By Álvaro Peñas
Interview with Claudiu Târziu, journalist, author and editor. Co-president of AUR party, Romania’s fourth largest political force, and member of the Senate since December 2020.
What is your position on the current crisis in the Romanian government?
Our political crisis was caused by a series of misunderstandings in the so-called Centre-Right (actually, Leftist) coalition, with the full support of President Iohannis. Given the fact that we are facing a public health crisis, but also an energy and economic crisis, it was the most inappropriate time for the parties in the government to fight for power. Yet, it happened. This whole situation showed us how distant are the political parties from the public agenda.
Meanwhile, a new governing coalition is in power, made up of parties that, until a few weeks ago, were in antagonistic, diametrically opposed positions. The leaders of the National Liberal Party (PNL) have stated countless times that they will never form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (PSD). Moreover, Florin Cîțu, the National Liberal Party president and the former prime minister of Romania, declared that anyone who negotiates or talks with PSD is “an enemy of the Romanian people”. Quite strange, I would say. Today, these two parties are governing Romania together, as partners. In their coalition, they have attracted, once again, the ethnic organization of the Hungarian minority – UDMR.
There is no – let’s say, doctrinal – compatibility between the parties from the new coalition. The only thing that unites these parties is the strong and so obvious desire to share the budgetary resources and European money that will come under the Recovery and Resilience Plan to its own friends.
Your party was a big surprise in last year’s elections, in what you described as a “conservative revolution”. What is the key to its success?
We talked about topics that were interesting for the Romanian people, those particular topics ignored by other political parties. If the political system in Romania had worked, if the old parties had really represented the true interests of the citizens, my colleagues and I would not have had the reasons to enter politics.
I am a writer and journalist, but I also have experience in cultural entrepreneurship. Those are my main interests and passions and I would have loved to continue to write and publish. Nevertheless, we lived for 30 years in a façade democracy, in which the things that happen behind the scenes matter more than those things that happen on the stage.
The old parties acted as they represent the interests of the people, but it was all a bad joke. In fact, they built a kind of structures, through which a group of people drained the public resources and parasitized the democratic institutions. This has outraged many of us. Our own conclusion was that we must put our personal interests in the background and get deeply involved in politics.
From the team that founded the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) at the end of 2019, almost no one has been involved politically before. We started as a small movement, but eager to break the old parties “cartel”. As a newly established movement with no financial connections, our resources were very limited. For this reason, our campaign focused mainly on the use of social networks. We did not work according to a “classic” recipe. We worked with the only things we had at our disposal. Those who found out about us realized that we are people just like them, with no political experience, but honest in what we do. For those who voted for us, we were completely different from the “old” politicians.
One of AUR’s strong points has been the fight against the politics of COVID-19. What is your position in the face of increasingly restrictive measures?
The fact that this virus is a great challenge for our health systems does not mean that we must give up democracy and the rule of law. The epidemic crisis does not nullify democracy. It is an exceptional situation, which requires unusual measures. However, these measures must comply with the Constitution. On countless times, the Constitution and the laws have been broken. A small group of unelected officials took strange measures – such as banning traffic at night or closing cemeteries.
The “green certificate” is in fact a segregation passport that has no role in fighting the virus. It is a means of control incompatible with a free and democratic society. This “document” divides and foes society. It seems just a tool to impose vaccination, against the will of large categories of citizens. You have to “choose” between vaccination or losing your job, which is awful.
We strongly oppose the introduction of the “green certificate”. We are concerned that many European countries have introduced it. It seems that the whole continent is slipping into a new kind of totalitarianism. As Eastern Europeans, we are aware what it means to live in a communist dictatorship, in which our fundamental rights do not matter, and the interests of the state always take precedence. We do not want this to repeat in another form, with another justification.
We are in favor of the Constitution, the civil rights and freedoms. We believe that vaccination is and needs to remain an individual option, a free one, not a result of emotional blackmail or the economic pressure exerted by an abusive power.
In Spain, AUR was the second most voted party by Romanians in December, something that also happened in other European countries. Do you think this is due to what many Romanians are seeing in Western Europe, i.e. feminism, LGBTQ and multiculturalism?
Probably that too, though I do not think that was the main reason. Yes, many Romanians living and working in Western European countries have seen the growing influence of cultural Marxism in these societies.
