George Simion, President of the Romanian patriotic party AUR: “Regarding the Visegrád Group, we have the same history, we have the same interests, and we will have the same future. We cannot rely on Germany, which now controls a big part of our external and internal affairs.”
Romania – At the Economic Forum in Karpacz, in the Polish region of Lower Silesia, the Visegrád Post staff met with George Simion, leader of the country’s patriotic political party, the AUR (Alianța pentru Unirea Românilor, “Alliance for the Union of Romanians”). The 34-year-old economics and history graduate, who only recently became a politician, made a name for himself in 2019 after a controversial visit to the Valea Uzului World War I cemetery, where Romanian soldiers are buried in a region that is majority Hungarian, resulting in clashes and new tensions between Hungarians and Romanians.
Declaring himself to be anti-system and presenting himself as a Christian and in favour of Greater Romania – i.e., the unification of Romania and Moldova – he is attacking the Romanian regime head-on, as he considers it to be corrupt in its entirety. He has not hesitated to denounce the deleterious role of the Romanian intelligence service, the SRI – former Securitate -, either, as it is a veritable state within the state.
Ferenc Almássy asked George Simion about his opposition to the country’s Covid measures, his vision for the Visegrád Group, and the reasons why Romania is still not a member of the Schengen Zone.
Ferenc Almássy: Mr. Simion, thank you very much for this interview. You are the main figure and leader of the AUR in Romania, which went through an incredible increase in terms of support. Two years ago you were at approximately 1.2% in the European elections, and now you rose up dramatically. You’re a Member of Parliament in Romania. This all seems to be connected to your stance against the Romanian government’s COVID policy. It seems to be one of the keys to your recent success.
George Simion: Yes, but it’s not all due to our position on freedom. We have four pillars that characterize the AUR, and one of them is freedom. We fight for the Christian faith that is at the basis of European civilization. We fight for the principle of nations, and for family as the basis of our society. For a long time, after the PNȚ-CD – the Christian Democrat party – disappeared, we didn’t have any serious political force in the Romanian parliament promoting these values. We are very much against the system, not in an anarchic way but according to the values that we fight for and that we represent.
Today, the globalists want to make us all become the same, just as in Communist times, without any gender and without any way than we can distinguish ourselves.
Everyone can be anything they want. Biologically speaking, we are male and female. These are the only two genders I know, because God made us this way.
Because we promote these values, and because no other political force was in this segment of the patriotic, sovereignist, and conservative zone, we got 10% of the votes in the December 2020 election. But only 40% of those who participated even knew that AUR existed, because we weren’t shown on television.
The post-Communist, or rather totalitarian, system that rules Romania thought that if we weren’t seen on television, we wouldn’t get to the threshold to enter parliament [5%]. But we got 10% of the votes, and now some of the polls show us at 15%, some at closer to 20%, and we continue to rise. This is because there is a need for a conservative and patriotic voice in Romanian politics which is not like how they want to portray us, which is extremist, or neo-fascist, or other such pejorative terms.
We are normal Romanians who want to be in the European Union, but not in a federal union – rather a union of nations.
Ferenc Almássy: You used very strong words against your government.
George Simion: Yes, because it’s been the same government for the last 30 years. In 1989 they killed Ceaușescu and took power, and said, “You are on the so-called Right, you are a socialist, you are a liberal, you’re a popular party,” but they are still the same people who ran Romania through the one-party system and the Securitate [the Romanian state security]. Now they are controlling everything, and they don’t want any other voice heard in Romanian society. We have a problem with that, because if you have a different opinion, then the system wants to silence you.
Ferenc Almássy: I understand, but at the same time you can express everything that you just said. You’re not in jail, you’re not physically attacked by the authorities for saying that–
George Simion: No, but we have been heavily fined.
We have been subjected to repression by the police state.
During the 2020 elections, in our fight for democracy and freedom, they tried to frame us. For example, they tried to say that I was driving without a license, and I had to go and show that I had a perfectly legal license. The Securitate never died in Romania. It doesn’t allow us to fight for our values.
Ferenc Almássy: You talked about the fact that you are not against the EU, but you’re for a Europe of nations. In that way you sound pretty close to what the Visegrád Four is fighting for.
George Simion: Yes.
Ferenc Almássy: How do you see the Visegrád Group from the Romanian perspective?
From my point of view, it’s a big mistake that Romania didn’t enter the Visegrád Group. We should have been there with Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
We have the same history, we have the same interests, and we will have the same future. We cannot rely on Germany, which now controls a big part of our external and internal affairs, because Germany will always shake hands with Russia. They have always been friends, and then enemies, and then friends again, and so on.
Our opinion is that we should have an independent policy, the one that was imagined by Marshal Piłsudski of Poland in interbellum times as the Intermarium plan. Now this plan is rising from the dead as the Three Seas Initiative. The countries in this zone should collaborate more, because if we don’t, we will disappear. We will be people who only work for low wages, and who can only be a marketplace for Chinese and Western products.
Ferenc Almássy: Speaking of the Chinese, aren’t you worried that this region of Central Europe, which is the territory of the Three Seas Initiative, could become a kind of buffer zone between Germany and Russia, and between the US and China, for example? Aren’t we being used in the fight between the big powers?
