Will Romania give up on its anti-corruption fight?

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Liviu Dragnea and Klaus Iohannis (foto: CC BY-SA 2.0, CC BY-SA 3.0)

After Donald Trump entered the White House the northern neighbour is one of the territories of global fight between pro-German and anti-German powers

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 5 June 2018 on the site and in the paper ”Word”. 

Has the end of the Romanian anti-corruption fight come? The question has probably passed through the head of many people, as the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) stipulated on 30 May 2018 that the urge of the minister of justice Tudorel Toader for resignation of the chief of the anti-corruption fight DNA is legitimate (because according to the court prosecutors are subordinated to its ministry). The CCR also defined the president Klaus Iohannis` rejection to sign the order for Laura Koveşi`s resignation as unconstitutional deed. In other words the Constitutional Court said that Iohannis, who is considered a pillar of anticorruption, must literally cut a part of his political body, signing the order for Koveşi`s resignation.

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Does Moldova have a future?

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The unionist demonstration in Chisinau (photo: Malgrozata Kulbacewska-Figat)

They walk along the Stephen the Great Boulevard in Chișinău like victors. Then, proud and firm, they stop in front of the Moldovan government’s seat. They carry national flags. However, this is not an ordinary patriotic or nationalist demonstration: they, Romanians, coming from the neighboring country, will demand the liquidation of the country they are in. And no one in this country will tell them that this is illegal or inappropriate.

Malgorzata Kulbacewska-Figat

This article was published on 14 May 2018 on the English section of The Barricade.

Their only postulate is the incorporation of Moldova into Romania. They want the events from a hundred years ago, when the State Council governing the autonomous Bessarabia, convened in autumn 1917 as a result of the February Revolution, voted in favor of incorporation into the Kingdom of Romania.

To be precise, one hundred years without two days — the demonstration takes place not on the exact anniversary, but two days before it, on Sunday, March 25, so that the demonstrators have time to arrive to Chișinău and return home. Symbolism had to give way, as most participant had a long way to travel. The master of ceremony could greet “Romanian brothers from the other side of Pruth”, but the names of towns on the flags tell me that the majority of the demonstrators are Romanian.

In the last Moldovan census in 2014, 75% respondents declared Moldovan nationality, whereas 7% declared Romanian nationality. There are also opinion polls asking whether the respondent would like Moldova and Romania to unite. No more than 20-30% provide positive answers. However, the trend is going upwards.

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A discussion about the causes and reproduction of poverty in Romania

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Victoria Stoiciu and Florin Poenaru (photo: The Barricade)

Тopics such as poverty, violation of labour rights and future of labour were in the centre of attention in a discussion, recorded and streamed live by „The Barricade“

Vladimir Mitev

Low income, problematic labour relations and future of labour were among the main topics in the first discussion of the series „Tema“, which took place on 24 April 2018 in the club „Londophone“. The discussion was focused on the causes and reproduction of poverty in Romanian. The special invitee was Victoria Stoiciu from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Romania. The moderator was Florin Poenaru from the left-wing portal „Critic Atac“. The coordinator was Vasile Ernu. „The Barricade“ streamed live the discussion in YouTube, which gathered around 30 people in this club in the heart of Bucharest.

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Codru Vrabie: Romanian anti-corruption may take a new form, but it would hardly cease

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Codru Vrabie (photo: Vlad Stanciu/Asocaţia INK)

The expert on good governance talked with Baricada about the evolution of anti-corruption fight in Romania, about the deficits of the current discourse on potential union with the Republic of Moldova and about the need for concrete steps for better communication and closer ties between Romanians and their neighbours

Vladimir Mitev

Codru Vrabie is a civic activist, trainer and consultant on topics related to good governance, transparency, accountability and integrity in the public sector. He has contributed to a lot of reforms in the judiciary and public administration of Romania. Vrabie has BAs in legal and political sciences (Romania, Bulgaria, USA) and MAs in administrative sciences and European affairs (Romania, Netherlands, Spain). He has been working for the Romanian civil society since 1998. Starting in 2010, Vrabie works with the „Leaders for Justice” programme, which was replicated in 2017 in the Republic of Moldova. In April 2018, Codru joined the team of the site telegraful.net, where he works on the podcast series ”Hypotheses” – a project of Association ”Courage Ahead” (Curaj Înainte).

