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YEAR IX, 2003

YEAR IX, 2003

altera 20-21


Editorial - 3




Gabriel Toggenburg

A Rough Orientation Through a Delicate Relationship:

The European Union‘s Endeavours for (its) Minorities - 5

The issue of minority protection inside the EU-system is characterised by contradictions but also by a considerable potential of development. The last twenty years clearly show that the interest of the EC-organs in this topic has been considerably growing. Maastricht gave birth to the concept of cultural diversity opening hereby new realms for minority-topics inside the EU. Still minority protection strictu sensu is reduced to the external sphere of the EU. It is only the Post-Amsterdam development that seems to foster the ‘internalisation‘ of minority related topics. Besides the question how the law is developing it seems important to stress that minority question is also and mainly about the political willingness of using legal bases and possibilities which are already today at disposal. But, however, under the surface of daily policy the law is mushroom-like pathing its own way – time will show the outcome of this process.

George Schöpflin

The Hungarian Status Law:

Political, Cultural and Sociological Contexts - 38

Every state makes provision for the protection of both individual rights and for the reproduction of the collectivity — the cultural context within which the individual exercises those rights. Collective norms constitute a vital aspect of human agency, the capacity to act, precisely because these norms ensure that the individual is not culturally naked but is operating in a context in which action will be understood. The Status Law, by offering options for the cultural reproduction of all Hungarians, is a significant contribution towards that strategy and can take its place in other, similar attempts to regulate ethnicity within a civic and etatic framework. In effect, by separating citizenship from ethnic identity and constructing a clear definition of citizen of the Hungarian state and citizens of other states but ethnically Hungarian individuals, the Hungarian Status Law is enhancing and enriching the concept of citizenship. The critics of the law may well not understand their underlying, implicit assumptions, which are themselves ethnically coded, and, therefore, believe sincerely that they are articulating universalist presumptions.

Zoltán Kántor

The Status Law:

a National Policy or a New Approach of Minority Protection?  - 47

The author goes through the short, but hectic history of the law that has established itself in the consciousness of the public opinion as the Hungarian Status Law, and presents most various opinions from the equidistant standpoint of a political scientist. There have been many concerns – the author concludes – related to the Status Law and to its possible consequences. Among the sources of these problems may have been the position of the majority population, the accordance to EU provisions, the financial aspects or the law, the bias in those issuing the legitimations, the possible encouragement of emmigration, the hardening of the provisions on the regime of foreigners, the problems that should be regulated consequently by new laws, the tensions triggered within domestic politics and between the organisations abroad. According to the author, two serious problems could be raised concerning the Status Law. The first is that the project is focused mainly on the facilities granted within the territory of Hungary and not on the strengthening of the organisations and institutions abroad. Indeed, the law does not affect the present system of assistance for the Hungarians abroad, but it may be assumed that another distribution of resources would better contribute to their staying in their native land. The second problem is that there is no answer to the situation after Hungary’s integration to EU, which was also the original main starting point for the Status Law.

Constantin Iordachi

Redefining the Boundaries of the Nation:

A Comparison between Hungary’s “Status Law” and

Romania’s Policy on Dual Citizenship in the Republic of Moldova - 69

How new and unprecedented are the stipulations of the “Status Law?” While – in investigating the law – numerous analysts have pointed out its unique, innovative character, this paper argues that the Status Law can in fact be regarded as part of a more general revival of ethno-national policies of post-communist nation-states in Central and Eastern Europe. The 1989 dismantling of the communist system and the collapse of supranational authority – perceived by many scholars as the victory of national identity against Marxism, “the finest hour of East European nationalism” or the “Springtime of Nations” – has created an unprecedented opportunity for a radical reorganization of national and minority policies in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to integrate the “Status Law” into a wider analytical context, the current paper focuses on the post-1989 revival of contrasting and ultimately overlapping definitions of citizenship in Romania, Hungary and the Republic of Moldova, and the resulting diplomatic tensions over issues of dual citizenship or symbolic national membership. The study takes as basis of reference Romania, a country which, through its geographical position, bridges citizenship litigation between Central Europe (represented by Hungary) and the former Soviet space (represented by Moldova). In exploring the original stipulations of the Status Law, the study thus employs a double comparative perspective: first, it contrasts the Law with Romania’s legislation on dual citizenship and its impact on the relationship between Romania and Moldova; second, it integrates the Law within the overall patterns of ideological conflicts between Romania and Hungary. Finally, the paper derives more general conclusion about the evolution of-and multiple challenges to-national membership in post-com munist East-Central Europe.

