Bulgaria and Romania Are (Finally) Getting to Know Each Other

A Romanian church at the zone of the Iron Gate on the Danube (source: Pexels, CC0)

For decades in the 20th century, Bulgarians and Romanians, two neighboring nations sharing 609 kilometers of border, knew little of each other. Today, 15 years after the two countries became members of the larger European family, things are changing for the better

Galina Ganeva

This article was published on 14 September 2022 at the Polish site 3seaseurope.com.

“There are probably not many Bulgarians who know that, apart from mamaliga, or polenta, Romanian cuisine is almost identical to what we proudly call traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The Easter bread Kozunak (they even call it the same) and sarmi, stuffed vine or cabbage leaves on Christmas, which they call sarmale. We have many similar sayings. Why do we not know about these similarities?,” wonders Maria Stanimirova-Hazday, a Bulgarian translator of the Romanian language.

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Sergiu Mișcoiu: Bulgarian-Romanian relations are unjustly weak

Sergiu Mișcoiu (source: YouTube)

A view at the sentiments of two Southern European nations towards one another and at various ideas for generation of dynamics in their ties

Vladimir Mitev

The second part of the interview with the professor of European Studies at the University of Cluj-Napoca deals with the reasons for the lack of dynamics and trust in the Bulgarian-Romanian relations and the ways to overcome the obstacles. The bilateral trade between the two countries is quite good, but it is generated mostly by multinational corporations trading with one another or with their local partners. The two countries are impeded by the fact they are outside the Schengen area. A mini-Schengen for them is a solution, which Mișcoiu is very fond of, but it is not the time for it, as the two countries lack the necessary trust between their institutions. Cultural centers between them and many small scale cultural projects could create dynamics and mutual knowledge between their people. Perhaps it is the people, who could act as a bridge of friendship in the bilateral relations.

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Nicolae Ciuca: Our energy security is highly dependent on the Black Sea

Under the rule of former Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and his Romanian counterpart Nicolae Ciuca, there was a thaw in Bulgarian-Romanian relations on a number of issues related to infrastructure and energy ties, as well as in the management of the Danube (source: YouTube)

Disruption of natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland could lead to escalating insecurity

The Bridge of Friendship: Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca is Romania’s prime minister from 25 November 2021. He is a retired general of the Romanian land forces. He participated in missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraq. In May 2004, he led a Romanian combat unit in the Romanian army’s first battle since World War II at Nasiriyah in Iraq. Since April 2022, Ciuca became the leader of the National Liberal Party, which belongs to the European People’s Party family. 

General Ciuca’s political rise has taken place in the context of corona crisis and the escalation of tensions in Eastern Europe that led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In these conditions, it is a sign of the confidence of the Euro-Atlantic partners in his personality that he has been awarded the highest state honours not only of his native Romania, but also of France and the United States. However, since taking office as Prime Minister, he has been accused of plagiarising his dissertation on military studies, and an investigation is currently underway.

The blog Bridge of Friendship has published below an interview with the Romanian Prime Minister by Nikolai Krastev and Vesislava Antonova, published in the 6/2022 issue of Manager magazine.

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Vladimir Mitev: Bulgarians and Romanians have a lot to discover and learn about each other

Vladimir Mitev (source: Vladimir Mitev)

In the context of the dynamization of diplomatic interactions between Bulgaria and Romania the Bulgarian site UNA News approached the founder of the blog “The Bridge of Friendship” for an interview over the state and people’s dimension of the Bulgarian-Romanian relations as well as the attitudes of both countries towards the socialist past and their role in the ongoing security realignment in Eastern Europe

Eliz Adem

Vladimir Mitev is a journalist, part of the team of the news and analysis portal The Barricade. In 2015, he founded the multilingual Bulgarian-Romanian blog “The Bridge of Friendship”, which contributes to getting to know Bulgarians and Romanians. After starting his PhD at Sofia University in the field of contemporary Iranian literature, in the summer of 2020 he created another similar blog – “The Persian Bridge of Friendship”. Since 2021, he has been developing the international relations podcast Cross-Border Talks, where he co-hosts with Polish journalist Malgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat.

