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Will Moldova Reunite with Romania?

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Will romania and moldova unite

Image by: Andrei Nacu

Have you ever watched or played a game of chess? During the last 20 years an important game of chess takes place in the eastern part of Europe. The major players are Moldova, Romania, Russia and the European Union. The stake of the game is Moldova. On 20th October, in Bucharest, Romania’s capital, thousands of people marched. The goal of their movement was the reunification of Romania with Moldova. Why people from Romania and Moldova are asking for this action? What are the connections between Romania and Moldova? What are the geopolitical implications for the entire Eastern Europe?

Historical context

Many Romanians believe that their country should share the same destiny with Moldova because there are many historical, social and cultural links between Moldovans and Romanians. Maybe the most important one is that from an ethnic point of view 78% of the Moldovans are Romanians. (CIA, The World Factbook)

In 1812, an important part of Moldova was conquered by the Russian Empire. After the First World War, in 1918 Moldova, also known as Basarabia, returned to Romania and for the first time in the modern history the entire Romanian people were placed under the same governmental umbrella – in the Romanian history this period is called the age of the Greater Romania. During the Second World War, Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union and until the end of the Cold War was under the Soviet sphere of influence.

After the end of the Cold War, Moldova became an independent nation. The Romanians who lived in this space started peaceful protests. Their objective was the establishment of the Romanian language as a state language. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was afraid that they will lose their grip over the region, but they had the perfect opportunity to maintain a certain amount of influence. Transnistria, the Eastern part of Moldova, the majority is held by Russians (Slavic population). Transnistria is a separatist region and in the first years after the independence there was a blood bath. In order to maintain the security of the region Russian military forces remained here. After 1993 the relationship between Romania and Moldova enters into a gradual cooling era. For example, the 2004 Constitution talks about the Moldavian language and Moldovan nationality.

In 2009 the political party of Vladimir Voronin won the elections again. Vladimir Voronin is a communist. The liberals and civil society used all the social media platforms to organise a huge protest movement in Chisinau. Around 15.000 people were involved and a lot of them were students. Voronin said that the entire movement was a coup d’etat staged by Romania. Step-by-step the entire country became more unstable although the liberals managed to take power.

Romania and Moldova…and Russia

As we mentioned before there are many voices in Romania who believe that Moldova should be a part of Romania and the movement which took place on 20th October are the physical evidence of this desire.

A move on a chessboard is never simple and easy. There are many factors that must be considered. The first one is the economy. Moldova is a poor and divided country. In many ways the situation is similar with Western and Eastern Germany. For example the GDP of Romania will increase with $5.5 billion but the GDP per capita will decrease with more than 1.000 Euro. There are many regions in Romania which have a bigger GDP than the entire Moldova. Also there is the problem of Transnistria and the illegal arms smuggling operations from there. They could interfere and affect the national security of Romania.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said that the reunification is possible as long as the people from Moldova want it. After this statement a newspaper from Russia said that the President claims “could block the European integration of Moldova and they cause even more instability in the region.” (Nezavisimaia Gazeta) Also, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kojara said that Romania and Moldova are sovereign states and they can decide whatever they want in their bilateral relationship.

In the past few years the message Basarabia (Moldova) is Romanian land appeared throughout the major cities of the country and during the movement from 20th October thousands of flags and banners with this message appeared. This message appears on fences, bridges and even governmental buildings and if you walk by foot in Bucharest you can notice this message near subway stations or important governmental buildings.

At the end of the day the opinion of the European Union and Russia must be taken into account because Romania is an EU member and at this moment Moldova is not prepared to enter into the European community. Also a possible expansion of Romania near Transnistria and the Russian sphere of influence has many implications for the security of Moldova as region, for the security of Romania and for the security of the entire European Union.

Moldova is a buffer zone between NATO/EU and Russia. How Romania will play this geopolitical chess game is very important for the future of the entire region because Romania has the opportunity to reboot its diplomatic power in the region but also the future of the 3.7 million of souls living in Moldova is at stake. We cannot think and look at this game from a very cynical perspective because there are lives involved. At this moment the situation is quite grim for Moldova because being a buffer zone is sometimes a geopolitical disadvantage. If Bismarck and his Realpolitik would be alive, he would say that Moldova is just a pawn in this chess game. We all know that Bismarck is dead, but can we say that Realpolitik is also dead? Think about that!

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Europe

Unforgettable trip in Malaga, Spain

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Malaga Spain

flickr/benidormone

If you are wondering what is the best option to spend your next holidays the answer you are looking for is Marbella. The Spanish Costa del Sol, with its 320 sunny days and an average temperature of 19 degrees throughout the whole year, has everything you could ever need to have the most spectacular holidays.

