Back on track! Deperipheralising Székelyland via regionalisation and the establishment of administrative-territorial autonomy?
Growing social and economic disparities – especially due to the effects of the 2007‒2008 Global Financial Crisis – as well as the ever deepening interrelations of the world are restructuring from the bottom-up the already established characteristics of the geographical space. As a result a new European geography is on the surge, where core-periphery relations gain new dynamics. At the same time the constituent elements of the nation state in front of the above mentioned challenges strive for self-determination and greater local autonomy, thus resulting a resurgence in regionalist, localist agendas. Starting from this broader perspective the aim of the following paper is to give an in-depth analysis about the dynamics of meso-level core-periphery relations in Romania, specifically focusing on one the most controversial aspects of the Romanian regionalisation process: the question of Székelyland. From the 1990s onwards despite the clear rejection of the Romanian majority the Hungarian speaking ethnic minority expressed the collective need for self-determination and the establishment of an autonomous region for Székelyland. This process resulted in the appearance of more than 15 draft proposals – more recently in 2014 –, however until now the majority of the calls were centered mainly around historical, cultural and ethnic arguments, and less around the fact that the region constitutes one of the economic peripheries of Romania. In this perspective one of the fundamental questions is that the modernization of the state administration through decentralization and the establishment of administrative-territorial autonomy could lead to the deperipheralisation of Székelyland?