Europe Day in Romania – same time, different place: a historic achievement and and a resounding crash
The small Transylvanian city revealed the beautiful face of a country which, for the past two years, has been largely producing bad news. It was an organizational success, a small victory in the PPE’s electoral start. There were well-designed and executed spontaneous « meet the crowd » scenes, and Sibiu dwellers applauded orderly and happily the likes of Merkel, Macron, Juncker, or Tusk.
TV stations broadcast gorgeous landscapes from a well-tended town.
On the other hand, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea tried to subvert the meeting by organizing a rally on Europe Day, a meeting soaked in patriotic music and wild proclamations of independence and sovereignty. This event didn’t go so well.
The Potemkin campaign set-up was sad, organized according to long outdated standards, with people tricked by priests into attending the manifestation and forcefully uploaded on party buses that spewed them out at the point of rally. We have all seen a pitifully manoeuvered mass, especially since people were booed by the local hosts of Iasi.
Dragnea was met with a very noisy counter-rally whose actors were determined to spoil PSD’s supporters’ fun. The myth that Iasi is a PSD stronghold was shattered. A small PR disaster.
First, PSD received another no-confidence vote from its own political family, administered by the socialist leaders headed by Timmermans, who also attended the Sibiu summit. PES leaders had a summit gathering, but refused to meet with any PSD leader. A greater political humiliation for the party is hard to imagine.
Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă was also bypassed. She was not invited to Sibiu. President Iohannis did not invite her and even her socialist counterparts turned a deaf ear to her calls. How could she then aspire to a family photo with EU leaders ?
She managed, however, to highlight the widening chasm between her and Dragnea, undertaking a Transylvanian tour alone, on the day of PSD’s rally in Iasi. She had the opportunity to hear just how much people despise PSD in Cluj where she was met with vigorous protests and booing.
Never in their life have PSD leaders been so harshly contested by the public while campaigning, wherever they chose to show up.
On the whole, 9 May 2019 was a day that brought some hope. After the Sibiu summit, European leaders, foreign journalists and ordinary people were perhaps convinced that our natural place is in the EU.
Europe’s enemies who abusively manipulate power in Bucharest are an unfortunate deviance. It can be corrected by the May 26th vote.
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