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December 4, 2022

The corruption of twisted principles

“Attila Cseke should have resigned when several newborns burned alive in a blaze at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital of Bucharest. But he did not resign then, nor did he leave his position when many of the Health Ministry’s decisions to close hospitals and fire personnel were overturned in court.”

At first glance, Attila Cseke’s resignation from the position of Health Minister looks like a gesture of honour, a protest against the Health Ministry being neglected during the latest budget rectification, although it urgently needed more than RON 4 bln. Furthermore, Cseke repeatedly tried to have a talk with the minister of Finance on this issue, but he was turned down each time. Cseke thus was ignored, refused, even avoided, following the wrong principle that “Health produces nothing, and only takes resources.” “This is completely wrong,” Cseke said in his resignation speech. “Health produces something very important: healthy people, capable to work and create,” he explained. The Finance Minister said he might be right, but the ex-minister attended the talks with the IMF experts that recently asked us to put some order in the financial chaos that exists in the Health Ministry.

This dialogue, conducted exclusively via the media, continued with the premier’s intervention about the priority of investments, and will further go on by twisting some obvious principles. This also hints to the fundamental contradictions that exist in the ruling coalition, which politicians try to dissimulate with incendiary speeches.

On one hand, the Democrat Liberal Party knows that the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) has no interest to leave the coalition as long as most resources made available to the ministries led by its representatives are used to the benefit of regions inhabited mainly by the ethnic Hungarian minority. Those who doubt it had a monstrous proof recently, when minister Cseke himself closed many hospitals in eastern and south-eastern Romania (where the Hungarian minority is quasi-inexistent), claiming that he was trying to reform the medical system. Attila Cseke should have resigned when several newborns burned alive in a blaze at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital of Bucharest. But he did not resign then, nor did he leave his position when many of the Health Ministry’s decisions to close hospitals and fire personnel were overturned in court.

On the other hand, UDMR knows it can do what it pleases, even against the president of Romania, as long as its support in Parliament is crucial for the ruling coalition. The gap between Power and Opposition is widening, under the pressure of contradictions which, however, are not caused by different political conceptions, let alone different doctrines. Their current antagonisms result from group and clan interests that undermine the strategic objective of national solidarity, essential in this time of crisis. Against this background of twisted democratic principles, UDMR – a party that represents some 6 pc of the country’s population – became the arbiter of Romania’s successive ruling coalitions, regardless of their centrist, leftist or rightist political doctrine. Given this absurd and unexpected role of arbiter of governments, the leaders of UDMR have been indulging in antidemocratic moves and actions directed against the Romanian state, like demonstrated by the recent debates on the regionalisation of the country.

All these maneuvers are favoured by the clan spirit that exists at the level of all the political parties of Romania. This leads to another setback: even when a positive solution is proposed and accepted by everybody, enforcing it does not yield the expected results, because it lacks the complementary character which is prerequisite to any large-scale economic and social initiative. Romania’s critical situation requires medium and long-term strategies, forecasts and anticipations capable to prevent the effects of the crisis, instead of isolated initiatives. It is better to prevent than to cure the effects of crisis, because in the latter situation the sacrifice will be much bigger. Like in the case of Education, in the Health sector too solutions must have a complementary character. Otherwise, if each minister twists principles to his own benefit, his “success” will only undermine the system to a greater extent.

This is the very reason of the crisis that plagues the Health sector, and because of this, the optimal solution can only rely upon an organic vision, rather than one reflecting group interests. Completely or partially transferring some hospitals under the control of local administrations increases the risk of having a fragmented quality level of health services. Each county will provide as much healthcare as it can afford, regardless of the constitutional principle about equal chances to life and professional accomplishment. The result will be a high level of discrimination, which has its worst effects precisely in the Health and Education sectors. This is the main reason why both Health and Education systems must have a uniform, coherent and perfectible character.

When they are asked about the serious problems facing the Health system, our rulers resort to twisting principles, because the corruption existing in Romania relies precisely on manipulating otherwise noble principles.

On one hand rulers acclaim the administrative decentralisation all the way to local autonomy on ethnic criteria, while on the other, when it best suits them, they resort to… merging hospitals, then complaining about their lack of efficiency. They move from left to right and back as dictated by their own interest, which is opposed to the general interest, especially the strategic national interest. This is the source and the “fuel” of the Romanian crisis.

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