A Romanian ninth grader in Covasna county who wore a headband displaying the Romanian flag colors on the National Day of Hungarians and several sports supporters having burned Hungary’s flag during a match recently re-ignited the flame between Romania and neighbor Hungary. The two incidents came soon after the unofficial flag issue of the Secuiesc region, or Székely Land, where a Hungarian minority lives, which also made headlines and triggered high level reactions.
On March 15, several ninth grade students at the Korosi Csoma Sandor high school in Covasna city, one of the regions inhabited by a Hungarian minority, wore accessories highlighting Romania’s flag colors, and one of the students, Sabina Elena (in picture), who wore a hair band, received threats on a social network. Several days later, on March 22, Romanians in various cities started street protests in support for the girl. They displayed Romanian flags and some wore similar tricolor headbands.
The 15-year old who triggered the scandal says she was threatened by colleagues as well as by her teacher, who ended up taking her tricolor headband. She also said that she hated the fact that Hungarians hate her, in response to media reports suggesting she said she hated Hungarians, according to Romanian media. The Education Ministry started an investigation at the Romanian – Hungarian high school in Covasna.
The second incident took place in Cluj Napoca, where three days ago a football supported burned the Hungarian flag during a match between Rapid and CFR Cluj. The Romanian Football federation issued an apologetic statement and both football teams received fines. The incident came just before the upcoming Romania – Hungary football match set to take place on March 22 (Friday) in Budapest.
The new conflict escalated after Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said publicly that the letter from the four EU member states asking for a safeguard mechanism for democratic values was referring to Hungary and not Romania. The Romanian PM also said he is annoyed with the fact he is being mistaken for the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, who has the same first name. Soon after his statements, the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry called in the Romanian Ambassador to Budapest and asked for explanations of the statement. In response, the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry said the reaction was out of proportion and surprising.
(photo source: Facebook)