George Simion, chairman of the Romanian patriotic party AUR: “With the Visegrád Group, we have the same history, the same interests and we will have the same future. We cannot rely on Germany, which now controls much of our internal and external affairs.”
At the Economic Forum in Karpacz, Lower Silesia, the Visegrád Post team met George Simion, the leader of the patriotic party AUR(Alianța pentru Unirea Românilor). The 34-year-old author and graduate of economics and history, who has recently become active in politics, made a name for himself in 2019 with a controversial action at the cemetery of Valea Uzului, which had led to new tensions between Hungarians and Romanians.
He declares that he is against the system, claims that he is a Christian and advocates a Greater Romania, i.e. the reunification of Romania and Moldova. He attacks the current Romanian regime, which he considers to be corrupt overall, head-on and does not hesitate to denounce the harmful role of the Romanian secret service, which is a real state within a state.
Ferenc Almássy asked George Simion about his opposition to the Covid measures, his vision of the Visegrád Group and the reasons why Romania is still not a member of the Schengen area.
Ferenc Almássy: Mr. Simion, thank you very much for this interview. You are the dominant figure or the leader of the Romanian party AUR, which caused a surprise in the last elections and recorded an unprecedented increase in votes: from 1.2% in the European elections two years ago, you suddenly rose to over 14% in 4 of the country’s 41 districts. You are now a member of the Romanian Parliament. All this seems to be linked to your opposition to the policies of the Romanian government, which seems to be at least one of the keys to your success.
George Simion:Yes, but that’s not just because of our freedom-loving attitude. Four pillars characterize the AUR line, and one of them is freedom. We are also fighting for the Christian faith, which is the foundation of European civilization. We fight for the national principle and for the family as the foundation of society. In Romania, the decline of the Christian Democratic Party PNȚ-CD ushered in a long period in which these values were not defended by any serious political force in parliament. We firmly reject the system, not in an anarchist spirit, but out of respect for the values we fight for and advocate.
Today, the globalists want us all to become the same, just like in the communist era: we should be deprived of our sexual identity, and any criterion that might distinguish us.
Everyone should be able to be what they want. But biologically, we can only be male or female. These are the only two sexes I know, and they owe their existence to God.
Due to our commitment to these values and in the absence of another political force positioned in this segment of patriotic, sovereign and conservative opinion, we received 10% of the vote in the December 2020 elections. But only 40% of the voters were informed about the existence of the AUR,
since we didn’t have access to TV. The post-communist, even totalitarian, system that controls Romania thought it would prevent us from crossing the threshold of parliamentary representation by keeping us away from television. But we’ve reached 10%, and some of the recent polls see us at 15%, others more at 20%, and our rise continues. This is due to the fact that there is no conservative and patriotic voice in Romanian politics – despite the way we are portrayed as extremists, neo-fascists or other designations.
We are ordinary Romanians who want to be part of the European Union – not a European federation, but an alliance between nations.
Ferenc Almássy: You used very clear words against your government.
George Simion:Yes, because this government has been the same for 30 years. In 1989 they killed Ceaușescu, took power and distributed the roles: “You, you will be called ‘the right’, you, you will be socialists, you, liberals, and you, a people’s party”; but they were still the same ones that Romania before the regime change through the one-party system and the Securitate [State Security Services under Ceaușescu – CoR.] Even today, they control everything and refuse to make other voices heard in Romanian society. And our problem is that the system tries to silence any dissenting voice.
Ferenc Almássy: I understand. On the other hand, you have the right to say everything you have just said publicly. You are not in prison, and you are not being attacked by the authorities to punish you for saying it.
George Simion:No, but we got a lot of fines.
We suffer from the oppression of a police state.
In the 2020 elections, during our struggle for democracy and freedom, they tried to compromise us. For example, they tried to make it look like I was driving without a driver’s license, so I had to publicly prove that I had a valid driver’s license. The Romanian Securitate is not dead – it has never disappeared, and it denies us the right to defend our values.
Ferenc Almássy: You told us that you are not against the EU, but for a Europe of nations. From this point of view, your speech is quite similar to the objectives of the Visegrád Four.
Ferenc Almássy: How do you see the Visegrád Group from a Romanian point of view?
George Simion: In my view, Romania made a big mistake when it refused to join the Visegrád Group. Together with Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, we would be in the right place.
We have the same history, the same interests, and we will have the same future. We cannot give Germany, which currently controls much of our foreign and domestic policy, a blank cheque, because Germany will always do business with Russia in the end. They were always friends, then enemies, then friends again, and so on.
We believe that we should pursue an independent policy – a policy as envisioned by Marshal Piłsudski in Poland in the interwar period under the name Intermarium Project. Today, this project is being revived under the name of the Three Seas Initiative. The countries in this area should cooperate more, because if we do not do that, we will disappear. We will be low-wage countries that only offer a market for Chinese and Western products.
Ferenc Almássy: Speaking of the Chinese, isn’t it worrying from your point of view that Central Europe – a region that also includes the countries of the Three Seas Initiative – is in danger of becoming a kind of buffer zone, for example between Germany and Russia or between the USA and China, for example? Aren’t we just puppets in the game of the great powers?
George Simion:They use us because we let them use us. Everything depends on the heads of state and the foreign policy vision they represent. From this point of view,
I must say that I admire, for example, the policies of Poland, and also – in some respects – those of the Orbán government, for their resistance to the dictates from Brussels – to this kind of cultural standardisation comparable to what was sought to be achieved in the Soviet era. Our nations are not there for that.
