1. What are your expectations/hopes from these elections?
My expectations for these elections would be to have a proper discussion, inside Romania, about European affairs and the need for stronger European integration on topics such as foreign policy, climate change and migration. I would hope the easy but empty anti-European populism is kept at bay in a country, which has mostly benefited from being inside the EU.
I would like to see the discussion on the future of Europe from the angle of the EU 2050 strategy, which is the EU’s new decarbonisation project or the new ‘Coal and Steel Community’ project. Mitigating climate change will require a profound transformation of all sectors and I would like my fellow Romanians to be aware that their future is at stake. I am saddened to say, climate change does not seem to be talked about at all in Romania.
In Brussels on the other hand most discussions are about innovation, de-carbonisation and the need to accelerate our transformation and it is a pitty Romania is barely aware of this debate which is extremely relevant and will ultimately be voting on criteria which are not EU competences (taxes, home and justice, etc.).
2. Do you/people in your member state still have faith in the EU to deliver?
Yes, trust in the EU continues to rank very high in Romania, despite of attempts for this trust to be distorted and instrumentalised in a weak eurosceptic movement. Given the member state’s history, it is not unusual for trust in the EU to be higher than in the member state’s own institutions. At the same time, the feeling of having joined on “second class citizens” status is becoming stronger and stronger, mostly because of the unfair Schengen refusal, despite Romania having met all the criteria in 2011. There have also been unchecked instances of hate speech and discrimination which have left many Romanian feeling like there is still a lot for the EU to do for them.
My hope is that Romania’s current hold of the rotating EU Council Presidency will help to strengthen the country’s perceived status abroad as well as consolidate our diplomacy, while at the same time informing citizens at home about the EU. This can only be a win-win !
3. Will you be voting? If so, who for (if you are willing to say)?
I am still uncertain whether I will get to vote in these elections. For one, I may be abroad and unfortunately Romania requires the residency of the MS where you plan to vote – but residence permits are not offered all throughout the EU because the right to reside freely in another MS is granted through the EU Treaties. For this reason, countries such as France do not always issue residence permits. In this regard, this conditioning comes at odds with several rights enshrined in EU citizenship.
In the last elections I voted from Warsaw and in the ones before that from Paris. In both instances I was a student in those respective cities and I was not asked for a residence permit.
I would like to vote but I have not yet made up my mind, I will have to see whether any parties have a political offer than is compatible with my values.
4. Tell us some very brief persona/biographical details about yourself?
I am a mobile EU citizen, with an academic background In migration studies and climate change, currently working on transitioning the EU towards a low carbon economy. In the previous elections I competed to become a youth candidate for one of the parties in Romania. The competition was sadly canceled by the respective party right before its final phase.