On May 13, 2020 the Romanian Parliament approved a law declaring June 4, the date of the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, a national holiday. It now requires only President Klaus Iohannis’ signature to take effect.
The vote (235 yes, 21 no and 25 abstentions) was seen as a culmination of three weeks of rising nationalist discourse aimed at the Hungarian ethnic minority in Romania and partly against neighboring Hungary, a fellow European Union member state and NATO ally.
“A strong and self-assured [national] majority that has no remorse never flaunts its might, does not knowingly manufacture situations in which the other [side] feels humiliated and mocked, as you have done in the past three weeks”, said during the parliamentary debate Hunor Kelemen, President of the largest political party of the Hungarian minority in Romania *DAHR/RMDSZ. “This, dear colleagues, begs the question: What do you intend to prove with this project? And to whom do you want to prove it?” – asked his fellow Members of Parliament Mr. Kelemen.
The new law makes the day a national holiday in Romania during which, as with all other national holidays, the national flag must be flown on all state institutions.
In the often-strained relations between Romania’s majority population and its ethnic Hungarian minority – and also between the two neighboring European Union and NATO member states – there is no issue that causes more division and often bitter disputes than the Treaty of Trianon, signed June 4, 1920. One of the peace treaties that officially ended World War I, the Treaty of Trianon divided more than two-thirds of the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary among its neighbors. These included the Kingdom of Romania, the Czechoslovak Republic, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and – most ironically – the First Austrian Republic, the half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that was in fact responsible for igniting (even if it was not the root cause of) World War I. As a result, Hungary lost 72 percent of its territory and 64 percent of its population to the abovementioned neighboring countries.