

1] Authors refers to European Communities before the ratification of Treaty of Maastricht and to European Union after 1993.

[3] The authors acknowledges that the situation with the dissolution of Yugoslavia was really a specific case, however believes that parallels can be drawn.

[4] Foreign ministers of Czechoslovakia Jiři Dienstbier, and Hungary Gyla Horn, had very constructive meeting on this issue.

[5] That law set Slovak language as the only official language in public usage. Only exception was the use of Czech and minority language for official business, but only in those communities where minority was represented by at least 20 percent.

[6] After the elections held in 1992, these two parties participated in all Mečiar’s Governments until 1998.

[7] It should be mentioned that Hungarian political parties opposed dissolution of Czechoslovakia because they saw this federal state as potential for further democratization and economic development which would also give them opportunity for better cooperation between Magyars and Slovaks

[8] Before it was adopted, this law was strongly criticized by both Hungarian parties as well as by the rest of the opposition parties. President Kovač tried to return the bill to another discussion on the Parliament calling on the advice from the Supreme Council of Europe High Commissioner – Max von der Stoel, but the law was approved in July 1996.

[9] Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Co-operation between the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Hungary was signed on 19th March in Paris

[10] After the 1994 elections, warnings and protests were more and more frequent. Representatives of OSCE, Council of Europe High Commissioner – Max von der Stoel, representatives of CoE as well as from the EU were frequent visitors to Slovakia and they all warned that undemocratic regime will be sanctioned. EU also expressed criticism in two series of demarches in 1994 and 1995 (problem with minorities being one of the issues), critical resolution of European Parliament 1996 and from USA ambassador in Slovakia as well.

[11] These analyses predicted that European Union would fail in forming political union which would naturally cause emergence of Russian-German axis, which Slovakia could join. Although government declared itself for integration they didn’t believed that those institutions had a future.

[12] Slovakia became full member of NATO in 03.2003 and of EU in 05.2004

[13] Others methods were used to limit possibilities of education in mother-tongue of the minorities such as : locating schools far from the residence of the students, budget-cuts, appointment of teachers not speaking Hungarian, quotas for students (Decsy, p. 65-69)

[14] Law from 1986 banned holding conversations with foreigners in private home. Next year law banned import of publications on Hungarian language and 1988 parents were forbidden to give name to their children if it could not be possible to translate it on Romanian. From 1989 all place names cited in newspapers, even those of minorities, could be written only in the Romanian version.

Look in Romania after Ceausescu: the politics of intolerance by Tom Gallagher. Edinburgh: Edinburgh university press, 1995, p 62-63

[15] Another bad signal sent to the world was evident use of the brutal force of state against political opponents and opposition protesters. The EU and USA condemned these events.

[16] First elections were held in May 1990 and these elections was smoothly won by Iliescu and his National Salvation Front – FSN.

[17] The prefect is the representative of the Government at the local level and heads the devolved public services of the ministries and of the other organs of the central public administration in the administrative-territorial units

[18] Over 70% of Hungarians in Romania (Kürti, p.180) evaluated this agreement as a positive step between these two countries.

[19] Romania officially applied for EU membership in 1995 and for NATO in 1996 and Romania became member of CE in 1993

[20] Treaty on Understanding, Co-operation and Good-Neighbourliness between the Republic of Hungary and Romania.

[21] His statement that he is prime minister of 15 million Hungarians (in spirit) although Hungary had only 10,5 million people, was just one of the examples. Antall also claimed that if Yugoslavia collapses, part of Trianon treaty will seize to exist and that Serbia will lose claims on Vojvodina, since that territory was awarded to Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, and not the Serbia. Reactions which came from neighbouring countries were very negative. (Valki, p.296-299)

[22] In one of his speeches in 1990, Antall spoke about injustice of Trianon treaty and called some of the Habsburg monarchy successors as artificial political formations. In some speeches members of his ruling party even mentioned drawing of new borders in this part of Europe

[23] This study of NATO enlagement from 1995 affirms that – “States which are involved in ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes, must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles, before they can become members.” Available at http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/2001/hb030101.htm (accessed 20 Aprli 2011)

[24] For full text of Treaties look in: Protection of minority rights through bilateral treaties: the case of Central and Eastern Europe ed. Arie Bloed and Pieter Van Dijk. – The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999.

Bibliography:

 

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Gallagher, T. Building Democracy in Romania: Voluntary Dependence on External Actors, in Democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe / ed. Zielonka, J. and Pravda, A.. – New York: Oxford University Press, 2003:383-412

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Henderson, K. Slovakia – The escape from Invisibility Routledge, London and New York, 2002.

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Kukan, R. – Slovakia and the world / ed. Kieran – Slovakia after communism and Mečiarism, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, 2000.

László Kürti, L. The remote borderland: Transylvania in the Hungarian imagination, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2001.

Ristovic, E. Hungarian minority in Vojvodina and Transylvania – a comparative case study 7 candidate; mentor Anna Krasteva; second reader Akos Kengyel – 2008 (Tesi ds.: MIREES, Interdisciplinary master’s East European research and studies, Università di Bologna, Vytauto Didziojo Universitetas at Kaunas, Berzsenyi Daniel Foiskola Szombathely, Corvinus University of Budapest, Univerza v Ljubljani), a.a. 2008, i.e. 2007/2008.

Roper, S. Romania: the unfinished revolution, Harwood Academic, Amsterdam 2000.

Samson, I. Slovakia – Misreading the Western Messages in Democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe / ed. Zielonka, J. and Pravda, A. – New York: Oxford University Press, 2003:363-382

Toma, P. and Kovac, D. Slovakia – From Samo to Dzurinda, Hoover Institution, Stanford, 2001.

Williams Bessenyey, M. European Integration and Minority Rights: The case of Hungary and Its Neighbours, in Norms and Nannies: The Impact of International Organizations on the Central and Eastern European States, ed. Linden, R.H, Rowman and Littlefield Publisher inc. Oxford, United Kingdom, 2002:227-258

Journals:

Deets, S. Stroschein S. “Dilemmas of autonomy and liberal pluralism: examples involving Hungarians in Central European” in Nations and Nationalism 11 (2), ASEN, 2005:285-305

Van Duin P.; Poláčková Z., “Democratic Renewal and the Hungarian Minority Question in Slovakia: From populism to ethnic democracy?” in European Societies, Vol. 2, No 3, 2000:335-360

Websites:

www.nato.int The 1995 Study on NATO’s Enlargement

www.coe.int Committee of Experts (2003). Initial Periodical Report of Slovakia, in the framework of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. ECMRL (2003). Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

 

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