I am beginning to see the limits of my enforced-positivity in terms of absorbing and interpreting the current political events. Yet the political situation in Romania is remarkably similar to what’s happening in USA.
Ciolos government successes are quite endearing, except that some data is given for 2007-2013, some for 2016 and some without date interval, which makes it difficult to know what this is about. Still, the general perception is that things got done (though I would have liked to see more rigour in time frame).
In particular, we learn that Romania had an absorption rate of EU funds of 81%. Bulgarian press (nov-61) quotes for Romania a rate of 61.4% with a 27th ranking in EU, below Bulgaria at 23rd. Maybe it’s because EU released stats for 2007-2016, and Ciolos is saying that he bumped the percentage from 61.4% to 81% during his mandate, but that’s really comparing apples to oranges. There are other similarly questionable comparisons which make me wonder if the general “feeling” that Ciolos has done a great job is not entirely with correspondent in reality.
It’s not just Ciolos coming up with self-congratulatory stats, Obama has done it as well. And these are the people I like.
As for those that I don’t like, the ones who won the elections (Trump & Dragnea), the cabinet that they announced is insanely bad. At least, according to the press I read.
I was happy for Sevil and Ana Birchall to have made it, until I read Vice exposes (vr-decl, vr-cum). Supposedly, Sevil wants parliamentary immunity for Mayors and other local authorities, while Ana Birchall is overly religious (see also the aghiasma episode).
The scariest is by far the Education minister who is a mini-Nazi; he declared, in his short Q&A with the Parliament, that some kids just can’t pass testing and are a lost cause. The Transportation minister refused to promise even 1 km of highway (a big issue in Romania). I wouldn’t be surprised to hear him suggest Romania could improve its PISA performance by sending underperformers to the gas chambers. Nonetheless, his first measure was to enable school directors who failed their competency tests to regain their positions, because testing is for losers.
And Dragnea has played the Ciorbea card in an incredibly crass manner, showing a complete lack of appreciation for democracy and the institution that Ciorbea is supposed the lead. I get that Ciorbea is a spineless lackey, who got that as a prize for having done who-knows-what services to PSD or Dragnea personally, but they should have at least created the appearance of him working for “da beoble” before acting so obviously partisan. The fact that they didn’t bother to create the appearance of legality bodes very poorly for the rest of their governing years.
So I’m starting to see the limits of my self-imposed positivity in looking at today’s politics. I don’t want a law of amnesty or for the anti-corruption drive to stop, but I do want to see regular people embracing the idea and corrupting (and allowing themselves to be corrupted) less. I don’t want DNA to stop investigating dignitaries, but they should produce indictments that stick and are full of substance and with evidence to match, not to make up accusations based on poorly interpreting the legislation and relying on dumb judges for convictions. I want the Romanian poor to get more money so that the economic growth continues and that the poor feel it too, but not at the risk of it all crashing down; I am not entirely sure that the economy can withstand the shock of all the spending and corruption that is about to strike it.
And yet, there are cool things to celebrate. Romania got the top spot for “hidden gems” or touristic destinations to visit in a top of travel writers (wl-5most), followed by Canada on the 2nd place. While neglecting Romania, the New York Times places Canada first. Maybe the NYT staff hasn’t heard of Romania..
Enjoy lopatire (snow shovelling)!
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