An interview with the Romanian political analyst about the specifics of Romanian foreign policy orientation in the times of war in Ukraine, about the contingency plans that Romania relies on in order to protect its industry and about the role the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience play in all that
Sergiu Mișcoiu is a professor of Political Science and European Studies at the University Babeș-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca. He gave to Cross-border Talks’ Vladimir Mitev a four-parts interview, in whose first part he spoke about the Romanian reliance on an united West – the USA and Western Union acting in ensemble, which makes it unique in Central and Southeastern Europe. Romania relies on EU contingency plans and policies and that might be limiting its space for maneuver in economic sense in the current crisis. But in Mișcoiu’s view the benefits of EU membership are far greater than the disadvantages.
Interview with a Bulgarian language translator and tutor for Bulgarian drivers in road accidents in Romania
The Bridge of Friendship blog continues its series of articles about the problems Bulgarian drivers face on Romanian roads and offers some possible information about things drivers can pay attention to in order to avoid damage. This article is an interview with Romanian translator of Bulgarian origin Ivan Vasilchin, who has more knowledge from his practice as a tutor and translator for Bulgarians who have cases to deal with in Romania.
An interview with the President of the Bilateral Chamber of Commerce Bulgaria-Romania about the current activity of his organization, about the record figure in trade between the two countries in 2021, about the balance between cooperation and competition between the economic sectors of both countries and about the changing mentalities and the keys to mutual trust between Romanians and Bulgarians
Doru Dragomir is the President of the Bulgaria-Romania Bilateral Chamber of Commerce which has offices in Sofia and Bucharest. He worked for over 20 years in the private sector, experiencing the great inflation of 1996 in Romania and the international crisis that hit South-East Europe in 2008-2009. Dragomir graduated EMBA from Asebuss & Michael J. Coles College at Kennesaw State University in Georgia USA in 2007 and law school in Romania.
The Chamber of Commerce has over 45 members from both countries, who come from 25 different economic sectors. It is one of two bilateral chambers with a special focus on Romanian-Bulgarian economic relations.
The interview can be heard here with subtitles in English:
Under the conditions of the joint membership of Bulgaria and Romania in the European Union after 2007, which expands the opportunities for mutual contacts and cooperation, learning about the conflictual past of territorial and minority issues in bilateral relations is not only a scientific challenge, but also a prerequisite for understanding, explaining and adequately managing contemporary realities.
Blagovest Njagulov, Institute for Historical Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
This article is contributed to the Bridge of Friendship blog by the author and has not been published before.It deals with the issues of minorities and the dispute over Dobruja in Bulgarian-Romanian relations until the resolution of the Dobrujan issue.
Romanian-Bulgarian relations were formed and developed in the centuries-long process of coexistence and neighbourliness between Bulgarians and Romanians and between their countries. Migratory movements north and south of the Danube and constant contacts are the prerequisites of mutual influences and rapprochement, but also of differentiation and conflict. The processes of creating separate ethnic groups and modern nations in the two communities are interdependent and not confrontational. The geopolitical connection of the inhabited territories, the common Orthodox religion, the intense economic and cultural ties and, above all, the common political interests of national emancipation from the Ottoman Empire conditioned the positive spirit of bilateral relations until 1878.
On the other hand, the specific features of Bulgarian and Romanian national identity and national development, formed during the transition from medieval to modern times, created the conditions for a clearer differentiation and future competition. The most characteristic of the historically conditioned differences of the Romanians in relation to the Bulgarians are: the preservation of their autonomous status and their earlier state emancipation from the Ottoman Empire; the longer preservation of feudal remnants in agrarian relations; the greater social differentiation and even polarization of Romanian society; the lower degree of education of the broad masses of the population and the more pronounced elitism of the representative culture; the greater experience of the Romanian political elite and its broader ties with the West. On this basis, differences in national mentalities are also noticeable.
This article was published on 21 August 2021 at the Bulgarian section of the Barricade.
The heat waves in the past weeks have led to a sharp rise in the price of electricity on the free markets across the South East. While in Bulgaria this affected companies directly, in neighbouring Romania, where the consumer market has already been liberalised, the impact was felt by ordinary citizens. This led one of the country’s leading trade unions, the National Trade Union Bloc (BNS), to come out with a position criticising the state’s energy policy.
