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RMDSz, UDMR - 1 marzo 1993

by Democratic Union of Hungarians of Romania (RMDSz-UDMR)

SUMMARY: Some datas of the Democratic Union of Hungarians from Romania (UDMR-RMDSz) about the situation of the Hungarian minority in Romania (March, April 1993).


According to official figures (the preliminary results of the latest, 1992 census), there are 1,620,199 persons in Romania declaring themselves to be Hungarian (7.1 % of the population of the country). However, this figure is obviously in contradiction with the number of Hungarians on the records of the different denominations (for more details, see under point 2).

Taking into account the Romanian demographic development, the estimate which puts the number of Hungarians in the country at 2.1 2.5 million appears realistic. Of this totaL, 33 35 % live in the Szekely land region or beside the Hungarian border, 10 12 % in Central Transylvania, and 18 20 % in interethnic diaspora.


According to the 1992 census, there are 1,144,820 Roman Catholics, 801,577 Calvinists, 76,333 Unitarians and 49,393 Evangelicals in Romania. Since the overwhelming majority of persons belonging to these denominations are of Hungarian nationality, and not taking into account the not insignificant number of Hungarian followers of the Pentacostalists, Baptists, Adventists, etc., it is obvious on the basis of religious allegiance too that the number of Hungarians exceeds 2 millions.


Despite their substantial number, the legal status of the Hungariarns in Romania still remains questionable. The new Romanian Constitution adopted in November 1991 contains numerous anti minority formulations and terms, declaring Romania to be a homogeneous national State and recognizing solely Romanian as the official language. At the same time it bans the operation of all parties or other political organizations set up on an ethnic, religious or racial basis.

Since Romanian is the language for all forms of official contact even in the Szekely region which is inhabited almost exclusively by Hungarians this represents unfavourable discrimination for the minorities, both in public administration and in the practice of the courts. With the exception of two counties (Harghita and Covasna) it can be found that the minorities have been entirely passed over in public administration and, in addition, the county prefects appointed directly by the Government have the power to restrict the rights of the local govermnents. They have changed the Hungarian street names and a campaign is being waged for the elimination of the Hungarian historical and cultural monuments and sites. As a result of the discriminative nature of the administration of justice, open anti-Hungarian, nationalist chauvinist incitement goes without legal consequences. It is also mainly the Hungarians who are adversely affected by restrictions based on economic, trade, bank foundation and other measures.


The centrally directed policy of forcing Hungarians in Romania into the background was only strengthened after the change of direction in 1989, allowing scope for action even at the highest, parliamentary level for extremist, openly anti Hungarian elements. As a result of the openly anti-Hungarian ideology there is a disproportionately high number of Hungarians among the more than one million unemployed. There are only a few Hungarians among the small nunber of entrepreneurs, most of whom operate in commerce, on the one hand because as a legacy from the previous regime the Hungarians in Romania are lacking in capital to a far greater extent than the Romanians and, on the other hand, because the interests of the nation State play an important role in the issuing of permits, apart from the large sums paid in the form of bribes. The Hungarian secular and ecclesiastical intelligentsia also suffers from similar disadvantages.


The Democratic Federation of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSz) serves as the frame for political activity by the Hungarians in Romania. It is not a political party but an organization carrying out active minority protection on a national and democratic basis. The most recent parliamentary elections were held on 27th September 1992; in February of the same year the first free local government elections were held following the change of direction in 1989. As a result of the parliamentary elections the RMDSz won 27 seats in the 341 member house of Representatives (Lower House) with 811,290 votes, and 12 of the 143 seats in the Senate (Upper house) with 831,469 valid votes, ranking it fifth in overall performance. The government party which has a comfortable majority, with the help of the parties following extremist trends and representing a nationalist platform who have won seats in Parliament, is easily able to block the efforts to assert the aspirations of the Hungarians.

The other Hungarian political groupings Hungarian Christian Democratic Party, Hungarian Smallholders' Party do not represent a significant force and supported the RMDSz in the elections.


A rightful demand of the Hungarians in Romania is for education in their mother tongue from kindergarten to university, that is, the restauration or improvement of the conditions existing prior to the communist dictatorship: a comprehensive and extensive network of primary and secondary schools, a university, medical and pharmaceutics faculty, agricultural college, conservatory of music, art school, etc. teaching in Hungarian.

Only partial results have been achieved in the field of secondary education (The heated debate over the centuriesold Hungarian school in Tirgu Mures was one of the sparks that set off the pogrom against Hungarians in March 1990). Despite the various promises, the independent Bolyai University which was dissolved in 1959 has still not been restored and the chances of starting it up again in the future are not very promising.


The institutional provision of cultural facillties for the Hungarians in Romania comes up against many political and economic obstacles. Hungarian theatres, or Hungarian theatre sections operate, under very unfavourable conditions, in Cluj, Timisoara, Tirgu Mures, Satu Mare, Oradea and Sfintu Gheorghe; the only Hungarian Opera is found in Cluj.

