A digital booklet about Romanian-Bulgarian relations explores the difficult interaction between both states

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The Bridge of Friendship (photo: Yavor Michev, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons)

Infrastructural projects and international relations are two domains, where Bucharest and Sofia look for collaboration, but don`t manage always to find reciprocity

Vladimir Mitev

The blog „Bridge of Friendship“ published a digital book in English, Romanian and Bulgarian language, called „The Difficult Cooperation: Romania and Bulgaria’s Foreign Policy Exchanges and Infrastructural Projects after a decade in the EU“. The document collects 11 articles, published on the blog in the last two years. A part of these articles is republished with permission from media in Croatia (Bilten), Romania (Gândul, PS News, Ioniţa`s) and Bulgaria (A-specto, Baricada).

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Ştefan Guga: Romanian economic growth doesn’t bring progress to the whole society

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Ştefan Guga (photo: Vladimir Mitev)

The economic and social expert analyses the causes and the context în which Romania has achieved economic growth of 8,8% for the third quarter of 2017

Vladimir Mitev

Ştefan Guga is doctor în sociology (CEU Budapest). He works în Bucharest as an economic and social expert. Together with advocate Camelia Constantin Guga is the author of the report “Analysis on the impact of the new social dialogue legislation, which was adopted in 2011”. Baricada has presented some of report’s findings and data together with those from the report “Atypical labour in Romania” (again by Ştefan Guga) in the article “Romanian economic dream is based on tears”.

This article was published on 13 December 2017 on the site ”Baricada”. 

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Laura Fatini: We fight against social disadvantage in Sarteano through The Risk-Taking Theatre

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Actors of Arrischianti (photo: Mauro Sini)

Teatro degli Arrischianti is a community theatre made by volunteers, who have professional attitude towards art, and plays an important social role in the life of a 5000-strong Italian small town in Tuscany

Laura Fatini is the deputy chief and one of the two directors in Teatro degli Arrischianti (The theatre of those who take risks), which is based in Sarteano (Tuscany, Italy) and is the place where the New Academy of Arrischianti – a community theatre school plays its plays. Fatini is born in a village close to Sarteano and obtains a Political Philosophy degree from the University of Perugia, writing her thesis on the political theatre of Albert Camus. She has been dealing with arts ever since the age of 4, studying ballet, dance, theatre and becoming in 2009 the first teacher after the establishment of the theatre school of Sarteano.

Teatro degli Arrischianti is a theatre of the people, by the people, for the people of Sarteano and the region (population of less than 5000 people). It is established in 1986 as a community theatre of amateurs. However, both the volunteer actors and their directors approach their theater hobby with a great degree of professionalism and seriousness. It is a theatre company that has important social functions, trying to create sense for the locals to stay in the town and not to migrate to larger cities in search for better job and opportunites. A lot of the plays deal with social issues, approach important historical personalities psychologically, unveil the contemporary human condition of loneliness, absurd and suffering, help the spectator to overcome prejudice, to think and to change its mind and heart, but actors also make funny plays to entertain their audience.

Representatives of Teatro degli Arrischianti (Ludovico Cosner and Francesco Pipparelli) participated in the International Festival of Danubean Theatres, which took place in Giurgiu, Romania, on 18-22 October 2017. Baricada interviewed Laura Fatini trying to understand how her theatre company functions and what are the effects of this community theatre for the local society of Sarteano and the region.

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Vladimir Mitev: A redefinition of Romania’s anti-corruption fight takes place

The founder of the blog “Bridge of Friendship” analyses the context in which the European Commission published its report for the progress of judicial reform in Romania in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio

On 18 November 2017 the founder of the blog “Bridge of Friendship” Vladimir Mitev gave an interview for the emission “Saturday 150” of the Bulgarian National Radio. The interview was about  the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification report of the European Commission on progress of Romania’s judicial reform.

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Why Dragnea got resented?

