The miscalculations of Mr. Dragnea
Why did the PSD’s leader attend the Congress of the European Socialists in Madrid, anyway, where he was basically „slaughtered” and publicly humiliated by his own? What did he expect? What calculations did he make? Only Dragnea knows the answer to that question; the most we can do is speculate.
The first plausible explanation is that he was counting on unconditional solidarity from the socialists during the campaign for EU Parliament elections. They wouldn’t bad-mouth one of their own three months before the elections. You all have to accept me as I am; otherwise, we are all going to lose.
It is highly probable that his reasoning has been along these lines, especially since the EU socialists have been losing votes, and the PSD is one of the few political parties from this political family that is actually in power. It was a miscalculation. Frans Timmermans gave a clear public message: if you want to stay with us, you must respect our values.
We then saw him trying to arouse solidarity in the socialists, portraying himself as the victim of the political right which is destroying Europe, even obliterating its political enemies using the law enforcement institutions. No one took the bait. On the contrary, he found himself booed at the end of his speech; another miscalculation.
We can then suspect that Dragnea wanted to attenuate the negative impact generated by the overnight modifications made to the justice laws via emergency ordinances. That did not hold either. While Dragnea and Dancila were in Madrid, Frans Timmermans was already sending the premier a letter expressing his disappointment that the government issued another emergency ordinance on the justice laws without consulting with the Commission, as promised in the previous meeting. Timmermans either did not care for their arguments, or they haven’t convinced him. In any case, the PSD had, yet again, miscalculated.
We also know that the PSD leader went there to set the ground for the impending new emergency ordinance that would alter the criminal code, pointing to the Constitutional Court decisions. But he did not find much sympathy in this regard either. The Vice-President of the European Commission has drawn a red line when it comes to this subject: not one single modification, not one single action without prior consultation with the Commission’s specialists. Add this to the failure column as well.
Maybe Dragnea went there to exert some subtle blackmail after journalists friendly with the power filed a criminal complaint against Timmermans, and as the party appeared to have engaged in negotiations with Salvini’s sovereignists. Look at how much damage I can cause, and I will also switch camps after the elections, seems to have been the message. But this indeed appears to have angered the EU Socialists candidate for president of the EU Commission. So this too has backfired. No matter how much Dragnea denied having anything to do with the criminal complaint against Timmermans, nobody believed him.
The entire German press, but the right-wing in particular, amused themselves at how Timmermans found himself dragged into criminal proceedings by one of his own. Moreover, this has given fodder to the right, and a reason to answer in kind: OK, you are asking us to throw Viktor Orban overboard. But what are you doing with your little Orban in Bucharest? How are you getting along with the corrupt leader, the convicted felon who is destroying the judiciary and the rule of law in his country? To these, Timmermans appears to have no answers; Total impasse!
The final notable defeat in Madrid came from Corina Cretu’s refusal to run on the PSD’s lists for the EU elections, even though she was offered the number one spot and the promise to be nominated again for an EU Commissioner position. This, after Corina Cretu had to endure a wave of insults and derogatory remarks launched against her by Darius Valcov, Olguta Vasilescu, and by other PSD members set to denigrate her. Cretu appears to have refused, a sign that all is not well inside the party, quite the contrary. This has been another bullet shot towards Ponta that has backfired in PSD leader’s face.
Finally, it is entirely possible that Dragnea, at his advisor’s recommendations, went to Madrid to sing in the EU Socialists’ ear whatever empty promises would soften the ever increasing and hard to manage external pressure. Words cost nothing, isn’t it so? But once more, things did not play out as planned. In an interview for Politico, Timmermans sincerely doubted that Dragnea really believes what he says.
But the PSD leader did gain something: a little time. It is hard to believe that the EU Socialist would have proceeded to exclude the PSD form their political family in the middle of the EU elections campaign.
It is to be expected that, after the humiliation in Madrid, Dragnea will be drawing closer to Salvini’s sovereigns and will begin bad-mouthing Europe with more aplomb. The PSD leader knows that he has no future within the great European political families and that it is with the populists and with the eurosceptics that he has any chance to fool the electorate.
But it too, in the end, may prove to be a miscalculation. The Italian media is accusing the far-right party in Italy of benefiting from Russian funding. If Dragnea suddenly changes the camp, jumping into Salvini’s boat, he risks being seen as playing for team Moscow.
Therefore, the PSD leader returned to Bucharest with his feathers ruffled, and understandably so. Engaging with the EU leaders after a long period of absences was a flop of historic proportions. On Monday morning he appeared before journalists, with his mustache droopier than usual, stating, among other things, that he had informed the party of his participation at the Congress in Madrid.
Really, what did he say to the angry PSD members who once again found themselves booed in the streets by the people at home? I didn’t get anything from Timmermans and his socialists beholden to Soros, despite explaining to them clearly, in Romanian, as my hands were aching from so much English.
Traducerea: Ovidiu Harfas
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