László Kövér’s interview: On national survival and struggle (II)
After questions about antisemitism and the attempt to rebury József Nyirő it was inevitable that the conversation would turn to Romania and eventually to the Hungarian minorities and their parties in the neighboring countries.
Kövér seems to be especially attached to Transylvania, which he visits as often as he can. He developed a particularly close relationship with Jenő Szász, the chairman of the Magyar Polgári Párt (Partidul Civic Maghiar), established in 2004. MPP is not exactly a success story, but it is perhaps the most nationalistic of the three Hungarian parties in Romania. Therefore, it is not surprising that László Kövér, representing the right wing of Fidesz, accepted the position of honorary chairman for life.
The second party is the newly formed Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt (Partidul Popular Maghiar din Transilvania) that seems to be supported by Viktor Orbán. The chairman of the party is Tibor Toro, while the idea of a new party came from László Tőkés, a close associate of Orbán and currently one of the deputy speakers of the European Parliament. Support for it is also minimal.
The important Hungarian party in Romania is the Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség (Uniunea Democrată Magiară din România or Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania). It was founded in late 1989, immediately after the fall of communism in Romania. From 1996 to 2008 RMDSZ was a member or a supporter of every government. After the 2008 elections the party was in opposition, but at the end of 2009 it became once again a member of the government coalition. Thus, RMDSZ has played an important part in Romanian politics. Leaders of the party often filled important government positions, including the post of deputy prime minister, and therefore the party was instrumental in achieving concessions from the Romanian majority. RMDSZ is a right of center party.
So, let’s see what László Kövér thinks of RMDSZ. Kövér is convinced that “RMDSZ is a party whose roots go back to Bolshevism.” No wonder that the leaders of RMDSZ get along so well with the politicians of MSZP. After all “they share the same morality, the same mentality, and their interests are also the same.” Both parties “are controlled from ‘the outside’ and both aim at turning the Transylvanian Hungarians away from Budapest as their point of political orientation.”
Let’s stop here for a minute. Accusing RMDSZ of Bolshevik roots and equating it with the equally Bolshevik MSZP only shows where László Kövér stands politically. And what does Kövér mean by saying that these two parties are controlled from “the outside,” placing the words between quotation marks? Does it mean “abroad”? Most likely. Does it mean that MSZP is controlled by Western European and American liberal circles while RMDSZ is controlled by MSZP, located outside of Romania in Hungary? Does it also mean that these two parties are in cahoots against Fidesz? Also possible.
At this point the reporter for Magyar Hírlap interjected that in this case Kövér and Zsolt Németh, undersecretary of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, don’t see eye to eye. After all, Németh only a few days ago suggested that past grievances be put aside, and he offered a new beginning of cooperation with RMDSZ and Most-Híd, the Slovak-Hungarian party. Kövér, however, maintained that “perhaps I’m behind but as far as I know the Hungarian government’s official point of view” is not that of Zsolt Németh. He reiterated, however, that RMDSZ is the “legitimate representative of the Transylvanian Hungarians and therefore the Hungarian government will maintain a partnership with it.”
However, the sins of RMDSZ are manifold. “Among the post-Soviet countries from the Baltic to the Balkans RMDSZ is the party that spent the longest period of time as part of a ruling coalition and therefore its ‘high officers’ who have been successfully integrated into the Romanian political elite are responsible for the dramatic decrease of the Transylvanian Hungarian population, for its increasing economic and social insignificance, for the constant questioning and whittling of its political rights, and for thwarting its desire for autonomy.”
Certainly, a party that has been part of government coalitions of another country cannot be the true representative of “the Hungarian nation that, although it lives under the suzerainty of different countries, forms an organic unit.” In Kövér’s eyes members of the nation who live outside of Hungary cannot have different interests depending on locality. There are political scientists and historians even in “the institutions of the Fidesz government” who claim that the Hungarian nation shows signs of divergence. Such a view leads directly to the next step: “Budapest should no longer tell the Hungarian politicians in the neighboring countries what to do and vice versa.” In brief, “we should at last forget the past and each other.” Certain Hungarian politicians in the neighboring countries for personal advantage or for the sake of compromise sacrifice the goals and unity of the national strategy. “These people, representing the interests of their masters, fill the role of overseers among the Hungarians who are in a hostage situation.” As for Most-Híd in Slovakia, it is not even a Hungarian party. “It is a Slovak party that shows some interest in Hungarian questions.”
So, what did we learn from Kövér’s interview about his views on the Hungarian minority question in the neighboring countries? Cooperation between Hungarians and Romanians or Hungarians and Slovaks is unacceptable. The Hungarian minorities should in no way try to accommodate and support any Romanian or Slovak government. They should stay apart, following a “national strategy” dictated from Budapest. But such cooperation between the Hungarian parties and the Budapest government is acceptable only if Fidesz is in power. Both the RMDSZ and Most-Híd are unacceptable because they accept that for almost one hundred years they have been living not in Hungary but in Romania or Slovakia. And that is a mortal sin, as far as Kövér is concerned. His national strategy seems to mean a constant struggle between Hungarians and Romanians and/or Slovaks.
Kövér advocates an ongoing struggle for national survival. Every Hungarian politician in a neighboring country who is ready to cooperate with the majority is a traitor. Just as József Nyirő described the struggle between ethnic Hungarians and Romanians in that Transylvanian village at the turn of the twentieth century so Kövér sees the situation of the Hungarians in Romania today. There can be no compromise, no cooperation because that would mean the death of the nation. Today, just as a hundred and ten years ago, there is a fierce struggle for the survival of part of the unitary nation that is the hostage of foreigners. No wonder that László Kövér thinks so highly of Nyirő.