Friday, 10 May 2013

Europe Day and King's Day in Bucharest


A man stretches a giant flag of the European Union in front of Romania's parliament building in Bucharest on May 9, 2013. A private TV station installed the flag, weighing over 1,750 pounds and measuring 459 feet by 328 feet, to mark Europe Day. The stars were sewn on by hand after the giant flag was laid out at an aerodrome near Bucharest.   Romania joined the EU as part of its most recent expansion in 2007. -- Agence France-Presse

Europe Day? The first time I heard of it. 

As Dorothy Parker put it, what fresh hell is this?

10 May is King's Day - the anniversary of independence and of the arrival on Romanian soil of Prince Carol/Charles the future King Carol or Charles II. But this today passes by almost unnoticed in Romania. Romanians care about even Europe Day, it seems, more than they do independence or their monarchy. 

In 1880, at the Congress of Berlin, England, meaning Disraeli, wanted Romanians to be punished by losing territory for rebelling against their legitimate sovereign, the Sublime Porte. Gladstone, who was very anti-Turk, was on the opposition back benches. The European Great Powers agreed to do so by allowing Russia to annex three counties from Southern Bessarabia. Later, in 1916, going to war with England and France proved a disaster for Romania, although a very good thing for Germany,  who was thereby enabled to continue the war for two more years. So, at least, asserts Norman Stone.

It is unfair to blame England for Yalta and Europe could not be said to exist in 1945. There was nothing England could do to prevent Russia dominating Romania. I never tire of pointing out this obvious fact and Romanians never tire of ignoring me. Yet though they consider they were betrayed by England, who guaranteed their independence in 1939, and by America, they still look hopefully towards Europe. I suppose for fear of the alternative, if there is one.

Leaving aside the importance of independence, the monarchy and Europe, it is foolish to have 1 December as the Romanian National Day, not 10 May, as it was until Communism. December 1 is very cold, people. There is nothing to do on 1 December but go to the mountains, eat too much, drink too much and take a walk in the snow, which is what Romanians who can afford to go to the mountains do. There is, however, a better way.

I liked this from today's Nine O' Clock, the Romanian English language newspaper:

Approximately 18 per cent of Romanians now say monarchy is the best form of government, according to an April INSCOP survey conducted for Adevarul.  An interesting fact is that, while in the early 90s the monarchy was mostly supported by elderly people, old enough to have experienced the inter-war period or to whom it had been told in the family about the Royal House, in 2013 the supporters are made up of young people with ages between 18 and 35. Those who lived directly or via proxies the golden age of the monarchy have become fewer in the meantime, on the other hand the preference for monarchy has grown among young people, first of all because of their aversion to politicians. I don’t believe Romania will choose to go back to monarchy any time soon, but the complexity of the times we live in, the lack of predictability and security in everyday life certainly turn not just our sympathy, but also a well-deserved respect in the direction of the monarchy. Political deals, unkept promises, nepotism, political migration would disappear from Romania entirely if we had a King in the lead of this country, whose sole interest is the welfare of his nation, his private interest confounding itself with the general interest. Today we do have a King: Mihai I of Romania, a King who, by the power of his personal example of verticality, grace and humbleness, love of his nation and compatriots, continues to inspire new generations of Romanians who, although did not have the chance to live in a monarchic regime, are longing for it. Who else in the history of this country has had a commensurable achievement? A bon entendeurs salut…

1 comment:

  1. It should be Romania Day in Europe .