Transylvanian cash row sorted

September 17, 1999

Hungary has earmarked two bill-ion forints (Pounds 5.5 million) for a Hungarian-taught university in Romanian Transylvania.

According to Bishop Laszlo Toekes of the Hungarian Reformed Church, the money will go to upgrade a private HRC college into a private university.

This was announced by the bishop last weekend at an "ecumenical" rally of ethnic Hungarians, which was attended by representatives of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, the main political voice of Romania's 1.7 million Hungarian minority, and representatives of the Roman Catholic church.

Bishop Toekes is honorary chairman of the HDUR, but the suggestion that the college (which he had founded) should get the two billion forints originally ran into opposition from other HDUR leaders.

HDUR chairman Bela Marko urged that the money should be spread around to upgrade and extend existing and promised Hungarian-taught courses at Romanian state universities and colleges, rather than going to a single private institution.

The HDUR leadership, together with the academics who teach the courses, should decide, he said. However, the presence of these academics, as well as leading HDUR politicians, at last week's rally, suggest that these disagreements have been resolved.

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