Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Few Thoughts on Romania's National Holiday (Dec 1)

Today, on Dec 1, Romania celebrates 95 years since the grand reunification of 1918.

Romania was not a brand new country when its provinces unified under a single national state in 1918, but rather a few old and profoundly connected cultural and linguistic spaces. Finalizing the overlaying of geographical boundaries over historical values and connections is the classic definition of the Romanian nation.

(Unfortunately it is not something Romania could have accomplished on its own, but this is another topic.)

Romania, to its credit and in spite of extreme external pressure, has sustained these connections through extraordinarily difficult times, from Nazism to communism and from totalitarianism to democracy. Kudos to Romania for this accomplishment.

Romania needs to step up and show that it is a mature nation by providing opportunities to its citizens. It is unacceptable that young Romanians think that they can get more accomplished overseas than at home. The value of being a Romanian needs to be demonstrated in Romania and not in a foreign country, except in very few cases.

Certainly the +3 millions of Romanians who emigrated during the past 20 years would argue that they had no rational choice and there are no arguments to defeat the reality that Romania has never, in its history, exported so many of its citizens (in such a nonchalant fashion).

The Romanian government and politicians' performance needs to be measured against a set of metrics that include not only the unemployment rate, tax rates, and GDP growth but also the retention rate of Romanian citizens (professionals and young, mostly) in Romania.

How is it possible for a nation to continue to remain viable and grow organically when 20% of its citizens want to not live within its borders? It is even more troubling to think about that given the severe demographic constraints faced by Romania.

Make Romania a desirable country to Romanians and Romania will be prosperous. There cannot be a unified country with accelerating divisions between what its citizens want and what the government thinks that they want. If Romania succeeds at enabling Romanians to be successful at home then few Romanians will need to emigrate and Romania will become stronger than ever.

And, frankly, who does not want to see a strong Romania? La Multi Ani, Romania!

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