George Simion: We are being used if we let them use us. It all depends on the heads of state and what external political views we promote. From this point of view,
I have to say that I admire Polish politics, for example, and in some ways the Orbán administration for their resistance to what Brussels tries to impose – the cultural uniformity that was tried in the Soviet period. It doesn’t work for our people.
I think that the European Union should remain as a free-market zone, as an economical zone, and should be a place for freedom of travel and doing business. I don’t think it should create its own army or create a federal state, or superstate.
Ferenc Almássy: How do you see the future of the region from the perspective of the COVID crisis? You’re very hostile–
George Simion: No, we are not hostile, we are vocal against measures that are useless. For example, we are talking right now. If we were wearing masks, nothing would be different. But in Romania, you had to wear masks outside as well for a long period, and no one proved that the masks are useful.
They also tried to impose by fear – like in Communist times – some measures like staying home and getting vaccinated. They tried to make it mandatory for people, such as in education and the budgetary zone, to be vaccinated. We are for the freedom of every person to decide. No one else knows what’s better for me than me. This is freedom, and this is what is being cancelled right now.
We don’t deny the existence of this virus, but we say it’s not such a big deal that you have to shut down an entire country. Maybe the Western countries still have some financial reserves and can do this for two or three years, but we can’t afford this, just as we cannot afford the Green Deal and the new joke of a plan that is Fit for 55. This is killing our economy. Before this sanitary crisis, I would emphasize the economic crisis that is coming and that is killing our countries. Five million Romanians are working abroad.
Ferenc Almássy: You are also very vocal about Romania being more supportive of its diaspora, which is quite important, especially in Europe. In the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and so on, there are many Romanian citizens working, sometimes for years.
George Simion: They are not working there because it was their wish. They are working there because they were obliged to leave Romania due to the fact that they were poor and couldn’t live in a decent manner. That is why they left. It is incredible for me to see how the Romanian government is buying 120 million doses of the vaccine for a country of 19 million people, and are paying over a billion euros, maybe even more, because they don’t do this transparently. They don’t tell the people how they spent–
Ferenc Almássy: Not even a Member of Parliament?
George Simion: Not even a Member of Parliament. We asked a lot of questions through parliamentary channels, and they don’t answer them. This is like the secret of Pulcinella. It’s hard for the people to trust them when they’re not transparent. And people don’t trust them. This is why Romanians don’t get vaccinated. We are trying to get Romanians back from abroad to build our country, but it’s hard when nobody cares about economic growth and the sovereignty of the country. All the government does is to borrow money from the IMF and the World Bank. This is not sustainable, because eventually the World Bank will say that we have to give away our gas reserves for free, for example.
So for me the corona crisis is symptomatic of what happens to a Romania that has been governed by external forces for the past 30 years. We destroyed our economy. We destroyed our factories. People went to work abroad, and we see no future in Romania.
That is why Romanians support us, and also why we are not typical politicians who tell lies. We say what everybody sees. They are not their own masters, these people who claim to govern us.
Ferenc Almássy: Romania has been a member of the EU for 14 years, but you still haven’t joined the Schengen Zone. Why? It’s a relatively safe country. The borders are secured. Maybe it’s because of Constanța [the main Romanian seaport], that would make trouble for a lot of them, or maybe it’s for other reasons. So in your opinion, should Romania join the Schengen Zone?
George Simion: Romania should be allowed to prosper economically, but we are being blocked from entering the Schengen Zone.
Of course, Constanța would take the money that is currently being made in Rotterdam, so for as long as we won’t sell Constanța, we won’t be allowed to enter Schengen. We were supposed to live in a common union that takes care of all of us, but we, the poorer nations of this union, don’t benefit from this equally.
Ferenc Almássy: Last question. The Hungarian minority is a huge one in Romania.
George Simion: 5%, yes.
Ferenc Almássy: This has been a source of tensions for a long time. How do you see the future of cooperation between those of Romanian and Hungarian ethnicity?
George Simion: First of all, I see Bucharest and Budapest working together, cooperating, as two independent countries. Hungarians who have Romanian citizenship are very important for us. We have Members of Parliament who are ethnically Hungarian. We respect them. We want to build a future together.
These tensions through the years were politically provoked. We think we need much more integration. We need to help the Hungarians to get jobs, because many of them were prevented from learning the Romanian language by the UDMR [Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania]. This is a problem because they won’t be able to be integrated into the workforce, for example. But they also have to be able to keep their identity: to learn their language, to go to their churches, to be able to celebrate their traditional holidays, just as the Romanians living in Hungary. We have similar problems with countries that don’t respect the right of the national minorities to their own language, church, and so on, such as in Serbia and Ukraine. I think all countries should respect the specificities of each ethnic group.
I think Romania does this. For each ethnic group, we have one Member of Parliament – there are 18. I think there is a problem with the UDMR, a party which makes a ghetto within the political scene, because we should have ethnic Hungarians and Members of Parliament in all the parties, rather than to have one purely for ethnic reasons. Most of the ethnic Hungarians are in Covasna and Harghita counties, and we should help these counties develop and grow. The ethnic Hungarian politicians from the UDMR are nothing but the same corrupt politicians who have been running Romania for the past 30 years. They were in power and they were involved in many dirty businesses, such as illegal logging, cutting down our forests.