The former adviser to the European Commission of Jacques Delors, activist for the definition of water as a common good, instead of a commodity, university professor and left intellectual speaks with Baricada, telling the story of the transformation of welfare inspired societies into the main sources of a ”global disorder” and violence – a story of subjugation to a new world generation of greed technocratic elites and their push to commodification of life
Riccardo Petrella is an Italian economist who has been a scientific and technology policy analyst to the European Commission between 1979 and 1995, becoming witness and a voice of dissent over the EC’s definition of Europe as a union of competition. He is the main force behind the report “Limits to Competition” by the Group of Lisbon that has criticised the neoliberal reforms undertaken by the Commission of Jacque Delors, that serve the capital and markets, but undermine the achievements of Post-War Europe. Petrella has worked between 1967 and 1975 as a scientific secretary, and then the director, of The European Coordination Center for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences in Vienna – an organisation that has brought about scientific exchanges between the West and the East in the times of the divided Europe. The Italian university professor teached between 1982 and 2005 in the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) courses such as „Scientific and technologic politics” and „Economic globalisation” and was a lecturer in other universities and countries too. Between 2005 and 2006 he was the president of the Water Company of Puglia (Italy). In 1997 he founded the International Committee on the World Water Contract, which has the former Portuguese president Mario Soares as a president. In 1998 Petrella published „The Water Manifesto” (first in French and in 2001 in English), where he uncovers his vision for water as a „common good”.
The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis has announced that he is neither a supporter, nor an opponent to the ideas of his French counterpart about a reform in the European rules for the so-called “posted workers”
This article was published on 25 August 2017 at the site “Baricada”.
The visit of the French president Emmanuel Macron in the Small Paris – Bucharest, has created great excitement and attention in Romanian media. All day long the Romanian national television has been reporting about the visit with live reports about the steps and the words of the French head of state, adding expert comments from the studio that focused on the message of the European leader and what it means for Romania.
However, apart from the traditional rhetoric about the special historic connection between Frenchmen and Romanians a feeling of dissonance also somehow appeared – on the issue of the so-called “posted workers” in the EU. Macron wants to change the EU directive on them so that social dumping seizes and the French companies stop hiring workers from the European East, because of their cheaper labour.
An expert on public management reform, blogger and art collector, resident for the past decade in Romania and Bulgaria, Ronald unveils his personal impressions of both people; his criticism of Europeanised elites and EC funding programmes; and his hope that more cross-border effort could help both countries achieve their frustrated ambitions
Interview by Vladimir Mitev
Ronald Young was a Scottish politician and academic for 20 years before becoming one of the EC’s first consultants in its programmes of Technical Assistance – which make his various critical assessments worth listening to. His blog – Balkan and Carpathian Musings – has been posting regularly since 2009.
The former correspondent of the Bulgarian Natioanal Radio in Bucharest has been interviewed in the emission “Saturday 150”, in which he addressed the developments in the Romanian anti-corruption fight in the last months
The Romanian anti-corruption fight has become an export resource of Romania. That is why it has been scrutinized under lenses not only to the north of the Danube, but to the south of it, and in other countries such as Republic of Moldova. On 27 July 2017 the blog “Bridge of Friendship” has posted the article “The Romanian anti-corruption fight as Game of Thrones”, in which the recent events in anti-corruption, the external and the internal context, that influence it, have been analysed. This article was referred to as Georgi Vasilski – the former correspondent of the Bulgarian National Radio, has been interviewed on 29 July 2017 in the emission “Saturday 150”.
The renewed attack against the chief of the anti-corruption prosecution Laura Kovesi and the recently appeared tendency for conditional liberation or conditional condemnation of people sentenced for corruption in Romania show that the system reacts to the changes in the external and the internal political balances
This article appeared on 28 July at the site ”The Barricade”.
The Romanian fight against corruption reminds of the series “Game of Thrones”, where all the relations between the protagonists are those of power. They either kill one another, or practice war in the form of intimate relationships, but at the end of the day everything they do is to participate in the eternal fight for power. Anticorruption to the north of the Danube is often presented as a clash between good and evil. In fact it represents the current balance of forces between the participants in the political game.
The events of the last months show that perhaps there is an ongoing redefinition of the Romanian fight against corruption, through which it sets itself for the new external and internal political conditions of Romania. The process became more visible even in Bulgaria in the last weeks after different Bulgarian media discovered with a delay of one month that audio recordings have appeared in Romania, showing how the chief of the Romanian anti-corruption prosecution DNA Laura Kovesi “orders” a criminal investigation against the prime minister Sorin Grindeanu.
Revolutionary fiscal ideas circulate in Bucharest – starting with replacing the profit tax with a tax upon turnover and ending with the nationalization of the obligatory private pension funds. The proposals are not devoid of logic, in principle. However, the scope of their proposal might not be accomplishing change, but offering the public another scene of the political theatre
This article was published on 3 July 2017 at the site “Baricada”.
Bulgarian media reported on 29 June, basing themselves on an article by Reuters, that Romania has started revoking the flat tax in the same day the new government of social democrats and liberals with Mihai Tudose as a prime minister received parliamentary support and its political life started. The news might have sounded surreal to many. Just a few days earlier the social democrats’ opponents were foreseeing that the biggest party in the Romanian parliament would not be able to vote successfully a vote of no confidence to the former premier Sorin Grindeanu, appointed by the social democrats themselves. But now the articles claimed that Liviu Dragnea’s men were going all in against the most clear symbol of capital’s domination over labour in Romania and Eastern Europe – the flat tax upon the income and the profst, which is 16% in our northern neighbor. What’s going in Bucharest, where in the era of Trump it looks like politics is less and less easy to forecast?
The debates in Bulgaria about the tendency of ”multi-speed Europe” reveal ideas that are clearly defined
The founder of the blog ”Bridge of Friendship” – Vladimir Mitev, made a presentation on 29 May 2017 inside the Romanian parliament building about the discussions in the Bulgarian foreign policy community about “multi-speed Europe” and the necessary answer of Sofia. The presentation divided the experts in two groups – the young and the elder. The young want Bulgaria to avoid its status of a periphery and claim it should join the different integrationist circles of the EU, such as Eurozone, banking union, Schengen, and so on. The elder want a greater foreign policy activity in the regions where Bulgaria has traditional interests – the Western Balkans and the Black Sea, so that it could give added value to the EU there. The presentation also put an emphasis upon the idea for the creation of an European macroregion for the Black Sea and for development of an Euopean strategy for it, so that the tensions in the Black Sea region are replaced with a greater regional cooperation.