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YEAR IX. 2003

altera 22-23


Editorial - 3


Michal Illner

Decentralization Reforms in Three East Central European

Candidate Countries – The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - 5

The comparative study of the renown Czech political scientist sets off from the presupposition that the three countries, belonging to the same sub-region, share similar historical legacies as well as common legacies of the communist past, they have faced similar transformation tasks after 1989 and have applied as the “first wave“ countries for EU membership. Their different geographies and histories, including the different national brands of communism, different circumstances of exiting from communism, and also the divergent elements of their political and social systems as well as of their cultures, account for the differences between the three countries, their comparative analyse being, therefore, extremely useful to other countries that are undergoing a similar democratization process. The author concludes that the main job of overhauling the soviet-type subnational government has been done and in all these three countries there are now in place comprehensive structures of a multilevel subnational government, which will have to be perfected

Gyula Horváth

A Comparative Study on the Regional Policies of Hungary,

Bulgaria and Romania - 36

This comparative analysis of three countries that have just left the planned economy and that belonged to the same ideology for four decades and, partially, to the same alliance, but among which differences prevail, can provide a deeper insight on the differences between their regional policies during the transition period. This very technical study of the prestigious Hungarian expert avoids any possible politicized interpretations since it has been drawn up only from the pragmatic perspective of the accession to the EU. The case study on the Szeklar Land brings forward the rich diversity of the possible regional policies for the territory concerned. In his conclusion, the author stresses that, despite their resemblance in the changes made to the territorial structure of the three countries, their different responses given to the challenges posed by the regional development and their diversity in the results of the development show that the “East-European bloc” is at least as heterogeneous as the EU. This truth must be considered within the structural political reforms of the EU.

Andreas Gross

Positive Experiences of Autonomous Regions as a Source

of Inspiration for Conflict Resolution in Europe - 47

The report here by the Swiss MP Andreas Gross, presented to the Council of Europe and resulting in Recommendation 1690 and Resolution 1334, is the outcome of several years of minute research carried out in “delicate” or “hot” regions of the world and turns out to be a genuine scientific study. Besides the analyse of the developments, forms, legal framework etc. of the concept of autonomy the author puts forward a rich variety of case studies and reaches the conclusion that, acting upon the principle of subsidiarity regional autonomies, including those comprising of the territories inhabited by minorities, even if not a panacea, are positive models for domestic conflict resolution. “The creation of such a European legal instrument, which would encourage the promotion of the common principles of regional autonomy, would help European states confronted with internal conflicts to find constitutional solutions that would enable them to preserve their sovereignty and territorial integrity while respecting the rights of ethnic minorities.”


Recommendation 1609

Positive Experiences of Autonomous Regions as a Source

of Inspiration for Conflict Resolution in Europe - 106

Resolution 1334

Positive Experiences of Autonomous Regions as a Source

of Inspiration for Conflict Resolution in Europe  - 108


Ovidiu Pecican

Romania. Dilemmas and Trends - 112

Setting off by analysing the deep causes of the poverty in Romania, the author finds out - beyond the appearances of democracy - a series of historical continuities that turn out to be not economical, but social. “Autarchy attitudes - the author claims end up by causing stereotypical replication of the social behaviours, their outcome being stagnation, inertia, withering.” “As the economical reform has been lagging for more than a decade (…) and the monopoly over material resources and over economical, social and politically relevant relationships is held by an oligarchy (…) consisting of former party members, of high ranking army and intelligence service personnel, it can be noted that the oligarchy type of regime has not been overthrown in Romania, despite some restructuring and adaptations it had to undergo due to the changes in the historical context.” Therefore, it is no wonder there is an “invisible, but clear barrier between the rich and the poor, which is more and more restricting and difficult to cross and which generates an extreme social polarisation.” Romania is poor rather because of a certain tradition of lack in social bonds and because of the oligarchy control over society. All these phenomena are closely related to the southern model, the “Walachian model”, which is considered in an analysis by Daniel Chirot quoted here as a political economical system of the proto-colonial “community-trade” type that was extended over the other provinces too, when the south began governing the whole country The author ’s analysis comes round inevitably with relevant conclusions regarding the real “masters of Romania”.


Miklós Bakk, Andor Horváth, Levente Salat

DAHR in 2003 searching for new ways

at the limits of integration - 132

Shortly before the 6th congress of this representative organisation of the Hungarians in Transylvania - the DAHR, the three renown political scientists of the Hungarian community seek to make a survey of the period now ending and to find the possible ways out from a paradigm that has exhausted its resources. Within the strategic alternatives, the position of the official leadership that considers there is no need for essential changes in the platform clashes with that of the Reforming Bloc that demands a re- turning to the bases of the “community autonomy”. According to the authors, neither of the opinions is grounded. Considering the situation the DAHR leadership has to take into account, the authors think that the relationship system, the scope of socialpolitical integration of the DAHR are influenced by four important processes: Romania’s invitation to join NATO, Hungary’s EU membership status, the dramatic decrease of the Transylvanian Hungarian community and its grim demographic prospects, and the shaping of a new civic framework of the Transylvanian Hungarian society. DAHR’s integration into the system of the Romanian political parties has had positive effects (it has contributed to generating and strengthening confidence in the Hungarian elite and it has rendered it possible to implement that specific part of the DAHR platform that could be included into the minimum reform), but it has had also its costs (it has brought about a favouring of backstage politics and, while some minority goals have been achieved, they have been unduly made up for by voting laws that have a detrimental effect on the quality of democracy). Thus, a rethinking of the strategies of the Hungarian community becomes compulsory a rethinking whose conceptual thesaurus should include both the consociative and the regional model of European integration.


