Romanian Law on Ethnic Minorities Likely to be Adopted Next Year
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 10:45 AM

Parliamentary representatives of ethnic minorities in Romania intend to initiate a bill for ethnic minorities. Although several laws already exist, no basic law on minorities has been voted for so far. Some still hope that the bill will be enacted this year, although 2005 seems more probable, as 2004 is election year.

There have been nine legislative initiatives on ethnic minorities in Romania since 1989, but they were either not accepted by all minorities, or were not discussed by Parliament.

One of the earlier ones initiated by the representatives of Romania's largest ethnic minority (the Hungarians), called the Law on National Minorities and Autonomous Communities, was introduced to the lower house of the Parliament in 1993 but was never discussed.

A new move came in 1998, after the Department for Protecting Minorities was set up by the Government in 1997, when experts began examining of minority laws in other countries in order to devise a Romanian version.  The Interethnic Relations Department (DRI) of the General Secretariat of the Government also organized an international seminar on this topic in Mangalia in early May.

Out of the twenty officially recognized minorities in Romania, the numerically strong ethnic Hungarians have their own parliamentary representation, while the other nineteen are organized into eighteen parliamentary organizations (the Czechs and Slovaks share the same one), each of them having a representative in the Parliament as members of the Other Minorities Group.

The Minorities Protection Office, as well as the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), consulted Hungarian and Serbian minority laws, as well as the European institutions and all the ethnic minority organizations in Romania in order to prepare the legislative initiative.

The new bill will most probably be based on an amended version of the legislative RMDSZ initiative of 1993.

Compiled from:

Áron Balló, "Law on Ethnic Minorities Likely to be Adopted Next Year," Eurolang, 12 August 2004