AUR is a party that opposes LGBT propaganda, same-sex marriage and the promotion of so-called gender theory in schools. We also oppose illegal immigration, especially from cultural spaces that are not compatible with our European and Christian culture.
However, I believe that Romanians in Spain and other Western countries voted for us for the same reason that those in the country voted for us: the revolt against a corrupt political and economic system. Romanians working abroad are perhaps more active, more informed, and more courageous. Although they had to leave Romania due to the lack of opportunities and perspectives, they did not completely lose hope. Things can change for the better in our country as well. They see how things are working in Western societies and they would surely like the same to happen in Romania, to have access to quality health and education services, to be able to live decently. I think that our party had its parliamentary success for two important reasons: first, it truly supports the defense of our national identity and culture, and second, it fights against the oligarchy of the old parties.
In this regard, what do you think of the Commission’s continued threats against Hungary and Poland for refusing to accept gender ideology, and do you think this could happen to Romania, where there is strong opposition in society and in the Orthodox Church to this ideology?
What the European Commission is doing regarding Poland and Hungary is an outrageous abuse that should make every citizen and every EU state think. It is a blackmail and a punishment. Those two countries` citizens have chosen conservative and patriotic political forces, with an agenda that is often incompatible with the globalist socialism promoted by the pseudo-elites in Brussels. What the Commission and Mrs. von der Leyen are doing is beyond any rule.
For us, it is obvious: there is a political struggle between politicians with very different perspectives on the future of Europe and on the rule of the nation-states. The parties now leading Poland and Hungary want a Europe of free and strong nations, just like us.
The bureaucrats in Brussels want an empire, in which nation-states have an insignificant role and lose all their attributes as sovereign states. For us, the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, such thing is unacceptable! The European Community and, subsequently, the EU are the creation of the states. The Member States signed the European treaties. No one has given a blank mandate or unlimited powers to the Commission or any other European institution. We do not believe that Poland and Hungary need to “put in order”. The Commission and Mrs. von der Leyen are acting as if they have superior authority over the states, which is very wrong!
So far, obedient politicians ruled Romania. Until AUR, no party dared to make the slightest criticism of the European integration process. Now things are really changing. More and more citizens understand that not everything that comes from Brussels is good for us. Those who are critical of integration or have a different perspective on what European integration should look like have the same right regarding political representation.
Our party is not against European integration, as the old corrupt parties accuse us, but we are against a federal Europe. We want a new Europe, of sovereign and strong nations!
The EU is very belligerent on these issues but very soft in the face of crises such as the one caused by Belarus. What do you think of the migration crisis unfolding on the Polish and Lithuanian borders?
It seems that forces outside the EU created this new crisis. Probably Russia or at least with its cooperation. Migrants from Middle East have no way to reach a land route in Belarus. They arrived there by planes. Someone put them on those planes. Deliberately. European officials have spoken out sharply in this regard. Apart from the statements, we have not seen any actual human aid to Poland and Lithuania.
EU borders, both land and sea, need to be strengthened. If anyone can enter the EU illegally, it means that the Member States do not exercise real control over their territories. If the European Union does not come up with a strategy and real actions, then it will be the role of states to do it individually, in order for them to protect their national borders.
Next December, in Warsaw, a meeting of conservative groups will be held to form a new European group after the July declaration promoted by Orbán, Morawiecki and Salvini. AUR was in favour of this declaration, are you going to join this group? What is your idea of Europe?
We will definitely take steps to find ourselves in this new and larger group, if it becomes a reality. Mainly, we see ourselves in the same political group to which parties such as Law and Justice, VOX or Fratelli belong or will belong. We are in favor of the unity of all the patriotic and conservative parties from across Europe.
We believe that the European project must remain one of cooperation between nation states. We strongly oppose the idea of federalization and the concept of building a super-state that empties national states of sovereignty and competences. We surely do not want a bureaucratic Leviathan that escapes democratic control of states and citizens. The European Union is a bureaucratic, elitist organization, and it has a more and more consistent democratic deficit today.
I have serious doubts that this Europe today will ever be a “functional democracy”. For now, we only have an institutional superstructure that pretends to be democratic. In reality, the legitimacy of the European institutions lies with the Member States, which have delegated certain powers to those institutions in a number of well-defined areas.
As I said before, we are for political, economic, and cultural cooperation between European states. We want a Europe of nation-states that cooperate at home and act as closely as possible in relation to the outside, to the rest of the world.
Vir: El Correo de España