Mesajul primarului Emil Boc cu ocazia Congresului Uniunii Federative a Nationalitatilor Europene – FUEN Congress – care se desfasoara la Cluj-Napoca in perioada 17-20 mai 2017:
Dear participants to this edition of FUEN Congress,
Welcome to Cluj-Napoca – an ancestral Roman town! Welcome to Transylvania – the land over the forests! Welcome to Romania – the homeland for all its citizens, no matter their ethnicity!
I would dare to say that this gathering, discussing issues pertaining to national and autochthonous minorities in Europe, takes place in the right place – the place where various cultures, various identities, various religions, various languages meet together in one open-minded, inspiring, deferential, forward looking space. History brought together in this one space all this variety which was preserved and promoted over the years – even in those years when the concepts of equality, of equity, of respect for what the other stands for were only theoretical; this fact is in itself a guarantee that this variety shall never be lost. I shall name this space – Cluj-Napoca.
You will find in this space a solid example of intercultural dialogue which carries with it historical testimonies and values and which is the essence of the Romanian policy in the field of protection and promotion of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
Romania hosts on its territory twenty national minorities of various dimensions, which, all in all, represent around 10% of the Romanian population. Each individual of each of these minorities is an asset, contributing to the definition of the unique cultural Romanian space.
The integration of persons belonging to national minorities into the Romanian society and the dialogue between the members of the majority and those of the minorities have contributed to the strengthening of the intercultural dialogue and, equally, to furthering and improving Romanian policies in the field of protection of rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
The system of protection of the right to ethnical, cultural, linguistic, religious identity of the Romanian citizens belonging to national minorities has been developed by Romania with the invaluable support and fundamental involvement of these citizens in order to respond to their specific needs in the field of education, culture, religion.
This very system has proven that the philosophy behind the concept of “individual rights” in the field of protection of persons belonging to national minorities does NOT at all lead to assimilation; quite to the contrary, it is in itself a guarantee of the respect for fundamental rights which are inherent in every human being. On the basis of this approach and of the policies developed in its application, small numerical minorities survived in Romania, their culture, their tradition, their language being preserved to the benefit of future generations. Take, for example, the Armenians (around 1.370 persons) or the Macedonians (around 1.270 persons).
It is not for nothing that this system of protection has been called a model of protection. It is a good example of protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities and, certainly, a unique example of the involvement of persons belonging to national minorities in the decision making and decision taking processes in the interest of the whole Romanian society and not only in their own interest. The example of the Hungarian minority (which is the largest in Romania) is eloquent, being represented, on a standalone basis, in the Romanian Parliament, being part, along the years, in various Governmental coalitions, ruling important public institutions, essential in the field of shaping up and promoting policies in the field of national minorities and also heading or being part of local self-governments.
I shall invoke at this point, in support of my statement, Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission, who, in the Aula Magna of one of Romania’s most prestigious universities, Babeş-Bolyai University, affirmed:
“I am pleased to note that the “Romanian model” of protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities is today presented as one based on recognising and appreciating diversity, valuing inter-culturality and a means to develop a diverse but cohesive, integrated and peaceful society”.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Romania has learned from its own experience the challenges to which policies in the field of national minorities must respond to and has undoubtedly understood that solid democratic societies are based on tolerance, mutual respect, cultural diversity, interethnic and intercultural dialogue for the benefit of the society as a whole.
We can currently speak in Romania about interethnic „cultural phenomena“ (festivals, theater representations, concerts and various artistic events), of bilingual education systems, of varied media programmes in the languages of the minorities that undoubtly contribute to interaction in between members of different ethnic groups, to promotion of mutual understanding and to the strengthening of tolerance.
Cluj–Napoca is a multicultural space which stands proof of all of the above: it has a rich cultural environment which mingles elements of various ethnic, cultural, religious identities, making it a testimony of a vivid intercultural and interfaith dialogue, of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.
Every building in Cluj-Napoca has a certain historical, cultural meaning either for the Romanians, or for the Hungarians, or for the Germans, or for other minorities living here or for all of them together; what is essential, however, is that it is part of the common cultural heritage of the Napocensis/Kolozsvar/Klausenburg society and, in the bigger picture, of the Romanian society.
The cultural, artistic and educational phenomena in Cluj-Napoca would certainly not have been so powerful and overwhelming in absence of these varied “sources of inspiration”, of its multicultural background, of its complex history. In the dynamism of youth, which changes the faces of societies, ethnic boundaries have spiritualized; ethnicity has been transformed into a powerful engine for creativity, making the “otherness” a beautiful, enjoyable and inspiring thing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In a world marked by mobility and globalization, Europe – the European society – needs, maybe today more than ever, models of peaceful coexistence, of peaceful living together, models of dialogue in between the majority and the minorities, of intercultural dialogue, which could serve as lighthouses for the strengthening of tolerance, mutual respect and acceptance within the society, all of them being important elements of peace and stability.
Romania offers plenty of such lighthouse examples of peaceful coexistence, of tolerance, of acceptance, Cluj-Napoca being just one of them.
I would invite you to thoroughly discover Cluj-Napoca, sensitively, culturally, during your stay.
Take the route of the churches and you will find respect!
Take the route of the universities and you will find respect!
Take the route of historical buildings and monuments and you will find respect!
Take the route of the institutions of culture and you will find respect!
Respect for the other!
Take back with you as much as you can of the space Cluj-Napoca and of its intercultural experience.
Mayor of Cluj-Napoca City