17:53    |    01/03/2012

Much ado about nothing

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An absurd conflict seems to have appeared recently between Romania and Serbia. I underline absurd because never during the history the two countries have registered significant frictions. More than that, there’s an old saying pointing at the fact that Romania has two neighboring friends: the Black Sea and Serbia. On the contrary, even during tough times Bucharest and Belgrade were keeping warm links. Sometime during WWI the then PM Bratianu was offered by the allies the north-western part of Serbia in order to join the combat forces. Bratianu denied the proposition, saying such thing is not possible.

Now the issue at stake is the Romanian minority in the neighboring country called Vlahi. Some of them complain not all their rights are being observed – issues like schools in own language, churches and so on. It’s not a question of suppression, but a question of European rights.

I am not going to talk about Serbia.

I am going to talk about Romania and Europe.

Romania is at fault to deny, even for a moment, Serbia’s right to Europe and to threaten to block its statute as candidate country. Maybe right now the neighboring country does not comply with all issues related to minorities’ rights, but it will be required to comply with them when joining the EU. So that a reaction of denial at this very moment is not supported by sound arguments, the more so that we are talking about friends.

On the other hand Europe was wrong. It seems to be judging with different measurements. By the time Romania was trying to become a candidate country in the ‘90s, Brussels was keeping us under pressure with the Hungarian minority issue and our voice was, at the time, even softer than Serbia’s. More than that, the foreign ministers of Sweden, Carl Bildt, and Germany, Guido Westerwelle, lashed at Bucharest, saying it lacks European spirit.

Honestly, I am disappointed by such a reaction. On the contrary, it seems their Excellencies are rather far away from the mentioned spirit.

One more thing: yesterday, just before the EU summit in Brussels, Romania and Serbia signed a protocol, agreeing on the issue of minorities’ rights. It seems the so-called conflict has been solved.

But the harsh words said lately will remain in our memory, as some people forget to look in the mirror from time to time, overwhelmed by their own importance.

Finally, it was much ado about nothing.