Károly Gruber

Positive Measures with a National Feature for the Protection of the Minorities across Borders in Europe - 87

One of the most important problems of political theory and international law raised on the occasion of the diplomatic discussions on the Law on the Hungarians in the neighbouring countries was whether the assistance and facilities granted by the law can or cannot be considered discriminatory Opponents to the law strived to highlight its unique, exceptional character as if there had never been a precedent to it. The author seeks to prove the opposite by drawing a comparison between the EU and the Council of Europe law, some of the national provisions of certain EU member states and the jurisprudence of neighbouring countries. As the author concludes, within the law sphere tackled here, the Law on the Hungarians in the neighbouring countries is not new either in Central Europe or in Western Europe. The basic principles of the law — free choice of identity, protection of national minorities culture and identity — are completely in line with the respective law texts of EU, that is with the provisions pertaining to national and cultural aspects. The future Europe should be a Europe of communities and within this context the Status Law is important since it contributes to maintaining the cultural and national diversity of the continent.

János Kis

The Status Law or Hungary at a Crossroad - 101

The well-known liberal philosopher minutely and unsparingly anatomizes the national philosophy of those who initiated the Status Law and holds that the reference to the “unitary Hungarian nation” made in the Preamble to the Law redefines the concept of nation itself This redefinition confers a political dimension upon the concept of nation which entails a public law relationship between the Hungarians living in the region and the territorial Hungarian state. Nevertheless, the liberal analyst’s insight does not go beyond the scope of the theory of classical liberalism and, despite earlier attempts to this end, the critique of state nationalism which putatively imbues the law is made from the perspective of the philosophy of the national state and of the international status quo. The most important tasks, argues the author in the conclusion, can be briefly formulated. The status law must be fundamentally revised. According to EU law, any difference whatsoever on an ethnical basis is discriminatory and forbidden, except for the instances when it contributes to the protection of the culture and language of the respective group and to its maintaining its relationship with its mother country. Thus, the law provisions that do not comply to these ends must be eliminated.

Elek Szokoly

Beyond the Status Law - 125

The (ethnic) redefinition of the nation by the Status Law is — as the author argues — completely in line with the liberal standpoint. This is a fact even though the redefinition is indirect, for its effects due to the redefinition are similar to those of a direct redefinition. At the same time, the Status Law has a discriminatory character It is discriminatory outwardly as it distinguishes between “Hungarian” and “non-Hungarian” (this being the very aim of the project) and it is discriminatory inwardly as, due to this indirect redefinition of the concept of nation, it distinguishes between its own Hungarian citizens. It is high time to realize — the author argues — that the system of minority protection in force after the second world war has rather been a palliative aimed at appeasing the decision-makers consciousness which has led in the end, if we were to draw a line, to a slow abolition of minority existence throughout Europe. Thus, it is no wonder that the turn of the millenium has resurfaced all the contradiction and pending problems which the bi-polar system of the cold war had anasthetized for a while. As a matter of fact, in extreme circumstances when there was only the problem left, often the minority had disappeared. And while we are growing more and more sensitive to plant and animal species extinction, when it comes to ethnic, linguistic and cultural communities extinction, we will resort to stability and status quo. This is why the author deems legitimate and necessary for normative systems to be pushed beyond their limits through initiatives like the status law. It is unfortunate that, due to an erroneous political- philosophical starting point, to an unproper historic moment and to a hybrid legal couching, the project was to be nipped in the bud. This endangers the very future of the national-cultural philosophy contained by the law.


Act on Hungarians Living in Neighbouring Countries

(Hungary’s Status Law) - 139

Report on Preferential Treatment of National Minorities

by their kin-States (the Venice Commission’s Report)  - 152


Mihnea Berindei

The Transylvanian Issue in the Hungarian Policy of Soliman I - 176

The Romanian historian, holding aloof from traditional hitoriography stereotypes, tackles courageously and objectively a subject prone to inflate patriotic gung-ho spirits in this part of Europe. “A preliminary question is prerequisite here: what did the Otomans understand at the time by the term ‘Transilvania’? What was the territorial entity referred to by this term? The voivodship of Transilvania, a province of the Hungarian Kingdom, enjoyed an autonomous structure. The region, delimited in the South and East by the natural border of the Carpathians, consisted of seven counties, the Szeklar and Saxon counties and the “Romanian lands”. But, since 1541, after the Otoman province of Buda was founded — bglerbegilik de Budun —, the Otomans used the name of Transilvania (the Country of Ardeal, more precisely Erdel villayeti), to refer to a much wider region, that of the Eastern part of the Hungarian Kingdom.”

Adrian Majuru

The Khazar Jews - 182

An unwanted subject as it may seem, the history of “the thirteenth tribe” of the Mosaic Khazars has incited curiosity not only of historians but also of men of letters and of ethnologists. The presence within the Transilvanian territory of vestiges of a Mosaic Turk people even more diversifies our view on a past much too often deemed monolithical and justifies a profound historic research. The study here attempts such an approach in spite of the scarcity of sources.


