9 Dec 2003

Magyar Nemzet

Lesen Sie hier den
von Andi Gross
60 Seiten)

Lesen Sie hier die
Debatte zum Autonomie-Bericht
im CoE.

The Rapporteur of the Council of Europe
welcomes the Transylvanian demands for autonomy
The nationstate is a thing of the past

Autonomy for the Hungarians of Romania is particularly important. If this goal of theirs is peaceful and if it meets the approval of the Romanian partners, it may result in a very positive development, told our daily Mr Andreas Gross. The Swiss rapporteur of the Council of Europe summarised his impressions about European regional autonomies in a detailed report last spring. The socialist politician came to Hungary having accepted the invitation of Pro Minoritate Foundation and Budapest Analyses.

László Szentes Zöldi

Generally speaking, what is the European attitude to the complex issue of the autonomy?

First of all one must see that, although it is a very popular concept in Hungary, many countries simply dislike the discourse about autonomies. I myself have experienced the incomprehension, sometimes malevolence, as my report was not welcome everywhere enthusiastically. In spite of this, as a result of the idea of European unification and existing practice, our continent is proceeding ever more toward decentralisation and the sharing of powers. One must also see that, as time goes by, European societies are becoming increasingly diverse and multi-coloured. It is obvious that the French model of the state based on the unity of the nation is a thing of the past. The spreading of multiculturalist patterns imply a n appreciation of the various forms of the autonomy, and at the same time these are capable of expressing the diversity of societies. Still living remnants of the artificial power structure of the Cold War are gradually being replaced by a new quality of cooperation in the world.

Despite this, European unity also has its critics. They emphasise, not without any reason, that the various forms of autonomy seem to be disfunctional in our region.

Although the European Union is not always being mentioned in the most favourable of contexts, I am convinced that this type of cooperation is capable of resolving several problems. Let us see the South Tyrolian situation! Following a long row, the province has two "parents", Austria and Italy both assume patronage for the functioning of the local autonomy. This is also a good example that the idea of European integration effectively "undermines" self-imposed seclusions of states. As far as Hungary is concerned, it is as if historical justice was about to be rendered. What did not succeed at the end of World War II and in 1956, is now at arm's length. Next year you are becoming a member state of the European community, a thought unimaginable until recently. As far as I can see, the unfavourable image of the autonomy may change soon, as Romania is planned to be a member state in ten years, Ukraine and the Eastern half of the continent may also accede in twenty to thirty years, all this opening new perspectives in the issue autonomy, as well. At the same time, it is beyond any doubt that the sense of isolation among Hungarians living in non-EU countries may provisionally increase. You must know at the same time, however, that the EU reacts very sensitively to any political development in Europe.

You having mentioned Romania, it seems from here in Budapest as if demands for autonomy among the Hungarians living in our Eastern neighbourhood were increasingly stronger. What is your opinion on the approaching establishment of the Transylvanian Hungarian National Council?

I think that autonomy for the Hungarians of Romania is particularly important. If this goal of theirs is peaceful and if it meets the approval of the Romanian partner, most of all that of the Romanian government, it may result in a very positive development. All characteristics of the autonomy goals currently experienced in Voivodina and in Transylvania reinforces our belief that this political tool helps bridging the problems between people and groups without using violence.

Andreas Gross

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