Marbella is a destiny that has much to offer, it’s where sun, beach, party and luxury meet to give you the best experiences. If you want your Marbella holidays to be unforgettable you can’t miss these activities.

Sun, Sea and Beach Parties in Malaga

Yacht charter in Malaga:  If you are in Costa del Sol you can’t miss the experience of renting a boat to enjoy the bay, from motorboats to luxury yachts. The sea is the perfect way to spend the day. There are many options to choose from and packs to meet your needs.

Party is a synonym of Marbella but there is nothing like a Costa del Sol boat party to enjoy with your friends and have the time of your life.

Beach day: No matter what time of the year you visit Marbella you can always count on a beach day. One of the most attractive features of Costa del Sol is its amazing beaches, awarded with the blue flag, which represent the gold standard for hygiene and public facilities, you can have a great day in one of its many beaches weather is having a drink at one of the typical chiringuitos or practicing different water sports like paddle surf, windsurf or diving in the Mediterranean the beaches in Costa del Sol are always a great option.

Party in Puerto Banus: from the famous Nikki Beach club to the many nightclubs in Marbella, there is no excuse not to party. And if you want to have a different experience you can always spice things up with a special guest, in Marbella, cheeky butler parties are always a fun way to spend the night or to celebrate a bachelorette party. It’s a different experience and you don’t have to worry about anything except enjoying yourself.

Cultural Options in Malaga

Enjoy the historic centre: If you are looking for a more relaxing way to spend your time, Marbella’s old town is an excellent option for you. Get lost in the city and discover all the magical places this typical Andalusian town has to offer.

From Dalí’s art display to its many restaurants there are many ways you can make the most of your time in Costa del Sol. Visit Marbella’s many beautiful squares, and its Alameda park or even take a quick field trip to Torremolinos. Whatever you choose Costa del Sol will never let you down.

Sports in Malaga

Practice your swing: Costa del Sol, also known as Costa del Golf has more than 70 golf courses almost all of them located next to the ocean which adds a beautiful scenery while you practice that swing.

These and many more are the activities are waiting for you to discover, so don’t wait any longer and visit Costa del Sol

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Europe

UK Attempts To Bypass European Commission On Brexit Blocked By Brussels

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Brexit European Union

Via geographos

As the UK and EU draw deeper and deeper into uncharted waters, Brexit negotiations are becoming increasingly erratic. As negotiators from both states met this week to discuss items such as the Northern Ireland Border, the rights of EU citizens currently residing in the UK and the notorious ‘divorce bill’, there have been numerous reports of frustration within the British camp.

Frustration

Recently it was revealed that Prime Minister Theresa May, believing talks to be at an impasse, intended to go over the heads of the EU’s Brexit negotiators and appeal directly to world leaders such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. When questioned about this, however, Brussels officials close to the negotiations intimated that Mrs May would not be able to circumvent the negotiations process.

The officials pointed out that both French and German leaders had agreed prior to the talks that negotiations would come “as a single package” where “individual items cannot be settled separately” and that no member state would abstain from negotiations in favour of individual agreements.

One year on…

It has been over a year now since the UK referendum in which the country voted (at a rate of 52% to 48%) to leave the European Union in an unprecedented political and economic chain of events, the repercussions of which will take years to fully realise but which the world glibly knows as Brexit. It’s a small name for such a political leviathan. Many of the world’s leading bankers and economists still aren’t sure what to make of. Recently CEO Lloyds Bank Antonio Horta-Osorio (who has been lauded for restoring the bank’s profits to pre-financial crisis levels) expressed doubt and uncertainty over the long term economic effects of Brexit. It’s somewhat telling that former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after the vote, claiming that his involvement in the ‘Remain’ campaign put him at odds with the will of the people but it’s possible that he had the prescience to realise that he had no hope of taming this wily and unpredictable beast. One year on, the beast only seems to have become further enraged by the negotiating process.

Difficult negotiations

Theresa May has gone into Brexit negotiations with some questionably aggressive negotiating tactics. The first round of talks were mired by her strangely audacious assertion that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The frustration has clearly been felt on both sides with chief negotiator Michel Barnier urging Mrs May to begin negotiating “seriously”. The French government also demonstrated an unwillingness to circumvent negotiations earlier this week, stating that it “fully supports, on the substance as well as on the method, Michel Barnier’s negotiating mandate” and asserting that claims that Mrs May can somehow bypass the procedure “are founded on absolutely nothing and do not reflect reality”. Brexit Minister David Davis, however, retains an optimistic tone, stating;

“Our goal remains the same: we want to agree a deal that works in the best interests for both the European Union and the United Kingdom and people and businesses right across Europe. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work once more…”.