The Kriterion Publisling house which has seen better days and is deservedly famous, is on the brink of bankruptcy and the Hungarian press which has long traditions is struggling to cope with seemingly insoluble, day to day problems, clearly demonstrating that freedom of the press can also be restricted with ease and simply by manipulating the supply of paper.

In the absence of suitable stale patronage, music and the arts are unable lo develop. The nationality Radio and TV broadcasts have become the prey of anti Hungarian considerations of daily politics. The harsh conditions under which the cultural associations operate, the protection of the characteristic monuments of the Hungarians in Romania (or, more precisely, the inadequacies of this protection), the return of the confiscated or appropriated public collections are all questions which seem unlikely to be given a reassuring answer at the present time...

The anti Hungarian atmosphere and the chaotic economic conditions continue to induce thousands of Hungarians in Romania to leave the land of their birth.

The gradual exclusion of Hungarians in Romania from public office

Percentage Prefecture County Council Mayor Office

of Hung. % % %



Arad County 12.5 5:110 4.5

Arad 15.7 1:66 1.5

Bihor Courty 28.5 4:117 3.4 3:183 1.6

Oradea 33.2 3:89 3.4

Satu Mare C. 35.0 18:129 14.0

Satu Mare 40.8

Salaj County 23.7 9.0

Zalau 19.8 7.5

Cluj County 19.8

Cluj 22.7 8:168 4.8

Harghita C. 84.7 14:41 34.1 75:85 88.2

Miercurea C. 83.0 47:56 33

Covasna C. 75.2 13:51 39.4

Stintu Gh. 74.8


lawyers Prosecutors Judges

% % %


Arad County 12.5 1:38 2.6

Arad 15.7 4:66 6.1

Bihor County 28.5 1:12 8.3 1:12 3.3

Oradea 33.2 9:122 7.4 1:17 5.9 2:21 9.5

Satu Mare C. 35.0 1:7 14.3 1:7 14.3

Satu Mare 40.8 8:36 22.2 1:10 10.0 0:14 0

Salaj County 23.7 18

Zalau 19.8 17.4

Cluj Counly 19.8

Cluj 22.7

Harghita C. 84.7 2:5 40.0 2:4 50.0

Mircurea C. 83.0 26:65 38.5 1:4 25.0 2:7 28.6

Covasna C. 75.2 3.6 50.0 1:6 16.7

Sfintu Gh. 71.8 10:19 52.5 2:5 40.0 2:6 33.3


The combined Hungarian population of Bihor, Satu Mare and Salaj Counties is 384,000, but there is not a single Hungarian notary in these three counties (the only ones on which data is available).

Nor is there a single minister, deputy minister or under secretary of Hungarian nationality.

There is not a single Hungarian prefect; there is only one sub prefect each in Harghita and Covasna Counties, but none in the counties of Mures, Bihor, Cluj or Satu Mare which each have over 100,000 Hungarian inhabitants, and none in the counties or Timis, Brasov, Salaj, Arad or Maramures with Hungarian populations of between 50,000 and 100,000, or elsewhere in the country.

There is not a single anbassador or Hungarian nationality.

There is not a single Hungarian in any of the important leading bodies elected by the Ronnanian Parliament: either in the Audiovisuel Council, or in the Supreme Auditing Office or in the Council of Judges.

To the best of our knowledge, there are no active generals of Hungarian nationality and only an insignificant number of army officers, police officers, gendarmerie officers, leading officials of the SRI, customs officers, etc.


The educational system created in the first few years following the Second World War, in theory, ensured equal opportunities for the Hungarian minority at all levels of schooling and thereby, also in theory, made it possible to ensure a suitable level of replenishment of the Hungarian intelligentsia.

After 1945 it was of great significance for the Hungarians in Romania that in addition to the network of primary and secondary schools broad frames were also created for higher education for the minorities. The Bolyai Janos University teaching in Hungarian was created as the successor of the Cluj university which had been established in 1872, became Romanian after 1918, then in 1940 again Hungarian naturally parallel with the Romanian University which continued to operate, and as a branch of this university, the Tirgu Mures faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutics which later became independent. Also in Cluj an agricultural college, conservatory of music and art college were established, and in Tirgu Mures a dramatic academy. In 1948 a teacher training college was opened in Bako to provide teachers for the schools of the Csango Hungarians.

The international pressure that had induced the Romanian government to respect minority rights ceased with the signing of the peace treaty in 1947 and the continuous, progressive elimination of the Hungarian institutions which had only just been set up soon began within the re-established state frames.

In 1991 92, 26.1 % of the teachers teaching in Hungarian were untrained. This proportion was exceptionally high for teachers of history, geography, philosophy, biology, psychology, drawing, music and physical education.

The number of young people enrolled in the teaching colleges is sufficient they will soon solve the shortage of primary school and kindergarten teachers. In the 1990 91 school year there were 566 students enrolled in the first year of these colleges.

