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The Romanians around the world
The word diaspora is a compound made of two Grek words, dia, about, across and spora, dispersion. Diaspora has become a portmanteau word for all the communities who ended up living outside the borders of their countries of origin. As for the Romanians, 2021 saw a record high in terms of population exodus figure for the last 30 years. On paper, living outside the country are roughly 5.8 million Romanians. However, a different line of research points to 9 million. The number of Romanians leaving abroad cannot be clearly accounted for, because most of them do not have legal documents or do not declare their residence. Italy is the top country among Romanians' residence options. Spain and Germany follow suit, in descending order. Many other Romanians live in the United States, Great Britain, Portugal, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. According to their age brackets, most of them are 25 to 45 years old.
But why this exodus? What becomes of those who leave? What are the implications of their leaving, for Romania? We sat down and spoke about the Romanian diaspora with Claudiu Tarziu. A former journalist, Claudiu Tarziu is, at the moment, a senator for the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, an opposition party. Mr Tarziu is the president of the Commission on Romanians Around the World.
"Obviously, all those who leave Romania to work abroad do that for a better pay and for better living conditions. The Romanians are not happy with what they are being offered, career-wise and in terms of personal and family development opportunities. It is absolutely clear Romania is unable for offer jobs for which the pay range lives up to the level of specialization they might need, and is also unable to offer jobs for the unskilled people. There are a couple of areas where things have been sorted out a little bit, and I'm speaking about constructions and farming, but even these sectors have seen a setback as of late. In agriculture there still are big problems because we're dependent on the weather outside, on severe weather changes, on what God gets round to giving us and we do not have irrigation systems, we do not have the ability to till the land at the highest professional standards, there are many other reasons for that. Also, the construction sector is ailing because construction materials have seen price hikes (also because of the war in Ukraine, but not only because of that) prices increased because of the liberalization in energy prices and that is how we have seen a setback in those areas where things kind of got sorted out and where profit could still be obtained, so better salaries could be offered. That is why Romanians leave, mainly because the pay range fails to meet their expectations, which are legitimate, I daresay, but not only because of that, but also because of the living standards in Romania, in their broader acceptation. I'm speaking about personal safety in the street, the red tape, the education and the healthcare system. "
What do the Romanians living abroad lack and what does the Romanian state do to bring them back?
Senator Claudiu Tarziu:
"What do Romanians living abroad miss? What do they most miss? First of all, they miss the families of those who left the country, secondly, they miss a protection offered by the Romanian state, a protection they are entitled to, as bearers of Romanian citizenship. The Romanian state does not have, unfortunately, a strategy for the Romanians living outside the country's borders, temporarily or permanently, neither does it have a strategy to help the Romanians living in the historical communities or the Romanians in the economic exile ( the so-called diaspora), or the Romanians from abroad who want to return to Romania, to do that, nor do they have a strategy for those who want to remain abroad and preserve their national identity and protect their rights and freedoms there where they live. The Romanian state seems to have abandoned those Romanians, all of them, roughly 6 million Romanians are officially registered as having left Romania and having their domicile or residence abroad, specifically, one million Romanians with their domicile abroad and more than 5 million Romanians with a foreign residence, but they may not have official registration, there is more of them with no legal documents, just as the State Secretary with the Department for the Relation with the Romanians Abroad, there are 8 million of them. In earnest, the Romanian state does not seem to be interested in those Romanians living outside its borders, it offers them only palliatives. A couple of cultural programmes, here and there, of very little value, several official visits of high-ranking dignitaries every now and then, but apart from that, absolutely nothing. Those Romanians are contacted only during election campaigns, when the parties are in need of their electoral support. It is something inconceivable and it must change, as fast as possible. "
The Romanians' exodus also means, by default, the exodus of highly-skilled professional categories we are now forced to import from other states.
Senator Claudiu Tarziu:
"In order to help the Romanians who want to return to the country, not only a couple of measures need to be taken, but whole packages of measures. A true national strategy is needed to that effect, since it will have to target all aspects of the social life, not a mere one or two of them. We cannot bring back our brothers living outside our country's borders (if they want to do that) unless we, in Romania, provide a climate which is fit for a dignified life. A climate which is appropriate for everyone's personal development, so they can have a new family, so the newborns and the infants can have access to the best educational standards. So there's a lot for us to change in Romania Romana and we also need to develop certain programs dedicated to Romanians outside the borders, whom we also need. It is not only them who need us, if they want to return to Romania, but it is also us who need them. " (EN)
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