Codru Vrabie: The appointment of Kövesi to chief prosecutor of the EPPO is like a flower in a buttonhole 

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Codru Vrabie (photo: Vlad Stanciu, Association INK)

Codru Vrabie is a civic activist, trainer and consultant on good governance, transparency, responsibility, and integrity in the public sector. He has contributed to many reform measures in justice and public administration. Vrabie has BAs in legal and political sciences (Romania, Bulgaria, the USA) and MAs in administrative sciences and European affairs (Romania, the Netherlands, Spain). He has worked for various Romanian civil society organizations since 1998. In 2010, Vrabie started working with the Leaders for Justice” programme, which was replicated in 2017 by the Republic of Moldova. In April 2018, Codru joined the team of telegraful.net, where he works on the podcast series “Hypotheses” – a project of the Courage Ahead Association (Curaj Înainte).

Mr. Vrabie, how does the expected victory of Laura Kövesi in the competition for the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) influence Romanian anti-corruption?

I think that this piece of news will be forgotten in Bucharest immediately after the presidential elections, because the European prosecution EPPO will not have notable activity in the first year of its establishment. The issue might seem relevant now, during the election campaign, but no one in Romania deals with the substance of anti-corruption policies. No one dealt with that earlier either. Everyone talked, but no one did anything concrete. So there is no way Romanian anti-corruption will be influenced by her victory.

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The anti-Iranian axis cracks

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(photo: Pixabay, CC0)

The EU, Russia and China have their own visions for the Middle East, which emphasise economic development and cooperation. A surprising step towards the peace camp was made by the UAE 

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 13 August 2019 on the English section of the site „The Barricade”. 

The world media reports abundantly on the escalation of tensions in the Middle East. In the hot summer of 2019 we followed the takedown of an American drone, which Iran claimed entered its aerial space. The UK captured an Iranian tanker around Gibraltar, claiming that it was about to deliver petrol to Syria, against international rules. Iranian military seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. We also learned that the USA has introduced sanctions against the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who played a key role in the negotiations and signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the group of six (USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China).

What has a more difficult time grabbing the attention of the international press are the efforts of a number of countries supporting peaceful development and easing of tension in the Middle East. The EU, Russia and China see possibilities for economic development, reconciliation, trade, and security partnerships in this region. Without saying so openly, these concepts are being realized, evidently counter the confrontation strategy of Iran’s adversaries.

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Romania – a student of excellence or poor learner?

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The relations between Bucharest and Brussels are not so bad (photo: YouTube, channel of Romanian government)

Bulgarian media narrative on Romania changed significantly. The recent wave of romanoscepticism in Bulgaria on the occasion of the starting presidency of the EU simply follows the mainstream of Bruxelles, but doesn`t help for the better understanding of what is going on in the region

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 12 January 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site “The Barricade”.

The days before the official start of the Romanian europresidency, which began on 10 January 2019, came together with a wave of negative evaluations and comments in Western European media about the government in Bucharest and the Romanian political elite. Leading Bulgarian media also gave tribune to a number of analysts, who expressed their scepticism towards Romania, similar to the Western European, given that literally until the middle of 2018 Romanians were given constantly as example for successful reform in justice, economy and loyality to the West. The experts now sowed doubts that Romanian presidency will be successful. The analysts also reduced Romania of 20 million people to the person of the strong man in the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea, who is criticised strongly in Western Europe and to the ironised prime minister Viorica Dancila.

The parallel with the Bulgarian europresidency, lauded for its tractability by Jean-Claude Juncker, is natural to be made. Until recently Romania was the country of excellence in the region, because of ”anti-corruption” and its ”awaken civil society”, which ”opposes the thieves in politics”. Now Bulgarians were to live their small media moment of glory as most loyal and responsible representatives of the EU in the region. This change was taking place while Romania was transforming itself into a country, which, according to the interpretations, ”is not looked at with credibility” in European institutions and in the other country-members. A possibility arose that the government in Sofia shines before the European partners, pushing itself away from Romania, with which it had been in tandem for the last two decades. It is expected that Bulgaria will be admitted to the Schengen space until the end of the Juncker commission, while no such announcements have been given to Bucharest.

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