A blog in general about Romania and my feelings at the moment, with a focus on design, branding, art and anything else that inspires me.

Friday, April 01, 2005

OUT: Spain, IN: London-Paris-Bucharest axis

The recent treatment of Romanians by the Spanish authorities is downright disgusting. It's in the news now that Spanish border police forced Romanian tourists to write false statements in order to say that they borrowed money from the bus driver, hence giving the Spanish a reason to send the Romanians back. This is pretty shocking news, but while others have tried to blame Romania, this is one time when Romania is not to blame. It is Spain that we should be blaming. They're the ones being unreasonable, they're the ones breaking the law. Spain shouldn't even the right to set up border checkpoints with France - it is a Schengen country, if it wants to administer its own border system for internal EU borders, then let it leave Schengen. What Spain is doing now is not EU behaviour? May I remind the border police that when they were 30 years younger, Spain was still a poor country begging to join the then-EC yet branded as a relatively undeveloped nation that would bring an influx of migrants to the existing members. I'm not saying it should live with that image, because clearly Spain has moved past that, but all we expect is a bit of empathy.

For me personally, for this behaviour to come from Spain has been quite surprising. I could have expected it from other countries, but not from Spain, a country I always saw as close to Romania culturally, and also a very liberal, progressive country. I've visited Spain multiple times, and I loved it. Honestly, it's one of my favourite places in the world. And they're the only ones that always vote for us at Eurovision :) Basically, a warm, friendly, decent nation of Latin people just like us. I'm not saying that doesn't apply anymore, as that would be superficial. I just think that this incident with the border scandal has given Spain a bad image in Romania. Spain is no longer, I feel, Romania's friend in the EU, and hence Romania should look at other countries.

This leads me to the main point of this post - What other countries? With what other countries should Romania ally with most once it becomes an EU member. We all know that even inside the integrated EU, countries form "allegiance blocs" with each other. The Nordic countries support each other, Hungary has a good friend in Austria, the UK is less sceptic of enlargement than Germany, etc.

Until now, Romania identified with Spain and Italy most, that's how I see it. France and Germany also, to a lesser extent. That's changing. We're seeing more alliance with the UK, and mixed signals with France. What do I think about all of this? I think partnership with the UK is a great thing. The UK is a great country, they can help Romania a lot and I believe they're much more open-minded that other EU countries. Surprising, yes, for a country that Romanians still see as "conservative", which, if you think about it, it really isn't.

Then there's France. France has basically been ignored by the Romanians recently, no-one talks about it anymore, it is no longer Romania's big friend in the EU. That's sad, because France should be one of our main partners, as they also have a lot to offer. Similar culture, historical allegiances and more. I think the whole world should devote a bit more energy to re-understand France.

What other friends would Romania have? Spain... NO! Italy... I wouldn't say so, honestly. Germany... no, they're not particularly warm about Romania, despite all the Băsescu visits and the foreign investment. How about Hungary? Well, 'twould be great to have a good friendship with Hungary, but I still think recent history would make a true partnership impossible.

So, I still maintain that the UK and France are the best bets for Romania in the future. Instead of Washington-London-Bucharest axis, how about a London-Paris-Bucharest axis?