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
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.
A view at the sentiments of two Southern European nations towards one another and at various ideas for generation of dynamics in their ties
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.
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.
Among other things, Europe Day 2022 in the Bulgarian city of Rousse was also the occasion for a Bulgarian-Romanian celebration of the 15th anniversary of the accession of the two countries to the EU. In the context of the war in Ukraine, local activists and representatives of institutions developing Bulgarian-Romanian relations gathered on a ship in the Danube, in an event demonstrating the Bulgarian government’s desire for better ties with Romania
Just a few months before the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, both Bulgaria and Romania formed their current governments and intensified their diplomatic and political relations. A number of diplomatic visits took place between their governments and heads of states. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s visit to Bucharest at the end of April 2022 came up with a decision to open a new border crossing between the two countries at Ruse-Giurgiu which will manage the passenger and cargo flow of the ferry link planned to be reopened between the two cities. Plans for five new bridges between the two countries were also announced, one of them at Ruse-Giurgiu.
That being said, political relations between the two countries have been less intensive for quite a long time during the era of Bulgarian prime minister Borissov. The spirit of competition between the two countries used to be easier to be observed while cooperation between them at the level of states was not so evident.
In this context, an event was held on 9 May 2022 on a ship in Rousse to mark the 15th anniversary of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU. It was organized by the Elias Canetti Society in Rousse in coordination with a number of institutions from Rousse, under the aegis of the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria and the Ministry of Transport (whose minister – Nikolai Sabev – is from Rousse and shows interest in development of infrastructure in Northern Bulgaria). The “celebration” took place on the ship “Rustchuk” in the presence of diplomats from European embassies and local politicians from Ruse. “Rustchuk” in the presence of diplomats from European embassies and local politicians from Ruse. A representative of the Romanian Embassy was present.
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
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.
Interview with the translator of Romanian literature and literary critic about his Bulgarian-Romanian study
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.
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.
A presentation of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce Bulgaria-Romania, which is based in Sofia and Bucharest
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.
Its author – the historian Spaska Shumanova contributes significantly to the understanding of the bilateral relations in the second half of the 20th century
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)”.
Interview with the initiator of Project Danube, through which she wants to draw attention to the Romanian-Bulgarian periphery and its stories
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.