He has also worked at Tema magazine. His interviews and articles have been published or broadcast in the Bulgarian National Radio, news agency BGNES, Bloomberg Bulgaria TV, Dnevnik, A-specto, the Economy magazine, the human rights site Marginalia and others. He has also been published in various international media, including Open Democracy, The Other News, Strajk.eu, Transform!Europe, the Iranian Labour News Agency and the Iranian news agency Mehr, the Romanian magazines Decât o Revistă, Revista 22, Q Magazine and others.

This article was published at UNA News Bulgaria on 16 February 2022.

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Hristo Boev: “The Different Dobrudja” shows the need for cooperation between Bulgarians and Romanians

Hristo Boev (source. Hristo Boev)

Interview with the translator of Romanian literature and literary critic about his Bulgarian-Romanian study

Vladimir Mitev

Dobrudja divided Bulgarians and Romanians in the first part of the XX century. Can it unite them a century later? The literary critic and translator of Romanian literature Hristo Boev (Ph.D.) published in 2020 a book, called “The Different Dobrudja in the literature between the wars”. He studies how Bulgarians and Romanians saw each other, the literary descriptions of the towns in Southern Dobrudja, the military stories of Yordan Yovkov and George Topârceanu, what the Romanian press wrote about Bulgarians and other issues, which construct the literary and historical Bulgarian-Romanian consciousness. 

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The affirmation of a Bulgarian-Romanian blog

Reverse sight and look forward (source: Pixabay, Cc0)

This article was published at the page “About the blog” on 5 February 2021.

More than five years after the blog’s establishment, its message to the reader needs to be updated. The blog has obviously been a success. It has now more than 1000 articles in 9 languages  (English, German, Polish, Italian, Persian, Chinese, Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian), 150 subscribers on WordPress or through email, more than 1000 followers of its Facebook page. As its editor and founder I have been invited for interviews on Romanian and Bulgarian politics and society by the media in Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Great Britain, Poland, Iran. An online and offline community formed around the blog, which includes Bulgarian-Romanian translators, scholars and academic cadres, NGO experts, analysts, journalists and common people that feel empowered by cross-border relations between Bulgarians and Romanians.

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We build bridges for business between Bulgaria and Romania

The logo of the BCCBR (source: BCCBR)

A presentation of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce Bulgaria-Romania, which is based in Sofia and Bucharest

Doru Dragomir

This text was given to the blog The Bridge of Friendship by the head of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce Bulgaria-Romania Doru Dragomir so that it could be used in a digital book on the Bulgarian-Romanian relations, The book should be published online later this autumn. 

The bilateral chamber of commerce Bulgaria-Romania is an organisation, whose main goal is to support the business communities in Romania and in Bulgaria in their desire to find partners in the two countries, in finding mutually complementing packages of offered products and services and in their promotion on a global scale. 

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The book „Bulgarian-Romanian political relations (1944-1989)” can be bought in Bulgaria

The volume represents the soft cover version of Spaska Shumanova’s Ph.D. work, which she defended in October 2019 in the University of Veliko Tarnovo (photo: The Bridge of Friendship)

Its author – the historian Spaska Shumanova contributes significantly to the understanding of the bilateral relations in the second half of the 20th century

Vladimir Mitev

It is rare that in-depth studies on the bilateral relations are published in Bulgarian-Romanian space. There is an evident deficit of experts, who combine curiosity towards neighbour and towards the relations with it and professionalism and systemic approach in their studies. This void is being filled now by the historian Spaska Shumanova with her freshly-published book “Bulgarian-Romanian political relations (1944-1989)”.

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Smaranda Şchiopu: I am interested in the human relations between Romanians and Bulgarians

Smaranda Şchiopu (foto: Smaranda Şchiopu)

Interview with the initiator of Project Danube, through which she wants to draw attention to the Romanian-Bulgarian periphery and its stories

Vladimir Mitev

Smaranda is a communications and media planning specialist; she worked in Romania as a PR & journalist in the cultural press, and later in a global advertising agency (Oglivy & Mather). She currently works as a media planner with a London based agency, where she coordinates advertising portfolios for the British government. 

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