Despite full EU membership Romania has not settled its obligations towards its Hungarian minority communityContinue reading
A taxi driver in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár, Romania) refused to give a woman a lift because of her Hungarian nationality and was eventually fined for his anti-Hungarian actions. Mayor Emil Boc said it was an isolated case, but anti-Hungarian actions are quite common in Romania.
The Hungarian woman reported the incident on her social media page on Tuesday evening, and her post was picked up by Romanian news portal Stiri de Cluj. She wrote that the taxi driver refused to give her a lift on the grounds that he “does not transport landless people.” He used the Romanian term “bozgoroaice,” which is used by nationalist Romanians to insult Hungarians living in Romania, and means “landless.” He also used obscene language against the rejected client.
The news portal Krónika interviewed the complainant, 58-year-old Margit Kerekes, who said that she was visiting her daughter and granddaughter in the city’s Hajnal district, and wanted to take a taxi home from there, but the taxi driver did not understand the address and route she had given.
It was obvious from my speech that I was Hungarian, and that probably made him angry. He used obscene words and told me to get out of the car because he was not taking me anywhere,”
the woman was quoted as saying.
After the incident was reported in the press, the mayor’s office fined the taxi driver five hundred lei (EUR 100) for his anti-Hungarian behavior.
The Cluj-Napoca taxi company Terra Fan said it had stopped cooperating with the driver and that the company’s interest group would investigate the case. “This is an extremely regrettable and blatant case, which we will not tolerate,” the taxi company’s managing director told Krónika. Vasile Inovan said it was a “problematic” taxi driver who had a history of disciplinary and professional misconduct.
Mayor Emil Boc also reacted to the incident, calling the taxi driver’s behavior “unacceptable”. He told Napoca FM radio that it was an isolated case, not typical of taxi drivers in the city, and it would be unfair to generalize. Boc stressed that
such cases should not be tolerated and that “tolerance is a principle that all Cluj residents should strive for,” since Cluj is “made what it is today” by its multiculturalism.
He added that even the smallest offences should be punished, because “if we let small things accumulate,” they can lead to ethnic conflicts, even war. “Every day we have to promote safe behavior, to understand that everyone has a place in this city, that is what makes Cluj Napoca what it is today,” said Boc, stressing the European spirit of the city.
However, this was not the first time that a Hungarian was insulted in the city. In 2016, a girl was insulted by the doctor on duty at the Cluj children’s clinic because of her lack of Romanian language skills, and the doctor and the hospital were fined following the incident.
Anti-Hungarian actions take place in the whole of Romania. Most recently, a referee first interrupted, then finally stopped the soccer match between Romanian clubs Sepsi OSK and FCU 1948 Craiova on Sunday in the 26th minute after the visiting team’s fans chanted anti-Hungarian slogans. At most games of the Hungarian-owned Sepsi, away fans regularly shout anti-Hungarian slogans, something the management of the Szeklerland club has repeatedly spoken out against, complaining that Romanian soccer authorities do not crack down on this behavior severely enough.
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