While the issue of the Szekler autonomy has attracted considerable tabloid interest in the past two decades, it is rarely addressed in more systematic, scholarly accounts available for a wider international audience. The political project of achieving some form of autonomy has been on the agenda of several political actors speaking in the name of Romania’s sizeable Hungarian minority after 1989 and constitutes the object of heated debate between those actors and authorities of the Romanian state. In 2020 this debate recorded a peak which will seemingly require a new approach on behalf of protagonists, if the project is meant to be kept alive. This paper aims to fill some of the above-mentioned scholarly gap by providing an account of the parliamentary reception of the draft autonomy conceptions submitted by ethnic Hungarian politicians to Romania’s parliament in the three decades that passed since the regime change. Based on a content analysis of documents produced during the legislative process, we identify the most important arguments, as well as a number of procedural tricks deployed by Romanian politicians and political parties against the autonomy initiatives. We also emphasize the differences between the reception and trajectories of the bills, which is clearly related to the authorship and political backing of the various autonomy drafts. This comparative analysis also allows the formulation of a number of conclusions concerning the prospects of the Hungarian autonomy movement.
The European Commission, following the adoption of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, has released the Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021–2027 (hereinafter “The Action Plan”). The Action Plan outlines recommendations that aim to foster integrated and cohesive societies. However, this article argues that the understanding of integration advanced by the Action Plan has the potential to be counterproductive. Utilizing the expertise of minority rights bodies in the field of diversity management, this article scrutinizes the Action Plan’s approach, highlighting that it suffers from several distinct flaws. Specifically, the Action Plan is underpinned by a narrative that securitizes both Islam and migration; conflates integration with assimilation; and adopts a thin understanding of integration and intercultural dialogue. Moving forward, the EU should take heed of the work of minority rights bodies to develop a comprehensive integration strategy.
The Peace Treaties of Versailles and Saint German of 1919 provided for a number of plebiscites to be held to determine Germany’s borders with Denmark, Poland and France and Austria’s borders with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (eventually Yugoslavia). Plebiscites under international supervision were held in Schleswig (1920), Upper Silesia (1920), Allenstein and Marienwerder (1920), Carinthia/Kärnten (1920), and the Saar region (1935). A public consultation was made in the case of the districts of Eupen and Malmedy as well in 1920 regarding the border between Belgium and Germany. Although most of Western Hungary was awarded to Austria in 1919, Hungarian insurrection eventually led to a plebiscite in the Sopron/Ödenburg region as well in 1921. Three of these borders based on self-determination through referenda (Schleswig, Burgenland and Carinthia) still exist. This contribution presents the plebiscites and shows the creation of minorities and the impact of the minority situations. It offers a comparative analysis of history’s impact on contemporary minority-majority relations in the new border regions.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit Europe in February 2020, solidarity was one of the most frequently invoked concepts. However, despite the narrative of everyone being a potential target for the virus, some groups, like minorities, were more susceptible to the virus. This can mainly be traced back to health inequalities, stemming from differences in social determinants of health: low socioeconomic status, crowded housing conditions that make social distancing impossible, employment in essential jobs with no remote working possibilities, and lack of access to health care, just to name the most prominent ones. In addition to health inequalities, minorities were also disproportionately affected by discrimination and racism, at the individual, group-related and systemic level. Addressing health inequalities, racism and discrimination is therefore the most important step in reducing minorities’ vulnerability to Covid-19 and constitutes both a foundation for societal cohesion as well as an important public health concept in the face of potential future pandemics.