István Haller

Bilingual Inscription of the Streets in Târgu-Mureş - 150

In 1995 Romania ratified the Framework Convention for the National Minorities Protection, and in 2001 the Law on the Local Public Administration was promulgated, and both of them provide for bilingual inscriptions. The original and symptomatic way these provisions were implemented results from the ordeal of the street name inscriptions in Tîrgu-Mureş, a bilingual city, ordeal analysed with legal acrimony by the author of the case study here, a legal case that is seeking, like many others, its resolution before the European Court of Human Rights. Despite all domestic and international law provisions, the nationalist-communist policy of the Ceauşescu regime of total elimination of the traditional bilingualism is, unfortunately still pursued by the state authorities, including the Romanian judiciary that resort to most perfidious means to protract the implementation of the law. The progress of the whole matter tells its own story


Paul Philippi

Guests or Citizens with Full Rights? - 167

The renown Saxon historian, president of honour of the Democrat Forum of the Germans, strives to answer this challenging question facing the Banat Swabian community by attempting a foray both into the older history of the Saxons in Transylvania and into the recent history of the German community in Romania on the whole. After its unprecedented exodus in the last decades, this community is now justly trying to answer the dilemmatical question: what has become of us, a remnant of a population that hasn’t left yet or a community that has stayed because it wants to live its life here? A dramatic, existential question, that deserves an optimistic answer.


Christoph Pan

South Tyrol - 173

The renown specialist in minority rights, an excellent expert in South Tyrol autonomy and at the same time an actor in its achievement, having first reviewed the history of the achievement of this autonomy - a paragon in the field of European after war public policies - then proceeds to analysing the characteristic aspects of this autonomy. “South Tyrol’s development after 1945 - stresses the author in his concluding remarks - is to be seen under the guiding idea of minority protection through autonomy. Some particular aspects of the South Tyrolean autonomy are really of interregional or even international interest. About 103 million out of the total of 757 million Europeans between the Atlantic and the Urals are persons belonging to minorities. That means that one out of seven Europeans belongs to one out of 337 ethnic or national minorities in Europe. South Tyrol’s autonomy has therefore a political importance even for   the whole Europe.”


Religious Freedom and European Integration  - 182

On the 26th of June 2003 the Forum of the Pro Europe League’s Intercultural Center was held at Cluj, its theme being “Religious Freedom and European Integration”. There were invited representatives of the religious cults, of public authorities, of democratic political parties, of civil society and of the media. The themes debated by the participants were “the relationship between church and state. The part of the religious cults in the process of Romania’s accession to the European Union”, and “the situation of the churches in Romania and accession criteria. The case of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church”. The text here is an edited and abridged version of the debate.

Documents of the Committee of Action for the Completion

and Spreading of the Memorandum for the Romanian

Greek-Catholic Church Unite with Rome - 227


Ambrus Miskolczy

The History of the Romanians in the Reformation  - 237

Reformation, this “great revolution of the 16th century” as the author labels it, took place exactly in the period when Transylvania was an independent principality and its influence on the culture of all the Transylvanian national communities, including the Romanian one, was decisive. A hectic historic period, full of contradictions and drama, but also of spectacular developments, is mirrored in this study in its whole complexity with all its positive and negative effects on the Romanian population in Transylvania. As it ignores the Romanian national myths connected to this period and it makes use of a critical tone while listing the omissions by Hungarian historians of some of the excessively politicized historical events, the study gains in objectivity coming close to a Transylvanian convergence outlook.


Miklós Tomka

Religiosity in Transylvania  -  252

“Many studies have been brought out during the last decades dealing with the data on religion in Romania, and in Transylvania, respectively The publication of the statistical data on religion from a comparative-historical perspective has also been started, setting off from the results of the 1992 census. There are few writings that dare deal with the present situation and the evolution of religiosity and, even in the most renown works in the field, one can encounter serious errors like, for instance, those regarding the proportion of the atheists”, states the author at the beginning of his study. The study here breaks new ground both by its richness of data and the objectiveness of their interpretations, providing thus an excellent incentive for a deep research and academic debate. Its reference to comparative data on the Hungarian and Polish situation in the field is meant to make even clearer our view on the European region we live in.


Laura Ardelean

Irina Culic: Câştigătorii.

Elita politică şi democratizare în România. 1989-2000

(Irina Culic: The winners. Political elite and democratization in

Romania. 1989-2000)  - 272




(c) Fundaţia Jakabffy Elemér, Asociaţia Media Index 1999-2006