The Romanian mayor of Nagybánya, a mixed ethnicity town in northwestern Romania, has stripped his Hungarian deputy, Zsolt István Pap, from all of his jurisdiction following a spat over a Hungarian-language banner on a festival food stall.
During the town’s traditional Chestnut Festival — the region is one of the few north of Italy where chestnuts grow — Cătălin Cherecheș ordered Romanian flags to cover the Hungarian kürtős kalács (chimney cake) inscription on a food stall. When his Hungarian deputy countermanded the measure, Pap was stripped of all his jurisdiction.
Occasional conflicts over the rights of its Hungarian minority continue to burden the relationship between Romania and its Western neighbor and fellow EU member state Hungary.
Hungary lost 72 percent of its territory following the end of World War I, by far the most of any nation. Many ethnic Hungarians continue to reside in the lands that were once formerly part of Hungary, including in present-day Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, Czechia, and Austria.
According to the latest 2011 census, Nagybánya (Baia Mare in Romanian) has a population of 123,738 — 12 percent of which is Hungarian. Before World War II, Nagybánya also had one of the largest Jewish populations in Romania, most of whom spoke Hungarian.