Baricada talked with Vrabie about Romania`s anti-corrupion`s direction of movement, after a member of the parliament from the ruling Social Democratic Party proposed in April 2018 changes to the penal legislation, which are believed to be beneficial for those accused of corruption and to make the work of prosecutors more difficult. Ever since 2017 there has been a tendency for redefinition of Romanian fight against corruption. Another imporant issue in the interview is Vrabie`s criticism towards the current discourse on unification between Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Vrabie also shared his thoughts on regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe and on Romanian-Bulgarian relations. 

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Ruse Summer Free Tour returns this summer

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The Liberty Square in Ruse (photo: Ruse Summer Free Tour)

The free tour will take place for a third year in a row

This text is a press release by The Ruse Summer Free Tour

For a third year in a row Ruse Summer Free Tour welcomes the guests of Ruse and the region to show them around the landmarks of the town. The professional guides will be waiting for the curious to reveal the atmosphere of the city every Saturday, including public holidays, at 6 pm with a meeting place at the Statue of Liberty. The free tours are held in English, cover the central city parts and span an hour and a half. The first official tour this summer will take place on May 5th 2018.

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Johan Galtung: The America First Doctrine becomes ”America Last”

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Johan Galtung (foto: Jarle Vines, Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 3.0)

The Peace Studies scholar speaks with Baricada about how conflicts are resolved, and what are the perspectives of peace and war in the Middle East, on the Korean peninsula, in the USA, the EU, Romania, Bulgaria and what is ”Peace Journalism”

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 4 April 2018 on the site ”Baricada”. 

The succesive anti-Russian instigation in western countries, the Turkish intervention in Syria, the war in Yemen and many other escalating conflicts seem to convince that we are living in times of rising contradictions, where ”no hope lurks around the corner”. Even if the evening news stream occasionally fails to report about new air strikes or chemical weapons use in Syria, they feed us abudantly with stories about violence and domination through agression. There are not many people in Romania or Bulgaria, who know that just as there are military schools, there are also schools, institutions and media that fight for peace. They don`t deal with Buddhist mediation or peace runs under the guidance of the teacher Sri Chinmoy. These are organisations that develop and apply systematically the theory for conflict resolution. In March 2018 I contacted one of the founders of such structures – the 87-year old Norwegian Johan Galtung, on behalf of Baricada.

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Greece, Romania and Bulgaria find a common voice, but still need to accomplish ”material” cooperation

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The Bulgarian foreign minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, her Romanian colleague Teodor Meleşcanu and their Greek counterpart Nikos Kodzias (foto: Vladimir Mitev)

The trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers in Buchrest has created new expectations towards the summit about the Western Balkans in Sofia and the one about the Danube Strategy in Rousse in May 2018

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 13 March 2018 on the site ”The Barricade”.

The tenth trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania showed the capability of these three countries to speak with a common voice and the knack for every one of them to announce or receive support for its key initiatives. Such trilateral and quadrilateral formats (together with Serbia) have been backing regional cooperation and infestructural interconnectivity for the last few years. This time, just like before, there were no announcement of concrete data for provided expenditures or for terms, within which certain projects will be completed.

However, the talks are an apparent step on the road towards few forthcoming diplomatic events. One of them is the Western Balkans summit, which will take place on 17 May 2018 in Sofia. The other one is the summit of presidents of Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Estonia in Rousse, which is planned for the beginning of May 2018. Its focus will have to be the Danubean strategy. Surely, in the list with forthcoming activities have to enter also the three countries` efforts to realise natural gas transmission projects, and the forthcoming Romanian presidency of the EU in the first six months of 2019.

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