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Economy

The EU Commission seeks to ban cash: A cashless democratic sham?

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Cashless economy demonetization india

Belgium, Denmark, France, Canada, the UK, Sweden and many other countries from the Eurozone and Western world are amongst the most prominent countries to move away from cash, namely due to the large availability of other types of payment. And yet, the EU Commission continues to push towards even less cash and fantasizes on killing it completely off. Why the obstinacy? Is cash giving governmental agencies an itch because it escapes their control?

In the Netherlands, 85% of transactions are cashless: transfers, debit, e-payment, etc. take the cake. It doesn’t result from a ban on cash, but a country where 98% of citizens have debit cards is bound to take it easy on currency. In Sweden, cashless transactions amount to even more. The cashless world champion is Belgium, where only 7% of transactions are carried out in cash. Cashless-support Robert Colville recently published (1) an OpEd in which he wrote: “it’s about not just cash but credit cards themselves disappearing – about paying for whatever we like with the wave of a phone or the blink of a biometrically-verified eye. That future is coming sooner than we think”. As more options opened up to the public to make their payments, the more digitally developed populations slowly adopted them, reducing gradually the use of cash. Much to their government’s delight.

India violently pushed the envelope in the end of 2016, when the Prime Minister announced overnight that almost all banknotes would be null and void within a few weeks. The BBC announced (2): “In an unscheduled televised address on 8 November Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the nation just four hours notice that 500 ($7.30; £6) and 1,000 rupee notes would no longer be legal tender. People were told they could deposit or change their old notes in banks until 30 December and new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes would be issued.”. This set off an earthquake in a country where a large share of the population has no debit card, cell phone or even access to a nearby bank.

The Indian PM announced the move was intended to fight corruption, crime, terrorism, as well as to modernize the country. However, the reason simpler, yet more complex. The Indian government, like just about any other government in the world, is trying to force its citizens under more of its control. From a governmental point of view, complete control means more taxation earnings, more powerful means to tackle crime, and better population control.

National governments, international governmental bodies and interstate agencies all want to kill cash, so as to close the loop on their control over populations. Because cash is the only true peer-to-peer payment vector, killing cash means a citizen has nowhere to hide from governmental control. This explains why, as the cash-killing pressure grows from governments, alternate currencies such as bitcoins continue to develop: citizens who see governmental hyper-power as a threat to their liberties move to the only place where they can be left alone. Bitcoin News published a 1999 interview (3) of economist Milton Friedman, broaching the question of civil liberties: “The Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that is missing, but will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash: a method by which on the Internet you can transfer funds from an A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A. The way in which I can take a $20 and hand it over to you and there is no record of where it came from”.  Many people today see crypto-currency not as a way to commit crimes, but as a way to fight back on government control.

In all parts of the world, states struggle to acquire more control. Many Asian, South American and African states, sometimes dubbed “failed states” by the West, have very limited or non-existent control over their citizens and territory. Greece has no cadaster, many African countries have no civil registries, and almost half the world has only an approximate idea of the size of their own population. But in the West, a State knows each of its citizens and residents by name, where they live, where they work, what they drive, the names of their children, the size of their house, etc. To that existing data repository, States can add potential data: data which can be easily accessed through online investigation: whom they call (with phone registers), whom they do business with (with banking registers), where they go (cell phone tracking), etc.

But cash eludes their control, because it doesn’t rely on banks or any other intermediary. Killing cash will be the ultimate step of state control. Payment-method specialized website LTP reports (4): “Increasingly, government agencies are also feeling the need to shift to modern payment processing tools and techniques and leave the traditional formats behind. A number of companies are fulfilling the government’s needs through their payment rails”.

Public entities claim to be fighting cash, in order to better protect their citizens, but there is far more to it.  If the advantages and disadvantages of cash are weighed from a citizen’s point of view, maintaining the existence of cash is obviously preferable: while other types of payment can be practical according to circumstances, why deprive oneself of an option which we use every day? But that same balance from a state’s or superstate’s perspective is very different. Be it fiscal agencies, or law enforcement, or cyber-surveillance, governmental bodies yearn to reign every citizen in the world -not just their own – into the electronic world, where national borders no longer exist and civil rights to privacy can be easily and discretely hacked into. They will apply to the 0.01 % of people who use cash for criminal and terrorist activities, and for the 99.99% of law-abiding citizens who don’t.

1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/19/cash-is-dying-and-wont-be-missed/

2) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37983834

3) https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-bill-rights/

4) https://letstalkpayments.com/payment-processing-companies-serving-the-government/

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