According to the adopted document, an autonomous region with legal standing is to be created in Romania. It should include Covasna and Harghita counties as well as part of Mures county, where the majority of inhabitants are Hungarian ethnics.
It is planned that autonomy will have a president with a term of office of four years. The Hungarian language will become official and will be used in public institutions by citizens living in this region.
The document proposes free use of “symbols of the Hungarian nation.” Autonomous status is to be granted to the region after such law is approved and confirmed at a local referendum. The abolition of autonomy must also be approved by referendum.
Over 600,000 Hungarian ethnics live in the Covasna, Harghita, and Mures counties, according to the results of the 2011 census. In Harghita and Covasna, they represent the majority. After the Romanian Revolution in December 1989, the ethnic Hungarians in this region have made several attempts to get more autonomy through legislative initiatives promoted by Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR). However, the Romanian Parliament has rejected all the bills in this sense.
The bill was initiated by deputies of the UDMR, who say that it reflects the “historical identity of the region” and will provide equal opportunities for citizens and protection of the Hungarian identity.
The rights of 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians in Romania, and about 700 thousand Székelys in eastern Transylvania, have been at the center of a political feud between the two countries for decades.