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July 23, 2024
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Romanian Supreme Court Ruling Sparks Concerns over Property Rights

The recent ruling by the Romanian Supreme Court regarding the restitution of church properties has ignited controversy, with critics including Hunor Kelemen, president of the Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Romania (RMDSZ), denouncing it as unacceptable and setting a dangerous precedent.

In a joint press conference with Senator Attila Cseke, president of the Bihor County Organization of  RMDSZ, Mr. Kelemen expressed deep concern over the decision, emphasizing its potential to cast doubt on property ownership and legitimize what he called the “theft of communists.”

The ruling, reported by the public portal, Krónika, mandates churches to provide direct evidence of ownership for their schools, as listed in 19th-century land registers. While intended to clarify the legal landscape of church restitution, the Supreme Court’s decision has introduced significant hurdles to the process.

Hunor Kelemen strongly criticized the ruling, asserting that it challenges the fundamental right to property and raises doubts about Romania’s adherence to the rule of law. He argued that questioning property rights undermines the essence of a state governed by the rule of law.

Highlighting the impracticality of demanding 19th-century documents, Mr. Kelemen deemed it unacceptable, particularly given Romania’s commitment to returning confiscated properties to churches after the fall of the communist regime.

He called for a parliamentary solution to safeguard the security of private property, emphasizing the need to prevent any clause that could potentially violate property rights. He warned that failure to find a legal resolution could expose individuals, institutions, and churches to the risk of property rights infringement.

Recalling the historical context, he emphasized that properties confiscated by the communist regime were specifically taken from churches, and the intention behind restitution laws was to return these properties to their original owners. The president of RMDSZ underscored the importance of upholding these commitments to protect the integrity of private property rights in Romania.

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