I believe that the European Union should remain a free trade area, an economic area united by freedom of movement and free trade. I don’t think it has to raise its own army or become a state or a superstate.
Ferenc Almássy: How do you see the future of the region against the backdrop of the Covid crisis? They are shown to be very hostile…
George Simion:No, we are not hostile to gags at all. We only defend ourselves against measures that are useless. For example, look at how we’re talking to each other right now. If we wear masks, it wouldn’t change anything. In Romania, however, we have long been forced to wear masks – even outdoors – although their effectiveness has never been proven.
They also tried – as in the communist era – to use fear to enforce certain measures such as forced admissions and vaccinations. They tried to make vaccination mandatory for certain categories of workers, e.B. in education and the public sector. We defend freedom of choice for all. No one knows better than me what is good for me: this is freedom – and this is what they are trying to abolish at the moment.
We do not deny the existence of this virus, but we claim that the damage it causes does not justify the paralysis of entire countries. Western countries may have enough financial reserves to afford it for two or three years, but we can’t afford it – any more than we can afford the Green Deal or this new mockery of a plan called Fit for 55. I would like to point out that even before this health crisis, an ever-worsening economic crisis was ruining our countries. Five million Romanians work abroad.
Ferenc Almássy: You also stress again and again that Romania should give more support to the Romanian diaspora, which is very numerous, especially in Europe. In the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., there are many Romanians who come to work – some of them have been living there for many years.
George Simion:You didn’t go to these countries for the sake of working. They work there because they were forced to leave Romania, because they were poor and could not make ends meet. That’s why they left. It is incomprehensible to me that the Romanian Government is buying 120 million vaccine doses for a population of 19 million people and paying over a billion euros for them, perhaps even more, because it does so in an opaque way. The amount of the expenses is not communicated to the people…
Ferenc Almássy: Not even for parliamentarians?
George Simion:Not even for parliamentarians. We have asked many questions in the context of parliamentary procedures and have not received an answer. It’s an open secret. If there is no transparency, how are people supposed to trust them? Well, people don’t trust them. That is why Romanians do not want to be vaccinated. We are trying to convince Romanians living abroad to come back and rebuild the country, but this is very difficult because no one is interested in economic growth or national sovereignty. All the government does is borrow from the IMF and the World Bank. This is not sustainable in the long run: sooner or later, the World Bank will ask us, for.B example, to give up our natural gas reserves without compensation.
The coronavirus crisis is therefore symptomatic for me of the state in which Romania is, which has been dominated by external forces for 30 years. We have destroyed our economy. We destroyed our factories. People have gone abroad because they don’t see a future in Romania.
That’s why Romanians support us, and that’s why we’re not like those ordinary politicians who tell lies. We say what everyone can see. These people who claim to govern us don’t even govern themselves.
Ferenc Almássy: Romania has been in the EU for 14 years, and you still haven’t joined the Schengen area. Why is that? It is a relatively safe country with well-guarded borders. Could it be because of the port of Constanța, which threatens many interests, or for other reasons? In your opinion, should Romania join the Schengen area?
George Simion:Romania must have the opportunity to flourish economically, and we are denied access to the Schengen area.
In the event of accession, Constanța would, of course, pocket the revenue that is currently raining down on Rotterdam, and as long as we refuse to sell Constanța, we will not be allowed into the Schengen area. We have been told that we will live in a common space, in a Union that cares for everyone, but we, the poorest nations of that Union, do not benefit from it in a fair way.
Ferenc Almássy: My last question relates to the Hungarian minority in Romania: it is a very large minority.
George Simion:5% of the population, yes.
Ferenc Almássy: This minority has long been a bone of contention that leads to tensions. How do you see the future of cooperation between Romanian citizens and Romanian citizens of Hungarian descent?
George Simion:First of all, I see Bucharest and Budapest working together and cooperating – like two independent countries. Hungarians with Romanian citizenship are very important to us. In the Romanian Parliament, we have ethnically Hungarian deputies. We respect them, and we want to build a common future with them.
The tensions that have arisen over the years have been the result of political provocations. We believe that the integration of Hungarian speakers into Romanian society needs to be improved. We need to help them find work, even though they have a poor command of the Romanian language – which the UDMR [Democratic Union of magyars in Romania, or Hungarian RMDSZ, the main party of the Hungarian minority – TheDR.] has long prevented. This is a real problem for them, as it makes it impossible for them to integrate into the labour market. But they must also have the opportunity to preserve their identity: to learn their mother tongue, to visit their churches, to celebrate their traditional festivals, as do the Hungarian citizens who belong to the Romanian minority in Hungary. We ourselves have similar problems with certain countries – such as Serbia and Ukraine – that do not respect the right of national minorities to use their own language, practice their own religion, etc. I believe that all States should respect the specificities of all ethnic groups living on their territory.
And I believe that Romania is doing that. Every ethnic group is entitled to at least one MP – and they are 18 in total! In my opinion, the only problematic party is the UDMR, which is a ghetto in the middle of the Romanian political scene, while we citizens of Hungarian ethnicity should have in each of the parliamentary factions under the colors of all parties, instead of accommodating them all in one ethnic party. Most Romanian citizens of Hungarian descent live in the districts of Covasna and Harghita – whose development and prosperity we should support. The leaders of the UDMR ethnic party are nothing more than the Hungarian-speaking part of the corrupt political class that has controlled Romania for 30 years. They have worked with the government and have been involved in many dirty deals, such as deforestation of our land through illegal logging.