Emőd Veress

Reconstruction of Minority Communities Property Rights - 193

The communist regime, built on the Marxist-Leninist ideology according to which the abolition of all forms of exploitation may be achieved only through the abolition of private property on production means, turned the statist principle into an ultimate value. Thus, through different procedures specific to totalitarian systems (such as nationalization, cooperativization etc.) private property was abolished or severely curbed. After the changes occuring in December 1989 a reverse process — reprivatisation — should have been expected to emerge through the democratisation of the political system as a prerequisite of the rule of law, of the free and competitive market. The author seeks to answer the question regarding the stage of this process both from the point of view of the relevant law adopted and of its implementation into the Romanian political reality.



Edwin Bakker

The ’Roma Exodus’. A truly pan-European Issue - 227

This article investigates the recent emigration of Roma from East Europe to West European countries, such as Belgium, Finland and Great Britain. It investigates why Roma emigration from East Europe has increased in recent years. The article also focuses on the reaction of authorities in both East and West to this so-called ‘Exodus’. Both intend to stem the flow through various policies ranging from expulsion to Roma-programs aimed at improving the living conditions of members of this group in their home country. The short-term results of these policies are not very promising. There is, however, one positive aspect of the Roma ‘Exodus’. The Roma emigration places the ‘Roma problem’ on the international political agenda. This has led to increasing attention to this truly cross-border and pan-European issue.


Transylvanian Identity – a „Nation of Will”? - 236

Between 9-14th July 2002 the first edition of the Transsylvania Summer University was held at Ilieni organised by the Intercultural Centre of the Pro Europe League. The 50 participants — students and young political activists — could assist in discussions on themes such as: Regionalism in Europe — regionalism in Romania; Transylvania — a drifting economy? Political Transylvania — the policy of Transylvania; Transylvanian identity — a “nation of will”? the text in this issue consists of excerpts from the discussion held in the fourth day of the summer university.“To what degree is there an entitlement to talk of a nation of Transylvanian will?” one of the participants wonders. “I think we cannot answer this question without tackling history and without drawing certain conclusions. The history of Transylvania has some particulars when compared to the other Romanian principalities (…). I believe we must talk of Transylvania’s symbolic role for the history of each ethnic group that lived and still lives in this land. The Romanians justly consider Transylvania to be the cradle of the Romanian people ethno-genesis. To Hungarians it is Transylvania that maintained the political continuation of the Hungarian nation during the period when the Hungarian state had been a Turkish pashalik, while to the Saxons, it was only here (in Transylvania) where German, Flemish and Walloon settlers became a community that considered itself a people and that enjoyed a status of political nation.”


Olivier Gillet

Romanian Anti-Masonic Movement after 1989.

Origins and Present Development  - 263

The problem of anti-masonic movement in Romania, which emerged after the collapse of the communist regime, cannot be tackled without a profound study of the whole present political background. Moreover, the lack of perspective, but also the intricacy of the political situation — especially the revival of between the war ideological trends — do not allow for drawing of permanent conclusions. The anti-masonic discourse may find a certain response because of the political and economical crisis situation, but it is still extremely difficult to assess its impact on mentalities. Although a certain irrational character prevails and the general arguments resemble those circulated in other countries (that is, the filiation made between Judaism, communism and freemasonry), a certain coherent intention can be discerned here depending on the present Romanian political background, mainly minority and monarchy issues, having as its ultimate goal the justification of an authoritarian and nationalist regime facing the dangers that emerged in the Balkans after 1989 from national and international instability.


Ioan Codruţ Lucinescu

The Jews in the 19th century Romanian Principalities - 282

“The Romanian territory grew richer as early as the Medieval Age by ethnic communities that played an important part in national history; one of them was the Jewish community. The existence of Jews in Wallachia was first dated in 1330 at Cetatea Albă and in the 16th century in Bucharest”, maintains the author and then reviews the crucial moments of the Jewish presence in the Romanian Principalities, all their ups and downs. “Unfortunately, the 20th century was to be an extremely difficult moment for the Jews throughout Europe and the community in Greater Romania, having reached the impressive number of almost 800.000 members after all Romanian provinces were united, was not spared of severe problems. The extermination of the Transylvanian community beginning with April 4th 1944, the mass deportation of Bessarabian Jews by the Romanian authorities, famine and other kinds of shortage during the second world war dramatically diminished the number of Jews in Romania after 1945. Massive immigration to the newly founded state of Israel (1948), led to the same outcome as the emmigration of another community important to Romanian society, the German one: the actual disapperance of the Jewish community as a social, cultural and economical factor in post-war Romania.”


Miklós Bakk

Gabriel Andreescu: Ruleta

(The roulette) - 290

Laura Ardelean

Daniel Vighi, András Visky, Alexandru Vlad: Fals tratat de convieţuire (Fals Treaty of Coexistence) - 294




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