On Wednesday, as the EPP leaders were being greeted with a poor taste glitter for a country like Romania and with a lot of humbleness by Traian Basescu and (his) party, PDL, to the very place that happens to be called the People’s House, I had the chance to meet a young historian while I was visiting the National History Museum. After an impeccable presentation, the guide, who demonstrated a rare erudition, drew the conclusion that ‘Romanians have always needed masters’, being incapable of managing the affairs of their country by themselves. Although it may seem somewhat shocking, his conclusion is that the only periods when this country knew economic development were the reign of Carol I, brought over from Germany to lead the country and contain the corruption and greediness of local nobility who was striving to get control over the country and the communist period between 1965 and 1989, when the entire modern infrastructure was built and the big industrialisation happened.
Romanians therefore need either a foreign prince or an iron hand, a dictatorship, to be able to make economic headway. And this is not a personal opinion, but a historical reality. The manner in which the EPP Congress unfolded in Bucharest shows that this mentality of subservience to the big powers is still present and very deeply rooted in the mindset of the Democrat Liberal Party. As we could hear during the speech the president gave from the stand of the Romanian Parliament, in his opinion, the EU member states should simply surrender their sovereignty and organise themselves as the United States of Europe. It has to be noted that, already in 2009, during the presidential election and Constitution review referendum campaign, Basescu was anticipating the idea of a federal European Union. His argument for renouncing the bicameral parliamentary system was that ‘we will anyway surrender part of our sovereignty to Brussels’….Of course, the European Commission and the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, who forcefully advocates the banking union and the deprivation of the member states of their sovereign prerogative of drafting their national budgets, can have many ideas and can propose many projects, but it doesn’t mean that European citizens should blindly embrace them. But the president of Romania makes this assertion without consulting the Parliament, the supreme institution of the state, and in spite of the Constitution that clearly states that ‘Romania is a national, sovereign and independent, unitary and indivisible state’. In other words, having lost authority and credibility after the July referendum when 90 per cent of the electors voted to dismiss him and who only has 14 per cent confidence rate among Romanians, Basescu is ready to surrender the country’s sovereignty without anyone even asking for such thing yet. Fortunately, democratic mechanisms can prevent such move, as it will be submitted to popular referendum in all member states provided the will of the public is respected and the referendum law is not changed as to influence the outcome of the vote as the Commission did when it imposed to Romania the 50 percent quorum in the summer. The fact that Basescu did not have any formal public reaction to the shocking demand of for the federalisation of Romania, made by the controversial Hungarian leader Laszlo Tokes from the same Parliament rostrum, could be easily interpreted that the president backs the idea. The fact that the Romanian president entertained foreign leaders all day long, yet refused to talk to the press even causing a hilarious uproar when, at some point, he just decided to break into a run down the Parliament corridors, can be interpreted that Traian Basescu no longer deems it necessary to report on his activity to the Romanian public and that his allegiance goes to Brussels alone, from where his salvation came. In fact, confounding himself with the institutions of Romania, Basescu actually thanked the federal chancellor for helping ‘save’ them during the summer events. As it was quite apparent, the other representatives of the presidential party also didn’t find it necessary to make any statements, probably not to adumbrate their Brussels bosses, all in the same submissive and humble attitude. This kind of mentality that Romanians are inferior and that any foreign presence in Bucharest should be turned into an exceptional event can also be seen in the way in which PDL leaders have rebuked USL for ‘daring’ organise on the same day their big rally for the launching of candidates in the parliamentary election on December 9. The obedient press also abounds in criticism, thundering out against the Social liberals for having the ‘nerve’ to ‘eclipse’ the EPP Congress, and for ‘ignoring’ the presence of Europe’s big and mighty in Bucharest. In keeping with this logic of chanting odes, Romania should have frozen still and even hold its breath, swamped by emotion for having the ‘privilege’ of having 16 European leaders in Bucharest. Unfortunately, EPP representatives, too, think it’s an extraordinary privilege for Romania that they have held their Congress here. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso was saying no less and no more that it proved that the EU was important for Romania and the other way around (as the EU is only made of EPP) and Antonio Lopez was advising PM Victor Ponta to be ‘proud’ and not to criticise President Basescu’s presence at their Congress… In his speech, Barroso referred to the importance of observing laws, but this is exactly where the EPP officials are making a huge mistake when they treat Traian Basescu as a de facto leader of PDL. The same mistake was also made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said Basescu had not been afraid of the future when ‘his measures’ (pay cuts, illegal pension taxes, reduction or erasing of welfare benefits for disabled persons, mothers, children, closing down hundreds of hospitals) had not always been popular. Fact: Under the Fundamental Law, the president of Romania may not be the head of a political party or to be engaged in the political life of parties (EPP included). Fact: Under the Fundamental Law, the president of Romania HAS NOT executive prerogatives. Just as she didn’t know that the impeachment of the president was allowed and covered by the Romanian Constitution, having been purposefully misinformed by Basescu himself, Mrs. Merkel and the Commission officials still do not know that Traian Basescu broke the Constitution when he took the very measures she now speaks about. As a matter of fact, the Constitutional Court admitted to the fact that the president had expanded its own prerogatives in the executive area. More than that, EPP leaders who praised the Basescu-Boc governments for their ‘efforts’ in imposing austerity probably ignore in full awareness the fact that such dramatic austerity measures overlapped with a generalisation of corruption in public administration, public funds embezzlement, in short with a large-scale robbery coordinated by PDL through its people heading key state institutions. Despite the pompous statements, the EPP Congress was very consistent with an electoral kind of logic. It was supposed to send out a signal to the Romanian public that the EU supports this party wholeheartedly, even if a majority of the local electorate finds that the same party has run the country in a discretionary and abusive manner, as well as against their best interest. Whether they feel privileged or not by the presence of Traian Basescu and PDL’s guests in Bucharest, Romanians will still vote for Romanian politicians rather than Merkel, Barroso or Martens on December 9, and, given their current opinion poll ratings, the democrat liberals are not in the best position. Actually, this was the main stake of this EPP Congress, as the (re)election of President Wilfried Martens (the only candidate, with over 90 per cent of the vote, very democratic indeed) or the election of the EPP leadership, the adoption of the political programme could have well been done in Brussels or in any other place without this excessive publicity, because those are normal things for any party, no matter how big or influential it may be…. If we are to consider the speeches given in front of the European leaders gathered at the Parliament Palace on Wednesday, the main message of the European People’s Party was that, by clawing Traian Basescu from his dismissal, the EU ‘saved democracy’ and that barbaric austerity actually yields results….
Add a Comment