Ruling party in Bucharest accuses NATO, EU of financing a „parallel state” in Romania

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 12.6.2018 10:22

On 10 June, the chairman of the Social-Democrat Party (PSD) and the most powerful politician in Bucharest, Liviu Dragnea, accused the EU and NATO of supporting and financing a "parallel state" in Romania. Dragnea's remark came in the wake of a meeting organised on 9 June by the PSD and the government to demonstrate (in his own words) to the EU and NATO the popular support the government has, as opposed to the massive popular gatherings of Romanians protesting against PSD's unconstitutional attempts to decriminalize high-level corruption, which Dragnea went so far as to suggest they were photoshopped.

The PSD has also accused the European Commission of interfering in Romania's justice system after it criticised Bucharest's lax implementation of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on corruption and judiciary, while the Council of Europe called out the PSD-led government for stalling Romania's reforms in the justice sector and in the ongoing fight against corruption. The "parallel state" insinuation has been circulating for a while in the PSD-friendly media and political circles of Romania, and it seems to be an adaptation of the "deep state" notion originating from the right-wing media of the American establishment which suggests that there is some form of obscure and coordinated Obama-era bureaucratical resistance, which is deliberately hindering the work of the Trump administration. In Romania at least, such an insinuation has no rational substratum, as it was the PSD itself, or its political precursors, who have governed the country for the most part of the post-revolutionary era. But such accusations have a very powerful emotional appeal based on very peculiar occult connotations insinuating that there are some hidden forces working against the interests of Romanians.

Behind these appeals hides Dragnea's desire to escape justice, as he is currently being prosecuted for creating an organised crime group syphoning EU funds, an accusation backed by OLAF, the EU anti-fraud watchdog. In 2015, he was also convicted of electoral fraud. Dragnea's direct accusations against the value-based alliances and organisations Romania has long sought to be a part of showcase just how far he is willing to go in risking the well-being of Romanians to safeguard the criminal interests existing within PSD. His initiative of organizing mass meetings in favour of the sitting PSD government is setting up Romanians against one another, while intending to send to Western partners the message that he is the man running the show in Bucharest, in spite of Romania's foreign policy being the constitutional prerogative of the President. Dragnea's present accusations are very vague, and at the same time very telling in themselves, as he didn't single out a responsible individual or a country, but rather lashed out against "globalists", as fitting the current right-wing populist discourse. 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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