Tag Archives: Romania

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 ..

Between Self-Hatred and Geopolitics: Romania and the Republic of Moldova

The following article was originally published in Serbo-Croatian on the online platform Bilten. It is republished here with that site’s kind permission. A recent minor event sums up eloquently the current relationship between Romania and the Republic of Moldova and, more than that, allows us to understand the complex historical, geopolitical and psychological relationship between the two countries. On January 3rd the current Moldovan president Igor Dodon revoked the Moldovian citizenship of the former Romanian President Traian Basescu. Basescu was sworn in as Moldovan citizen just few days prior to Dodon’s ..

Romania’s protests and Hungary: Interview with G. M. Tamás

Over at the Budapest Beacon, Lili Bayer has a very interesting interview with Gaspar Miklos Tamas that people should check out… As protests continue across Romania for the ninth day, the Hungarian leadership and media from across Hungary’s ideological spectrum are watching the country’s eastern neighbor closely. Demonstrations broke out in Romania last Tuesday, when the government in Bucharest issued a decree that would have protected corrupt politicians. The decree – which the government withdrew under pressure on Sunday – would have exempted abuse-of-power offences involving sums below $48,000 fro ..

What is at stake in the Romanian Protests?

A decision of the Social Democrat government to pass an urgent decree, which partly decriminalized the abuse of office and other related misconduct, brought more than half a million Romanian people onto the streets since last week. The government was wrong to pass this decree. There is no doubt that one of the main beneficiaries would have been Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democrats and Chamber President who is indicted for abuse of office. His case is pending. The argument that the government had to pass this decree in order to respect a previous decision of the Constitutional Court holds no water. Ne ..

Housing and class (trans)formation in Romania

The following piece was originally published in Croatian on the online platform Bilten. The article provides an overview on the political economy of housing in Romania as a key driver of the formation of capitalism after the dismantlement of socialist industries and related residential urban systems. It discusses statistical data and information on legislation at national and local level, in particular in the city of Cluj-Napoca, by addressing some central features of these transformations (such as privatisation and restitution, minimal social state, financialisation and class inequalities) in the tradition of cr ..

From hero to zero: The spectacular rise and the immediate decline of the Romanian president

There is nothing quite like it in contemporary European politics. Perhaps there never was. The story of the current Romanian president seems more of a farce, a figment of imagination, than a real story. As with everything Romanian, it would be deeply funny and amusing if it weren’t tragic. President Klaus Iohannis came to power in November 2014 in very contested circumstances. Trailing by 10% his main competitor after the first round –the then Prime Minister Victor Ponta – and pretty much unconvincing during the TV debates before the run-off, Iohannis was all but defeated. In fact, from the very beginning, ..

“And We Go Willingly, Like a Lamb to the Slaughter”: Migrant Labor in the EU (an Interview with Romanian Construction Worker Bogdan Droma)

Bogdan Droma has worked in Berlin for three months, between August and October 2014, at building the famous Mall of Berlin. As a result of weeks of work going unpaid, as well as of various forms of abusive treatment, he protested together with other workers between November 2014 and February 2015 on an almost daily basis, turning the popular designation of the mall into the Mall of Shame. The case of the Mall of Berlin workers is not an isolated one. Thus we wanted, together with Bogdan, to start a conversation regarding non-declared or off the books work as performed by immigrants in the West. Interview conducte ..