In Romania, 1 December is celebrated as a national holiday. It is referred to as ‘Great Union Day’ there, as in 1918, it was on that day that the Great National Assembly of Gyulaférvár (Alba Iulia) declared the accession of Transylvania, the Bánság (Banat), Partium, and Máramaros (Maramureș), that had been part of the Kingdom of Hungary until that point, to the Romanian Kingdom (other regions, which were never part of Hungary, joined as well).
The Hungarian-language version of Euronews, a Brussels-based news site, decided to report on the occasion in an article with the headline ‘Romania Reunited 105 Years Ago’.
That is historically wrong and offensive to Hungarians.
The word ‘reunification’ suggests that these parts were once part of Romania, and are culturally and historically Romanian, which, evidently, is not the case. Even the Romanians themselves do not call their holiday ‘Great Reunification Day,’ just Great Union Day, to celebrate the new union that formed the new Romanian Kingdom.
Since then, Euronews has changed the headline to read ‘Celebration on One Side, National Tragedy on the Other: Transylvania Was Annexed by Romania 105 Years Ago’. However, the original title has already been cached by the Google search engine, so a simple Google search will reveal the original title.
Also, the online version of the Hungarian political magazine Mandiner has also caught the error, and reported on it in an article of their own.
The end of World War I saw the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The subsequent Treaty of Trianon awarded Transylvania to the Kingdom of Romania. About two thirds of Hungary’s territories were taken away. Therefore, 4 June, the day the treaty was signed, is commemorated as a National Day of Mourning in Hungary to this day. Ethnic Hungarians, in several locations still being the majority population, were subjugated to forced assimilation by their new governments, as well as ethnic harassment from the nationalist factions of their new countries.
The Trianon tragedy is one of the few issues where there tends to be a universal consensus across the political spectrum. Even the leftist-liberal politicians and voters of Hungary recognize the grave injustice the country had to endure. For example, Gergely Karácsony, the liberal Mayor of Budapest, ordered public transportation to stop for one minute in the city on 4 June 2020, the 100th anniversary of the treaty.
That is why
it is odd that the staff at Euronews writing in Hungarian, presumably native Hungarians, would be so blind to the offensive connotations of the headline they put out.
The article itself did not read as Romanian nationalist propaganda—it simply described the way Romania celebrated its national holiday, and what ceremonial gestures President Klaus Iohannis of Romania did to commemorate the occasion. However, the way it was written displayed total ignorance of the historical context and grave tactlessness when covering a sensitive topic.