EDITORIAL

NO to Romania’s federalization

For the present electoral campaign, Romanian politicians’ state of mind is similar to that of a civil war. If we analyse it carefully, the governing agenda provided by almost all of the candidates to Romania’s Presidency includes few concrete objectives, with precise terms and deadlines of application. On the other hand, all of them are excelling in harsh accusations brought to their political adversaries so much that any intention concerning positive achievements is blown away. And it is precisely this lack of attention granted to ideas that annihilates them and gives them an opposing sense. Instead of being positive solutions, as they pretend to be, they do little more than undermine the Romanian society overall. From pretended “arguments” of economical and social progress, they turn into actions that undermine the national unity.

And the list of negative effects does not stop here. We must also include the fact that most candidates to the Romanian Presidency, in the midst of their most furious struggles, are still united, due to a tragicomic paradox: at least in their subconscious, they are united by their option favouring the regionalisation of our country. Yet, each of them sees regionalisation in their own specific way: from granting power to each mogul that supports the electoral campaign to do what he wants and act as he sees fit in his own territory, to those that imagine financial-administrative decentralisation and, actually, regionalisation as a masked debut of Romania’s federalisation, ending with territorial decomposition.
Especially the candidates of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania, but also some of their irresponsible allies pretend that administrative decentralisation and regionalisation could solve development contradictions at the level of counties. These claims are outright ridiculous. The most frequently used indicator in order to evaluate the existence of development differences among communities is the gross domestic product (GDP). And precisely this indicator provides grounds to compare Romania’s situation before the year 1990 but also after this period to that of many other European countries. The differences that define many Romanian counties have deepened especially during the last two decades, as the idea of administrative decentralisation amplified. The economical crisis in Romania was increased especially by the political options of decentralisation.
The veiled supporters of federalisation are pleading for regionalisation and have achieved it, in many cases; not legally but factually. And it is precisely on the basis of decentralisation that their local actions are those of invincible moguls. And precisely due to these actions, we are witnessing a gradual reoccurrence of the dramatic situation of 1950 – 1965, when Romania functioned without counties, after the pattern of regionalisation imposed by Stalin in 1950. As the administrative unit – the region –  increased in size, its minimum level of development concentrated in given insular points of the respective region, precisely due to their regional quality. Let us merely remember the tremendous development differences between the area of Galati and that of Braila, while they both belonged to the same region. Or the development differences between the Craiova area and that of other localities in Oltenia, despite their great traditions that defined economy as well.
The supporters of veiled federalisation pretend that the regionalisation of Romania’s territory would cancel the final consequences of Communism. This is utterly false! Romania’s present organisation in counties has lasted for hundreds of years, while regionalisation wears the stigma of Stalinist communism. This is why Romania was reorganized in counties no earlier than 1964, when Romania’s leaders of that time declared national independence and Romania’s multiple relations with Occidental, capitalist countries had an unprecedented development under the circumstances of the former Socialist lager and the Warsaw Pact that reunited all socialist countries. The official visits to Romania paid by important officials such as General Charles de Gaulle of France, Nixon of the USA, Zhou Enlai of China, took place in this climate of our country returning to its historical traditions.
I am reminding our readers of these historical events as I am determined by the deep belief that every decision made by the authorities has the duty to take into account experiences of the past, so that their action could generate positive effects. Adopted disregarding historical perspective, a political decision, well-intended as it might be, may easily turn into its contrary. Therefore, any beholder of power, regardless of their high-level specialization in other fields, should also have a historical perspective; otherwise his approach might end up into a tragicomic paradox.
By example, in order to emphasise their merit in their actions aimed to decentralise the Romanian territory, our political leaders frequently mention their struggle with the “grim resistance” of public servants from the centralized structure of the state. Most of these oppose regionalisation – politicians claim – because, by this change in the organizing, most of them would lose their present positions. Actually, the opposition by central public servants has other motivations as well. It is well-known, by example, that a future school inspectorate would include fewer experts than the ones present today in the three, four or five counties that would be gained into a region.
And it is precisely due to this cut in the personnel that the control and guidance to be provided to schools in the future region would benefit of a much reduced support. Due to this fact, each school is risking the chance of being to grant a much lower quality of education. And, on a national level, we may encounter the situation of having as many levels of school education quality level as the number of Romania’s regions. And this would be disastrous. It is well known that the axis of resistance in every national state is, first of all, the spiritual unity of its members, as a basis of any national strategy.
Moreover, anyone in a position of power, in any region, would dispose of a larger territory to manage and may exercise influence upon it without a frequent state control, which exposes them to the risk of evolution towards the position of a tyrant. These are the precise circumstances for the appearance of local mafias that are prone to violate the law by discretionary, abusive and discriminating practices. These practices are already so frequently encountered nowadays, even in the case of certain counties.
Another argument brought by the supporters of the policy of regionalisation refers to the fact that, thus, the government is no longer obliged to financially support as many operations as it did so far. But precisely this way, by losing financial control over the regions, the local leaders might be tempted to act in their own interest and in that of the local political group. And it is exactly why the supreme argument in favour of regionalisation cannot be that officials could pass over some of their tasks and also some of their responsibility. On the contrary, the responsibility of the central officials should increase by regionalisation and by any act of decentralisation, so that the state would fortify its national – unitary character and not decrease it.
A referendum on the topic of decentralisation by the country’s regionalisation would be very useful. Politicians have even brought up this idea many times as an option that is both necessary and possible. They are the ones to explain why they gave it up. The eventual costs of this referendum would be much lower than the specific value of this popular expression of opinions.

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