EPP Congress Plenary Session - Kelemen Hunor DAHR's president opening speech
Dear Delegates, dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my great honor to greet you as the co-host of the European People’s Party’s Bucharest Congress. I do this on behalf of the RMDSZ and the Hungarian minority, which is the largest national community living in a member state of the European Union.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Right after the fall of the communism, our Alliance has been involved in the political life of Romania, acting devotedly for the European and Euro-Atlantic integration and promoting the democratic values of the rule of law. There are still some who wonder if Romania has been ready or not for the membership of th European Union, and whether its due place is really within the Union and inside of the Schengen area. But there are quite many who tend to forget that – after almost half a century spent in the darkness of communist dictatorship – our country had to rebuild democracy from scratch. However, it is fairly easy to build and regulate the fundamental political institutions, as well as their basic principles and working mechanisms but it takes a lot longer to change the mindsets of people.
The economic crisis of the past years has but aggravated the existing problems. Withstanding any of the aforementioned, the two-and-a-half-year PDL-UDMR government coalition managed to carry out the most necessary reforms so that the citizens do not turn their backs on the EU despite of the economic crisis. Here in Romania, we do not wish to isolate ourselves and we trust that we share a common European future, for better and for worse.
We do know that the European Union, and the EPP leaders from within are facing the same economic and social challenges. And we are very much aware that none of our countries shall succeed on its own. There should not be the same few winners all of the time while most of the countries keep on losing and lagging behind. Therefore, I’m strongly convinced and I say it out loud: we need not less of Europe but a lot more. In order for our societies to achieve success, we need not less cooperation but a lot more. As it is not the shallow and empty standpoints but the tight and responsible integration that shall definitely help us overcome the crisis! On the behalf of the Hungarian community and the UDMR I daresay that, in the long run, we need a strong Europe, an efficient federal Europe. We need a Europe where multilingualism, intercultural dialogue and tolerance shall prevail! We need a Europe built on the grounds of freedom, human dignity and shared responsibilities!
Ladies and getlemen! Dear guests!
Following the aforementioned, please allow me now to speak in my mother tongue about the specific problems and challenges faced by the Hungarian community in Romania.
If there is anything that we truly fear here in Eastern Europe today, well, that is the return of bad habits and solutions. There have been things, discourses, threatening messages and deeds that, I think, we have already left behind. However, it is the bad habit of attempted nationalist exclusion that we should put an end to. That is already history. A way of no return. As there is no domestic political interest that might wish for a comeback.
The Hungarians in Romania, as well as each and every citizen of Romania, are interested in a strong, federal European Union. As there is no other alliance to protect us against the severe consequences of the economic crisis. Just as well as there is no other alliance to impede the return of any bad habits and outdated politics. A strong federal Europe also means a strong Romania, and a strong Hungarian community therein.
In our common Europe, the Hungarians in Romania have the same desires as any other native national minority – namely, they claim the right to decide on their own in matters pertaining to their national identities. This is already being regarded as a state of fact in several EU member countries. The Hungarians in Romania have come a long way since the collapse of the communism. Aiming partnership with the Romanian majority, we have broadened the range of minority rights and we have tried to have it acknowledged with the majority society that it is neither the state nor the majority that shall weaken once with the enlargement of any minority rights. We have been dreaming of a Europe where communities feel at home, where thoughts and ideas never cease to compete, where development and innovation is the utmost driving force and where the regions built on historical traditions are the trustees of the European solidarity and cohesion.
As such, the European Popular Party is viewed as the most important spiritual and political initiator, dedicating a sub-chapter to the traditional ethnic minorities in the basic program of its platform. I do believe that the idea of the European Popular Party, which has been duly labelled as a bold initiative, the minority framework regulations shall break down the wall of European indifference that we have faced so very often, and – along with so many other intentions – it shall turn into reality in the forthcoming years.
I wish the Congress a lot of success and, do enjoy your stay in Bucharest, Romania!