Tag Archives: Romania

Romanian Agriculture and its Discontents: Its Social Importance, Its Economic Insignificance

This article has been published in collaboration with Bilten. According to the Eurostat statistics for 2016, one third of all farms in the EU can be found in Romania- roughly 3,600 thousand agricultural holdings. Similarly, the country boasts the largest share of labor force employed in agriculture in the EU, a staggering 26% of the population working in the sector, way beyond any possible European average. By contrast, France features a puny 2.14 %, Croatia, 9.16 %, and Poland 11.5 %. Even compared with non-EU European countries, the figures are outstanding: only 6.71 % of Russia’s labor force is employed in a ..

Transformations of housing provision in Romania: Organizations of subtle violence

This article is based on empirical data and is a small part of an ongoing research project on housing struggles and transformations in housing policies in Romania. We look at these transformations within the wider historical and economic context, outlining some of the links between privatization and austerity measures, individualization and privatization of housing provision, and the role of NGOs as subtle facilitators of such (often violent) processes. Waves of housing policy in the context of “transition” In Romania, as in other ECE countries, “the implementation of housing reform became one of the first ..

The putsch that never was: Romanian PSD in turmoil

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Balkan web-portal Bilten.org. The original publication can be found here. Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), recently survived a small rebellion. A few of his colleagues asked him to resign his positions as head of the party and head of the Lower House in Parliament. However, Dragnea, whose nickname Daddy evokes the patriarchal atmosphere of a famous Tennessee Williams play, managed to win this battle. Or at least this is what is visible publicly: the internal vote went heavily in favor for Dragne ..

Introducing the Five Senses of Austerity

This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is done in collaboration with the Blinken Open Society Archives. In recent years, most of us have become used to hearing about austerity. Following the 2007 financial crisis, it was said that austerity was the only viable cure. Today, more than 10 years later, the ghost of austerity still haunts Europe and much of the Western World. But this is not the first time that austerity was imposed on people in order to solve a financial crisis.  In Five Senses of Austerity, ..

The Romanian “Parallel State”: The Political Phantasies of Feeble Populism

This article is published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. On the 17th of November 2017, the majority party in the Romanian parliament, the Social Democrats (PSD) issued a statement condemning the existence and practices of the Romanian “parallel state.” This strange notion, with its mysterious air of 1950s spy movies, had already made the headlines in the pro-government press, attracting considerable attention. The party resolution, however, gave it a heightened sense of reality. Suddenly, the most powerful party in Romania’s post-socialist history, the PSD, saw itself besieged by an ..

On the March: Romania and its Road to Militarization

On December 1st Romania celebrated its national day: 99 years ago, parts of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires were stitched together with the old country under the banner of Great Romania. In its essence, 1918 is a military event. Without the decisive intervention of the army there would be no Great Romania. Therefore, it might seem only natural that the peak of the national day is usually the military parade. The biggest one takes place in Bucharest, but most big cities have one, with hundreds of people attending. Typically, the national television broadcasts the live the parade in Bucharest: it is a genr ..

Friends and Foes. Traditional and Alt-Right in Romania

This article is published in collaboration with Bilten: a regional online portal.  The proposal for a referendum to amend the constitution in order to inscribe the definition of family as the union between a woman and a man is dividing opinion in Romania and it represents a platform for the affirmation of a Romanian version of Trumpism and alt-right. It also offers, inadvertently, the occasion of an unlikely conjunction. The following details might seem too arcane for a foreign public but they are worth the patience in order to grasp the larger picture. The point is significant because it shows the impossible mi ..

The Romanian Pension System Between Low Wages and Demographic Fears

This article has been published in collaboration with the Bilten regional platform. The illusion of the “private vs. public” opposition A flurry of irate opinions, fuming comments, and angry analyses have emerged in Romania’s liberal press once the Social-Democratic Prime-Minister, Mihai Tudose, announced in late August, under rather vague terms, his Cabinet’s intentions to reform the pension system. The debate developed into a strange public fray, mixing economic fears, fiscal fatalism, and demographic concerns; a discursive potion which is unfortunately representative of the manner in which the pension ..

The Romanian “Family Referendum” and the New Social Conservatism: Uncivil Society and Feeble Party Systems

This text was first published in Serbo-Croatian by Bilten. On the 25th-28th of May, and with the official support of the Hungarian government, Budapest was the place to be for all those keen on defending “the traditional family”. Called the “Budapest Family Summit,” the event occasioning this huge congregation of patriarchy enthusiasts, was a massive gathering. It featured an impressive array of right-wing organizations tied together by a rather explicit anti-abortion, anti-gay rights rhetoric, along with their commitment to the patriarchal family and Christian faith. Among them one could find the Croatia ..

DEMOS: Social Europe, Our Europe. Priorities for Romania’s European policies

Note from the LeftEast editors: As a part of a broader series of comments and analyses from different actors and groups in the Romania Left about the recent protest wave in the country, we are now publishing the policy statement/manifesto of the new left formation DEMOS. DEMOS is a leftist and environmentalist political platform from Romania established in 2016. Its members, previously active in various social movements and campaigns, decided to form it as a response to the growing inequality, severe poverty, destruction of the public goods and services and environmental degradation in the country, issues which ..