Ethno-Nationalism: Controversy Over Romanian Education Law

A RESTRICTIVE EDUCATION LAW PASSED IN Romania this year has contributed to the Hungarian minority’s growing feeling that its very survival as a separate ethnic entity is at stake. Relations between the country’s Romanian majority and Hungarian minority have long been problematic. Under Nicolae Ceausescu’s “national-communist” regime, Hungarians lost many of their minority rights. After a brief respite in 1990, the new regime returned to policies that the Magyars see as discriminatory. Several provisions in the new constitution and a number of laws viewed as restricting the expression of separate national identity have increased that feeling. Its intensity was demonstrated in March 1990, when Romanian resistance to Hungarian attempts to regain separate schools in Transylvania provoked the Targu Mures interethnic clashes. The education law only exacerbated the situation.