Prospects on Hungarian as a Regional Official Language and Szeklerland’s Territorial Autonomy in Romania

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Zsombor Csata Senior lecturer, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Rumania

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László Károly Marácz Assistant Professor, European Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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This article analyses two options the Hungarian ethno-linguistic community in the Transylvanian region of Romania has in order to preserve its ethno-linguistic identity. Firstly, there is the option of unrestricted language use in the public domain. At present the Romanian legal framework assigns members of the Hungarian speaking community in Transylvania individual linguistic and cultural rights only. The Romanian language policy is further restricted by a threshold rule. The ratio of minority must number 20 per cent of the total inhabitants of a certain administrative-territorial unit in order to have their language recognised officially. The second possibility is that historical territories where Transylvanian Hungarians statistically form a dominant majority (i.e. Szeklerland) are granted territorial autonomy. The territoriality principle would secure linguistic minority rights. We will conclude that the prospects for Hungarian as a regional language in Romania are more realistic than the recognition of Szeklerland’s territorial autonomy.

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