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European Union: not thinking about tomorrow because I am afraid of today

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This is not an academic paper. This is just an opinion. When I am writing about my own country I believe that I have a privileged position: I do not have to use quotes from official documents  or newspapers, instead I must transfer my own experience into words and ideas.

The wounds of the past

Romania 1989 revolution

At the end of 1989 Romania faced a violent crisis. In national and international media this crisis is described as being a revolution. It was a messy, bloody and violent moment. During those days, regular people sacrificed their lives for ideas like democracy and freedom. 20 years apart, Romanians are asking themselves: What happened in the meantime? How and when we managed to sabotage our society and the entire system?

If you truly want to understand the current concerns of the Romanian society there is a rapid way to do it: use public transport. The majority of conversations about the current situation of our society are concentrated around words and expressions like: corruption; I do not trust them; I hope that he is the lesser evil. Many Romanians are feeling powerless. They feel that the odds are always against them, they believe that the government forsaken them. And they are entitled to feel this way: the minimum wage is around 190 euros and this is not enough, especially if you are living in a big city like Bucharest.

We had a dream…

After 1989 Romania had two major objectives: to be accepted in NATO and to become a member of the European Union. After many years, negotiations and reforms we managed to achieve both of them (NATO accepted us in 2004 and the European Union in 2007). Now it feels that we do not have another compass for the future, a blueprint for the next 20-30 years and a society which does not have a strategic mindset will eventually collapse.

Romania is a small country with small military capabilities and a skinny soft power architecture. We like it or not, it is quite difficult for us to impose our vision abroad. NATO and EU membership boosted this position but until this moment Romania used these leveraged positions not too many times. I would like to offer you an example here. One of the many advantages offered by the EU membership position are the European funds. You can use them for everything: from education to infrastructure and cultural activities. There are good projects and ideas which were crafted using European money. Projects like Roma professionals in the medical field (during this project young ethnic students with excellent academic results received a scholarship) are offering a temporary boost for the society, but this is not good enough. We are wasting European money. There are examples of organizations which are writing European projects like a fire sale. One of the biggest problems in this area is the lack of accountability and transparency. When there is no real accountability corruption spreads like wild fire.

The European Union offered many positive things for Romania. Think about the Erasmus Programme, or about the fact that you can travel without a passport: small or big things, they all improved our lives. The biggest issue is that we cannot truly understand what European citizenship means because we still need to learn what democracy is. For the majority of the population the hardships of the present are too heavy to think about something else, to try to understand things like active citizenship, democracy or social responsibility.

Democracy does not come with the right to take what you want when you want it. In 1989 people died not for a new law of the jungle, they fought and died for something different. In 2007 the EU accepted us – the promised land was here finally. We used our freedoms and invaded Western Europe: this is a natural thing, people are moving across the borders in order to shape a new living standard for them and their families.

and in our quest for it we lost ourselves

The are is a quote about Romanians. It sounds like: far too many Romanians are living for pleasure rather for rights. The pleasure to vote a certain politician because his staff offered you as a bribe a bucket and a bread, rather than the right to vote for somebody who has a political platform and a real vision. The pleasure to mock a police officer after you hit somebody and you are released because you do not represent a public menace.

Romania has two sides and is difficult to say that the European membership offered us only positive or only negative things. Like any other thing from our world the perspective always matters. At the end of the day we should focus more on us, as a society in order to improve our social skills as a community. You can be a community without being a nation but you cannot be a nation without being a community.

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Europe

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?

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malaga andalusia spain

There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?

Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?

Spanish cities where to live cheap and well

In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.

The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries. 

In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run. 

Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors

I have already decided on the place. Now what?

Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?

Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.

To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.

And remember: a move is always a new beginning.

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Holiday in Italy: choose Florence for a break in the winter

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Italy florence

Florence is one of the most visited Italian cities, with over 15,4 million tourists visiting the city each year. Located in the heart of the Tuscany region, this beautiful city breathes history, life and culture among its streets. If you are looking for the perfect location for your next winter holidays, then you should look no further, Florence is the perfect destination for you.

