Romanian government approves new minorities law

Monday, May 23, 2005 File:Meeting in Victoria Palace.JPG

The Romanian Government approved the new draft minorities law, which will give Romania one of the most progressive minority laws in Europe
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The Romanian government has approved a new draft minorities law which will give national minorities the right to study in their native language at all levels of education, from pre-school to university.

If the law is approved by the parliament, the state must guarantee mother tongue education to recognised minorities, either in separate institutions or separate classes. Class sizes in pre-school, primary school and middle school must not exceed 10 people, while 15 students is the limit for high school. All exams can also be taken directly in the mother tongue of the minorities, and minorities will receive funding from both the central government and local government to set up educational institutions in their native language.

Aside from education rights, the new draft legislation also states that authorities do not have a right to undertake legislative or administrative measures to change the ethnic mixture of an area. The law stipulates that minorities have the right to set up cultural organisations, and are entitled to space for TV and radio broadcast in their language.

The draft law states that the recognised minority groups to which it will apply include: Albanians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Croats, Greeks, Jews, Germans, Italians, Macedonians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Roma, Serbs, Slovaks, Tatars, Turks and Ukrainians. Romania's largest minority groups are the Hungarians, which make up 6.9% of the population, followed by the Roma, which make up 2.5%.

The new law brings Romania's ethnic minority rights to European Union standards, giving the country one of the most modern and progressive pieces of legislation in this field in Europe.