State And Ethnic Identity In Romania. An Incursion Into The Perceptions Of The Majorities And Minorities Of This Relation

Discussion and conclusionsAccording to the opinion of the majority, the presence of the minority in the public space is hard to accept, as its status is strongly contested.Thus, the majority claims that the role of the minorities is merely a cultural one and refuses any projects that have clear political aims (territorial autonomy, using the mother language in the administration, own schools, Hungarian university). As about the relationship between the minority and its motherland, the criteria are applied in completely different ways for a minority that lives on Romanian territory (Hungarians) and for the Romanian minorities abroad.From the point of view of the models that were presented in the beginning of this study, multinational democracy is the project that is obviously rejected by the majority. Its view on the relationship between state and nation tends towards ethnic democracy.As about the differences that arise because of the opinions of the Hungarians and Roma on the rights that they should have as minorities, there are several possible explanations: different problems and different needs that the two groups have require different policies, the public debates of the main policies that the Hungarians consider necessary in order to insure their development as opposed to the lack of similar debates on the politics that are necessary in order to promote the identity of the Roma.The attitude of the Hungarian minority towards the role of the majority, its own role and that of the other minorities, is quite coherent. It generally fights for the same rights that it considers necessary for the development of their own identity and for the identity of the Roma. As opposed to Romanians and Roma, they use the same criteria in order to refer to the support of the motherland towards its minorities abroad. Among the democracy models that this investigation started from, the Hungarian minority tends to prefer multinational democracy.The Roma minority is clearly oriented towards the measures which support the development of their own identity and promotes their presence in the cultural and in the political area, yet rejects similar projects for other minorities. In what concerns the policies for the Hungarian minority, it supports the view of the majority in most of the cases. The view of the Roma minority on the definition of the relationship between state and nation is not well defined. It combines the idea of multiculturalism (in connection with the ethnic group) with that of ethnic democracy. The experience of western countries granting rights to various minority groups tells us that in this field public policies should not reflect the demands of the masses, but rather the values of the elites. In these cases, changes at the level of public policies are the result of the elites redefining their own values, not of the change in the general attitude towards existing policies. For public policies concerning the protection of the rights of minorities living in Romania, the enforceability of this elitist model is quite obvious, because public policies are the result of negotiations between political elites rather than of demands from the population. It remains to be seen to what extent these policies will redefine, in the long term, the way in which the majority refers to the relationship between state and nation. Barometer of Ethnic Relations 1994-2002. A Perspective of the Interethnic Climate of Romania, edited by Gabriel BĂDESCU, Mircea KIVU and Monica ROBOTIN, Cluj, Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center Publishing House, 2005

by Monica Robotin