Enjoying the best cuisine

Florence is one of the cities with the richer gastronomy in the world. From traditional Italian cuisine to exquisite wines, the food in this city have everything you may wish for in order to please your palate.  With so many options available, you may be wondering where to eat in Florence. Food critics recommend that you check out the following options during your visit to Florence: 

  • Traditional Italian cuisine: visiting Florence and not tasting original Italian cuisine would be considered blasphemous by many.  Italy has one of the most delicious gastronomies in the world, and in Florence you will be able to taste it at its finest with local ingredients. Restaurants like La Chiostrina or Il Rosmarino will allow you to rediscover Italy by its traditional food.
  • Tasting the local wine: wines from the Tuscany region are famous worldwide as the best in the market, making this region the Mecca of wine lovers. During your visit to Florence you will be able to taste those deliquescent wines in restaurants such as Olio Restaurant or Villa Pitiana Restaurant, or taste it on places dedicated exclusively to wine such as Enoteca Obsequium Firenze or L’Enoteca Sandro Soltani.
  • International cuisine: if you like international cuisine, then you are on luck. The best chefs around the globe have restaurants on Florence. This means that you will be able to taste flavours from all the world without having to leave the city. For example,  you can visit the restaurant El Inca for a taste of Peruvian food, restaurant Com Saigon for genuine Vietnamese cuisine, restaurant Ararat for Armenian and Georgian traditional food, or Dim Sum for refined Chinese cuisine. Discover the world by trying the taste of these countries’ traditional flavours.
  • Taste original gelato: gelatos are the ice cream predecessors, and they have been one of Italy’s culinary specialties for centuries . This traditional Italian cold dessert is similar to ice cream, but has less fat and less added sugar. You will be able to enjoy this amazing treat on the many gelaterias around Florence streets, such as Gelateria Edoardo or Gelateria Dei Neri.
  • Tapas and Street food: these are excellent alternatives if you are looking to make a simple meal with your family. You will be able to enjoy these small dishes in places like Italian Tapas or Rivalta Cafe.
  • Modern cuisine: you can taste the most modern and alternative cuisine in the world in Florence. Restaurants like Alla Torre De’ Rossi or Winter Garden by Caino will bring to your table the sophistication the more delicate palates crave. 

Discover Florence’s hidden gems

Florence is a city with a lot of monuments and museums to discover. However, most people that visit the city tend to focus only on the main monuments of the city, such as Campanile di Giotto or Palazzo Vecchio o della Signoria, and the restaurants near those. Because of that, if you want to experience Florence to its fullest, we recommend you rent a bike

Discovering Florence by bike will grant you access to places away from the mainstream crowds,  such as the Andrea del Sarto Museum (dedicated to this amazing Italian painter) or the beautiful Ospedale degli Innocenti (a 17th-century home for abandoned children which includes some amazing pieces of art done by renowned artists like Botticelli). These are really stunning places you would miss if you stick to the traditional tourist route, causing you a lot of regrets over the missed chance. 

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Working & Travelling In Greece

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Greece is a fantastic destination for many people, and for a number of different reasons. It you are keen to see some of the islands and soak up the sun, then you are in for a truly luxurious and paradisiacal time indeed. Similarly, if you just want to spend some time in Athens and see the major sights, then you will come away feeling refreshed and full of vigour from the sheer history and culture that surrounds you. But Greece is also a great place to consider if you are keen to work and travel at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities which you can grab there, and it is a perfect setting if you are a freelancer looking to work on the go. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might want to consider when you are thinking about working and travelling in Greece.

Your Itinerary

Greece Beach

Even if you plan to somewhat move around at leisure, you will probably still find it useful to have some kind of itinerary to work on. That will mean that that whole side of things has been taken care of, which won’t therefore be too much of a worry or a stress when you are trying to make the most of the time you have there. You can then work away, if you are freelancing, while also moving around as you have determined. You can always move away from this, and it is a good idea to have a kind of loose itinerary, but as long as you have one that is the main thing that matters. It will make working and travelling in Greece much easier and more likely to succeed.

The Technical Aspects

Because of the nature of working on the go, you will need to make sure that you have fully understood everything you need to do in order to keep your lifestyle working smoothly. That largely means looking into the more technical aspects of working on the go, which is something that you might find is easier than you would think. As long as you make a point of finding out how to sync contacts from iPhone to Mac so you can better keep in touch with people, and as long as you know what software you need to have to do your work, you should be able to travel the world and work as you please, so that is something to consider.

The Culture

Greece monument

You will probably find that Greek culture suits working very well, and it might be something that you want to think about in order to make sure that it is really the right place for you. It all depends on the nature of the work. For writers and other creatives, it could be the perfect backdrop, and you might feel that you simply never want to leave. However it is that you approach it, you can be sure that you are going to have a great time like this.

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