“Romania: from a “Two-Tiered Europe” to a Europe of the Double Bind”

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By Modeste Schwartz.

Romania – Not only does Brussels act as a colonial despot toward all second-tier EU countries (or, even worse, considering that France, to take but one example, at least endowed its African colonies with infrastructure, whereas in Romania passenger trains currently run a bit more slowly than they did during the Austro-Hungarian era …), but, especially since the British referee walked off the pitch, a referee who, at times, succeeded in bringing a minimum of common sense to the Franco-German bargaining table, it has begun to look like a chip off the old block of its illustrious predecessor – the Austro-Hungarian empire.

To the question “what is a European”, after Brexit, we can reply by parodying Musil’s famous line: “it is a German, plus a Frenchman, minus the Frenchman”. Not only are the divergences of interest of this two-headed monster forbidding any long-term strategy, they even begin to affect its tactical effectiveness.

For example, in Romania, the Reich-Chancellor Merkel, through her official and unofficial representatives, supports the (nominally) National (and nominally) Liberal Party of president Klaus Johannis, which, alongside the Soros organizations and the secret services formerly controlled by Washington (fatherless since last December), strives, in defiance of both the popular vote and the constitution, to bring down the social democratic (PSD) government of S. Grindeanu, “guilty” (with the “complicity” of previous PSD governments) of having increased the minimum wage nearly two-fold (to the staggering sum of 300 €), without respect for the profits of the (chiefly German-owned) manufacturing sector, profits which up until now have been more than twice the European average.

In July of last year, this same Johannis, conscious of having (in spite of being of ethnic minority stock) a partly nationalist (although also Westernist and Russophobic) electorate, and some support from the ranks of local capitalists, ratified a law proposed by a provincial PSD official, aiming to impose a quota of local products to supermarkets, immediately arousing the ire of the large (mostly French-owned) supermarket chains operating within Romania. The commercial lobby in Brussels has taken up the matter, apparently convinced that a commercial oligopoly is better able to protect the “freedom of the Romanian consumer” (sic) than the government elected by this same consumer. As a result, the European Commission has just announced the initiation of an infringement procedure against Romania (and Hungary it should be noted, which has adopted similar laws). Romania therefore faces a fine of 1.8 million euros (plus 130,000 € / day of delay in compliance), for wanting to privilege the local producers so loudly praised in Western Europe by environmentalist movements, movements which tend to also be very vocal Europhiles (to the extent that some have even incorporated this profession of faith into the name of their respective political parties …).

And Brussels, under pressure from a lobby representing mainly French capital (hugely favored by the Keynesian stimulus policies planned by the Grindeanu government), is preparing to sanction a “protectionist” decision of the Johannis presidency, while Berlin is currently encouraging Johannis to depose the very same Grindeanu government, guilty of implementing … these very same stimulus policies. I can hardly wait to watch the wrestling bouts between EU commissioners, on the model of the Ukrainian Rada.

Having said that, let’s look at the bright side: according to my sources, for the time being, J. Cl. Junker has no intention of having his horse seated at the European Parliament. He would be too afraid of his horse being stolen.

17 Comments

  1. Wait until Trump grabs the reins and the new Austria-Hungary will not know what hit them. After all, nothing that has not happened before. Twice.

  2. Excellent article! Of course, were Obama in the White House, we would have witnessed the same Ukraine-like coup, including the violence in the streets.

    My suggestion: have Romania accept the offer to unify “with Moldova”, and join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

  3. The article is spot on, on the agressive promotion of the interests of the big french and german chain supermarkets and retaliation agaist the local producers.
    I would like to draw attention to a shameful campaign targeted at small businesses and local producers, that started in 2015 and continues still, with the full participation of the..Romanian consumer!? more details:
    http://www.mfinante.ro/loteriabonurilor.html?pagina=loteriabonurilor

    With such campaigns, overregulation which around Europe acts as an economic deterrent,in Romania it is promoted as a good thing(!)to the end of stalling /blocking any activity: consumers are encouraged to ask for fiscal receipts for every single transaction that takes place in the local market place, even for small transactions below 10eurocents. If the consumer doesn’t receive such a receipt, consumers are actually entitled to walk away with the unpaid goods!! Also a selection of “winning fiscal receipts” is periodically organised and some “winner)(?) who gets some ‘peanuts” as award.
    Problem here is that the local producers used to have an exemption from operating on the same market with the supermarkets, they payed a fixed amount of tax on profit, exemption which is now removed. Therefore, every single small producer (ie. country-side households with some surplus coming from cultivating a couple of fragmented hectares of land, which is the case of the majority of Romanian local producers, are required to operate and compete on the same market with the supermarkets!).
    Such producers will first have to put up with 1-2 seasons-dealyed subsidies from the govt, if any; nevermind that levels of subsidies in Romania are a fraction of subsidies received in Western EU, and lets not forget former pm,Ciolos, was a EU commisioner of Ro for…agriculture!; all these, only to arrive at the market place to be chased down both by the fiscal authority and the consumer, based on various fiscal rules and norms!

    This is the same consumer who says he/she does not like to be dependent on imported food, or who is not happy with the low quality of the food sold by supermarkets, or with the land that lays barren everywhere; further more, they even call the local produces as “bisnitari”, term for “retail”, used with negative connotation since the comunist times!
    Similarly, the verbiage used in order to discourage local initiatives, will be “samsar” for “investment property” belonging to a Romanian individual, while the foreign investment will be highly sought after!?

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