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Liviu Dragnea (photo: Social Democratic Party (Romania), CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons)

DNA’s new accusations against the leader of Romanian social democrats unveil the essence of political fight in Romania: technocracy’s supporters – the urban middle class, and unelected institutions such as the anti-corruption prosecution limit the attempts of the corrupted and incompetent political system to create troubles

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on  15 November 2017 on the site  “Baricada”.

The news that Romanian social democrat’s leader Liviu Dragnea is accused in a third case have strengthened the well-known rhetoric against the representatives of “the red plague” in Romania – the Social Democratic Party, called by the indignant street in short “thieves”. The standard story is that Dragnea’s people represent the local political and business elites, known as “barons”, while the anti-corruption prosecution actions are led by another mighty lobby – the secret services. Social democrats themselves usually use rhetoric against the foreign capital in the country and declare themselves as patriots.

However the story about the fight between secret services and barons, between people and politicians in Romania starts to become boring, because it is being told without change for years. It has weak points at a closer look. But in order to see through the gaps, one has to understand better the context, in which new prosecution charges are brought against Dragnea. DNA’s accusations start as an investigation by the European anti-fraud service OLAF. Dragnea is accused of establishment of an organized criminal group, for abuse of public service and preparation of false documents.  OLAF wants the recuperation of 21 million euro, which have been stolen through the firm “Tel Drum”, that is alleged to be affiliated with Dragnea. Romanian state will have to recover the missing sum of money.

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Romania’s economic dream is made of tears

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A labour union protest against the planned changes to social contributions took place in Bucharest in the beginning of October 2017 (photo: Victoria Stoiciu)

Ruling social democrats intend to transfer the burden of social contributions upon the employees. Labour unions have already planned protests. Social tension is on the rise, because in spite of the incomes’ rise and the economic growth at least 32% of the full-time employees work for minimal salary, and labour is increasingly precarious in many professions

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 5 November 2017 at the site “Baricada”.

Tudose cabinet’s intentions to transfer the burden of social contributions payment upon the working people starting from 1 January 2018 provokes growing resistance in Romania. According to the project for emergency government order, through which the Fiscal code is to be changed, social contributions on one hand will be reduced from 39,25% to 37,25%, but on the other hand the employer will have pay a solidarity tax to the extent of the reduced 2% (that is why social contributions in fact are not reduced). Employers will have to pay only the contributions for unemployment, labour accidents, illness leave and the transfers to the Fund for guaranteeing of salaries’ payment. Out of the 22,25% of the gross salary that the employer currently pays, 19,75-20% will go to the employee and only around 2-2,25% will remain for the employer (the difference is due to the unclear definition of amount of contributions).

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Maria Grapini: Romania and Bulgaria must increase their economic, cultural and educational exchanges so that they could use the possibilities in EU

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Maria Grapini during the Romanian-Bulgarian forum in Rousse, Bulgaria on 20 October 2017 (photoo: Maria Grapini, EP)

The Black Sea macroregion is an initiative which will encourage the economic development of Romania and Bulgaria and means cooperation with all the states in the Black Sea zone to the extent that they respect the signed contracts with the EU

Maria Grapini is a member of the European parliament from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. She is the co-president of the Intergroup for small and medium enterprise. Among other activities, she is a part of the Delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly Euronest and is a part of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Committee for Association EU – Moldova. Before entering in politics, Maria Grapini was active as expert and manager in the textile industry in Romania. Between 2012 and 2014 she was a delegated minister for small and medium enterprise, business environment and tourism.

The blog “The Bridge of Friendship” presented the idea for the creation of a Black Sea macroregion of the EU through interviews with the member of the European parliament Georgi Pirinski and the foreign policy expert and former deputy minister of foreign affairs Lyubomir Kyuchukov in the spring of 2017. On 9 October 2017 the deputy minister of transport, informational technologies and comunications Velik Zanchev declared in the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU that one of the priorities in the project for programme for the Bulgarian presidency of the EU is ”an integrated macro-regional approach to the Black Sea region”. This means that Sofia will try to imporve the transport, communicational and infrastructural connectivity in the region. 

This interview was published on 26 October 2017 at the site “Baricada”.

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