Hungarian minority wants Magyar to become official regional language in Romania in 20 years

The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) hopes to make Magyar, the Hungarian language, an official regional language in Romania in the next 20 years, according to Kovacs Peter, secretary general of UDMR. To achieve this target, Hungarian politicians in Romania would need a change in the Constitution and the support of Romanian politicians.

Kovacs said Hungarian could become an official language in the areas where the Hungarian population is more dense, in the regions of Bihor, Satu Mare and Salaj.

“With small steps we have climbed from zero linguistic rights in 1989 to 64 linguistic rights and we don’t want to stop here. In the long term, our target is to have Hungarian an official language regionally. If we look at the timeline of zero to 64 linguistic rights in 22 years, we should make our language official in some regions in 20 years,” said Kovacs Peter.

Having Hungarian as an official language will require the votes of 44 percent of Romanian politicians and the support of local Romanian communities, according to the UDMR representative. He took part in the launch of brochures detailing linguistic rights Hungarians have in Romania and how they can be used when dealing with certain institutions. The brochures were printed in 3,000 copies and will be distributed from April 25 to seven counties in Transylvania where Hungarian minorities live.

The Romanian Prime Minister recently agreed to allow Hungarians to set up a Hungarian language section at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Targu Mures. UDMR is part of the ruling coalition in Romania, led by the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL).

Hungarians in Romania, which are more numerous in the Central area of the country, already have classes in their mother tongue, as well as bilingual street signs in the counties where ehtnic Hungarians make up the majority of inhabitants.

Ethnic Hungarians account for 5.6 percent of the country’s population – or about 1.2 million people, according to the 2011 census preliminary data. Hungarians are in the majority in the counties of Harghita, – 84.8 percent, Covasna – 73.6 percent, while they are also numerous in the counties of Mures, Satu Mare, Bihor and Salaj – between 23 and 37 percent.

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(photo source: Corina Saceanu/

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