Ethnic Hungarians in Romania demand a territorial autonomy to Hungarian-populated areas in Romania.
Three Hungarian associations linked to the Democratic Union of Romanian Hungarians have filed a request with the UN, accusing Bucharest of breaching the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Romania. Romania's 1.5 million Hungarians are determined to preserve their ethnic identity and homeland.
The Hungarian minority in Romania was formed as a result of the redrafting of borders in Europe after the defeat of Austria-Hungary in the First World War. Thus, 1.5 million Hungarians found themselves living on territories which formally belong to Romania.
What makes this conflict yet worse is that Hungary and Romania, both members of the EU and NATO, are dreading whatever conflict there might spring from within. But Hungarians in Slovakia and Slovakians in Hungary are facing similar challenges. The Basques are undermining stability in Spain, souring Spain's relations with France. And France has to deal with separatist-minded Corsicans. The government of neighboring Italy has long included representatives of the Northern League, who seek independence for the northern areas. In Belgium, conflict between Flanders and Wallonia has disrupted overall effort to form a viable government. And the Cyprus issue is a constant headache in Southeast Europe. Cyprus joined the EU as a single whole but part of it is the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognized by Turkey. Instead of stabilizing the situation on the continent, the enlargement of NATO and the EU triggered an upsurge in separatism. Expert Alexander Karasev of the Slavic Studies Institute puts the blame on the double standard approach demonstrated by the West.
"The world community should produce a decision which would meet the interests of all parties concerned," he says. "The western support of Albanian separatists in Kosovo, including the recent recognition of its unilaterally declared independence by the UN International Court, has encouraged separatists across Europe. Even though Russia has been urging the UN and the OSCE to work out a common approach regarding ethnic minorities, the West stayed deaf to the demands. No wonder then that these ethnic minorities are claiming ever more rights and are set on following the Kosovo scenario."
This dangerous trend can also be felt in Canada's Quebec and in China's Taiwan, which sends instability waves throughout the whole of the Pacific Rim countries.