History of the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania for transport interconnection over the river
Institute of Balkan Studies with Center for Thracology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
An earlier version of this article was presented at the joint Bulgarian-Romanian historical commission, whose secretary from the Bulgarian side is the author. The text was given exclusively to the blog “The Bridge of Friendship” and will become a part of a digital book on Bulgarian-Romanian political relations from 1878 until today.
The idea of building a bridge over the Danube, connecting Bulgaria and Romania has a long history and, although with varying intensity, it has been permanently present in the bilateral relations from the end of the 19th to the present day. If we are not to go so much back to the time of Constantine the Great, when the first bridge over the Danube connecting the people on both sides of the river, but focus on more modern times, the issue was raised during the time of Ottoman rule and after the Crimean War (1853-56) it became an integral part of the diplomacy and politics in the Balkans and a number of European countries. The construction of a bridge over the Danube was associated with the first plans for railway construction in the Ottoman Empire and the implementation of a land connection between Western and Central Europe to the Balkan Peninsula with access to the Aegean Sea. In 1881, only three years after the Liberation of Bulgaria, the first contacts were established between the Bulgarian principality and Romania, where the possibility of building a bridge over the Danube was discussed. Since then, this issue has become one of the constant topics in the relations between the two neighboring countries, but it has turned out to be very difficult to solve and it takes more than seven decades for this idea to be realized in practice. Another six decades were to pass before a second bridge was built over the Danube, connecting the Bulgarian and Romanian riverbanks. Negotiations for the construction of new bridges between the two countries continue to this day, and the prospects for success are not very clear.
The government supports the business, but gradually eliminates the benefits of workers, explaining that austerity is a must
This article was published on 9th March 2021 on the Bulgarian section of the Barricade website.
The Romanian government started its operation in the days before Christmas 2020 and immediately took care of the application of its vision for change. This vision is based, on the one hand, on business support through public investments and EU funds and, on the other hand, on austerity for employees who were considered ”spoiled” or ”privileged” during the Social Democratic Party (which ruled until 2019).
Florin Cîţu’s government cuts social benefits but invests in infrastructure
By the end of the year, a new road from the Danube Bridge border crossing to the Giurgiu-Bucharest road will be completed. This was announced by Romanian Transport Minister Catalin Drula. “One project that makes me proud is the connection with the DN5 road from the entrance from Bulgaria at the customs in Giurgiu. This will be a 6 km long expressway that will bypass Giurgiu. There will be four lanes of concrete. The previous concrete road gave defects in the 90s, but now the technology is new. There is an Austrian company that has built concrete runways in Romania. This way we will get rid of the shameful situation the moment we leave the customs. It was like Mars”, the transport minister announced on Digi FM’s “Comfortable Man” show.
This article was published on 2 January 2021 at the English section of the site The Barricade.
The IT sector in Southeastern Europe might seem like a bit of an unconventional place for labour unionisation, as it offers usually well-paid jobs with high social status. But labour issues and possibility for improvement abounds there, too. On 19 December 2020 members of the Discord channel Workplaces of the Future, hosted by the Collective for Social Interventions (Bulgarian NGO dealing with various social issues), organised a discussion with the leader of the Romanian labour union for IT workers Florentin Iancu, as they wanted insight into the experience of Romanian labour unions in this domain.
This article was published on Baricada România on 12th December 2020.
As commenters have noted in recent days, the attractiveness of the AUR party (which is an abbreviaure of The Aliiance for Union of Romanians as well as means Gold) is based on a discursive mix that has the potential to mobilize various social categories. Because of this diversity, many people can find a message on the AUR agenda that might match their overwhelming feelings (including, as Cornel Ban pointed out in his article for FEPS – Foundation for European Progressive Studies: anti-vaccinists, football hooligans, Holocaust deniers, anti-Hungarian ultranationalists, the military, pious Christians and believers in New Age medicine).
Behind the diffused rhetoric shaped by the discursive mixture mentioned above, there is also an ideological amalgam that has the potential to attract people from different backgrounds, even from different social classes. At first glance, this mixture combines – on the one hand – cultural conservatism fueled by opposition to political correctness and revengeful hatred of all kinds of identity policies, and on the other hand populism based on the sense of dignity that people want to regain it from the various humiliations suffered by all major political parties (both old and new). Precisely for this reason, like any manifestation of nationalism, the AUR ideology has the potential to build a diffuse sense of belonging that transcends various social boundaries (age, profession, class). And, in addition, it has the potential to justify the strengthening of the police state and militarization, phenomena that we have seen manifesting itself more and more strongly in 2020…