The proportion of Hungarians participating in training in some basic school types is very low: commercial (1.8 %), agricultural (3.5 %), informatics (3.7 %), health care (5 4 %).

Education policy:

The department responsible for teaching in Hungarian in the ministry for Education has plactically been phased out.

those who are playing a leading role in the creation of legislation on education are the same individuals who were so entusiastic in eliminating education in Hungarian under the previous regime.

the representation of the Hungarian minority in the county education supervisory bodies with the exception of Harghita and Covasna is only of a token nature.

School enrolment figures for the 1991 92 scholastic year


School type Total Hungarian speaking students

national total by teaching language of schoo

enrolment nr.(*) ad2 nr. ad2 ad3 nr. ad3

% % % %


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


kindergarten 740 52 7.1 47 6.4 90.5 5 9

lower primary 1,211 86 7.1 62 5.2 73.0 23 27

primary 1,397 99 7.1 71 5.2 72.2 27 27

secondary 778 55 7.1 33 4.3 60.0 22 39

vocational 395 28 7.1 06 1.6 22.7 21 77

Total: 4,522 321 7.1 222 4.9 69.0 99 31


(*) in thousand

Enterprise managers: (directors of state enterprises)


Bihor County: 21:173 (12.1 %)

Oradea: 5: 96 (05.2 %)

Satu Mare County: 11:114 (09.6 %)

Salaj County: (06.2 %)

Mures County: (11 %)

Harghita County 50:88 (56.8 %)


Deprivation of identity, alienation from the native land


Street names: Arad 11:680 (1.6%) 15.67 % Hungar. pop.

Oradea 8:746 (1.2 %) 33.18 % Hungar. pop.

Cluj 21:750 (2.8%) 22.71 % Hungar. pop.

Tirgu M. 9:370 (2.4 %) 51.14 % Hungar. pop.

Satu M. 9:350 (2.6 %) 40.82 % Hungar. pop.


Number of day students in higher education and their distribution by nationality, 1970/71 1980/81


1970 71 1976 77 1977 78 1978 79 1979 80 1980 81

Total (*) 105,6 120,5 129,1 137,1 143,5 145,2

(without foreigners)

Romanians 96,9 110,8 118,3 125,6 132,1 133,4

% 91.5 91.9 91.6 91.6 91.9 91.9

Hungarians 5,6 6,8 7,4 7,8 7,9 8,1

5.3 5.6 5.8 5.7 5.5 5.6


(*) in thousand

By bringing together the scattered data published between 1970 and 1980 on Romanian university education, it can be found that the discriminatory quota imposed for the Hungarians during those years was around 5.4 5.8 % according to the census data, Hungarians represented 8.6 % of the total population in 1966 and 7.9 % in 1977 meaning that the quota applied corresponded to barrely 67 % This means that in 1977, for example, in place of the 7,497 Hungarian day students enrolled in Romanian universities there should have been at least 11,250 studends in keeping with their true proportion. (of course, the actual demand for education cannot be mesured on the basis of the proportion within the population of the country since it depends on the state of development of civil society within the given community. In these case of the Hungarians, the actual demand is almost certainly higher than the percentage taken as a basis in the calculations.)

The negative discrimination becomes even clearer if it is taken into account that over the period concerned Hungarians in general completed secondary school above their proportion, while in the case of Romanians this ratio is reversed. The discrimination applied in university entrances is not a new phenomenon: it could already be observed in 1966 even according to the official statistics. At that time the proportion of those with a university degree in the adult Romanian population was 2,2 %, while among the Hungarians it was 1.5 %.

Level of schooling of the Romanian and Hungarian population over the age of 12 years, 1966

Population lower 8 years technical theort Univer.

Nation over 12 primary primary trade trade ical college

ality or less school school sec. school


Romanian 13,253 10,047 1,413 624 393 484 291

% 75,8 10,6 4,7 2,9 3,6 2,1

Hungarian 1,333 961 195 72 40 49 20

% 71,7 14 5,4 3,0 3,7 1,5


(*) in thousand

The figures show the Hungarians' propensity to study in all school categories, while the advantage of the Romanians among those with university education is very marked. The explanation for this is the quota applied in university admissions keeping Hungarians below their proportion of the population (two thirds) but never officially acknowledged.

The discriminative charactec of the system of appointments applied can be seen if the numerical proportion of university graduates within the uroan and rural population is examined by nationality.

Number of Romanian and Hungarian university graduates per 1O OOO Romanian and Hungarian inhabitants over the age of 12 and with more than 6 years of schooling, 1966


national total Romanian Hungarian


urban 471 494 255


rural 40 39 52


total 216 219 150


(Data rounded to full figures)

It can be seen from the table that the stratum of Hungarian university graduates in the towns is considerably narrower than in the case of the majority Romanians. This largely reflects the results of political development since 1944: in 1966 82.4 % of the active population with higher education had earned their diplomas after 1948.

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