Hungarian medical education in Transylvania debated in Strasbourg

Hungarian medical education in Transylvania debated in Strasbourg

2011. 11. 17.

Professor Attila Brassai, the President of the Bolyai Initiative Committee, was the guest of the Intergroup meeting in November. László Tőkés, the Vice President of the European Parliament, proposed as an agenda item Hungarian medical education at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Targu Mures.

Mr Tőkés, a Hungarian MEP from Transylvania, outlined the situation of those Hungarian educational institutions which had been closed and where the language of education became Romanian as part of a policy of assimilation. According to him, the assimilation of the Hungarian communities in Transylvania is still continuing, and with the support of the Romanian government. He proposed that the European Union should take actions not only concerning national minorities living in other parts of the world, but in the EU where there is still a need to establish a legal system protecting the rights of national minorities.

Attila Brassai in his speech discussed the ongoing battle that the Transylvanian Hungarians have been fighting for the restoration of Hungarian faculties and for an independent Hungarian State University that was abolished during Ceausescu's dictatorship. The professor also emphasized that the Romanian leadership at the University fails to comply with current legislation and that they are arbitrarily interfering with the independence of Hungarian medical education in Transylvania.

Kinga Gál, MEP (Fidesz-EPP), Intergroup co-chair, stated that “in a European Union which is based on democracy and the rule of law, both the observation and any infringement of the law should be followed by legal and political consequences”. According to the MEP, the case of the University of Medicine of Targu Mures is further evidence to show how the implementation of minority legislation is often ignored by local leaders who belong to the majority.

László Surján MEP (Fidesz-EPP) highlighted that in several EU member countries there exists legislation to protect and support minority rights, but that they are not implemented by the governments. Csaba Sógor, Gyula Winkler (Transylvanian Hungarian MEPs), and Francois Alfonsi (Corsican MEP) were of the same opinion.

According to the participants situation of the University highlights a serious problem with the EU’s Copenhagen criteria, set up to ensure the protection of national minority rights by a candidate country, which are not being enforced or monitored effectively after the accession process took place. This could result in serious conflicts and tensions both within and between member states that could undermine intra-community trust in the long term.

The Intergroup also heard from the Western Thrace Turkish organisation, ABTTF (Halit Habipoglu and Melek Arik). They described the serious problems facing the Turkish minority which include infringements over their rights to freedom of association, self-identification, religion, political participation and education.