Many Romanian politicians, regardless of their so-called doctrine orientation, see the state as the main obstacle, if not enemy, against any kind of progress. Even the recently proposed referendum on merging the six districts of Bucharest into a single administrative structure paradoxically started from accusing the centralised stated, which we were told is too weak to put an end to the illegal decisions made at district scale. On the other hand, the same accusers of the state have been complaining for some time about its decentralisation. They want the referendum to be held at the earliest, no matter the price. Isn’t there a contradiction in terms between the two situations? Of course it is, but inconsistence and contradiction are characteristic to Romanian politics.
According to our rulers, it is essential to turn the “numerous” counties into 8-10 regions, which will necessarily include restoring the Autonomous Hungarian Region imposed to Romania by Stalin in 1950.
The role of the late dictator has been taken today by a certain ethnic minority party, whose support is essential for the survival of the fragile ruling coalition. Under the pressure of this despicable blackmail, the recent draft law passed by the Chamber of Deputies about teaching History and Geography exclusively in the Romanian language at school has sparked acute political contradictions and inconsistencies these days. Together, they form a massive and coordinated attack against the state, seen as an oppressive entity.
The Romanian state is accused of dissimulating all the errors and crimes committed by our political rulers. All thefts from the public wealth are blamed on the state itself; the devastation of forests, the destruction of the ecological balance at country scale represents just one of the many negative consequences of this anti-state attitude. Various anachronisms and intrigues are invoked in support of the politically motivated effort of returning the forest to its many owners before the 1948 nationalisation, which would once again split forest into countless small plots. Yet, everybody seems to ignore the recent nationalisation of forests in Western Europe, precisely with the purpose of protecting ecosystems.
But the suffering does not stop at just the material wealth of Romania. Its spiritual wealth too has much to suffer from the indecent accusations brought against the state. Even our national solidarity has come under fire, with its main pillars – Romanian language and culture – along with democracy and the rule of law. As long as it is led by a Parliament and an administrative structure that were created on democratic basis, the Romanian state cannot make the object of accusations. Yes, there were mistakes, with more or less serious consequences, but these were the results of decision made by corrupt and incompetent rulers. The best way to correct these consequences consists in strengthening the authority of the state, instead of weakening it.
A democratic state like today’s Romania should be oppressive only with those who despise and infringe the institutional framework. Laws cannot be partial, individualised to the benefit of certain people. The so-called “positive discrimination” is nonsense with this regard. In order to be useful, laws need coherence, integrity and a strong state capable of enforcing them of a correct and systematic manner. Without the authority of the state, centrifugal forces will disintegrate the state under our very eyes. If it is really meant to create value, even administrative decentralisation implies strengthening, not weakening the authority of the state, as a factor of balance and a unbiased stimulant.
Such principles are widely present and enforced in Western countries, but in Romania they make politicians and so-called “elitists” frown. Some time ago, I attended the conference held by a reputed expert at the German Cultural Institute of Bucharest. The guest – Dr. Honoris Causa Hans-Peter Schneider, the head of the Institute for the Research of Federalism, of the Hanover University – had been invited to speak about the experience of German federalism. I can remember very well the shock felt by Romanian politicians and “elitists” present at the event when the reputed expert made an appeal for the organic development of the state. It is well known that, during times of transition, centrifugal trends should give precedence to a centralised, national solidarity, he explained. History has demonstrated that organic development is a road from federalism to strong national states, and any reversal of this trend leads to chaos, the German expert warned.
Western countries were able to avoid financial and economic chaos precisely by strengthening the role of state, sometimes even by transferring under state control the financial entities threatened by bankruptcy. Is this against the free initiative of individuals? Not at all! On the contrary, it is just an appeal to reason, organic development and national solidarity, hence to boosting and widening the creative role of the state. In America and Western Europe, politicians were able to overcome their momentary individual interests and unite for the sake of fundamental national and global interests. The huge sums provided by various nations to solve the most urgent economic and social problems worldwide will bring countless benefits under the umbrella of the general fundamental interest. This interest was appreciated as the only certain salvation of the countries worst hit by the crisis, like Greece, Ireland, Portugal a.s.o.
With things going like this at global scale, what is Romania doing at home? It remains prey to the same centrifugal trends, in spite of the warnings issued by economic and political analysts which demand strong joint efforts that will transcend doctrines and political clienteles. It is useless to plead for norms that will regulate the priority of national interest, or to warn that forced privatisations had rather colonialist effects in the past, instead of strengthening the national economy. As reaction to such advice and recommendations, our political rulers come with “solutions” whose main purpose is to undermine their opponents, rather than to deal with the acute problems of the country. Various kinds of contradictory formulas are given, but nobody has in mind a fundamental strategic goal, such as an eventual government of national unity.
Politicians, beware! The authority and resilience of the Romanian state is the only justification for your existence.