Not quite those Germans.
What’s happening in Romania, then? Handelsblatt reports. It’s time to pick a president, and the Social Democratic candidate looks in a strong position – although he finished second by a few points in the first round of the French-style presidential election, he’s got promises of support from several other parties, notably the Liberals and the Hungarian minority.
Fascinatingly, though, as part of the agreement with these groups, he’s promised to appoint the independent mayor of Sibiu – Hermannstadt in German – as prime minister. That’ll be one Klaus Johannis. Yes; he’s a Transylvanian German, the first time that a member of this minority will head the government. Of course, Romania has a hell of a lot of problems; the economy’s going to shrink between 7.5 and 8 per cent this year, there’s an IMF requirement to cut the public sector deficit to 7.3 per cent of GDP at the same time (ah, the IMF – never an institution to risk popularity by changing its ideas), and the country’s elite is full of old spooks from the Ceaucescu years.
But I can’t help but be amazed at the idea of a Romanian government that includes the Hungarians and is headed by a German, within 20 years of the revolution and 5 years of the CIA operating a secret jail in the suburbs of Bucharest. Well – non- or quasi-revolution might be more like it, which just adds force to the point. There are other reasons to be cheerful; HaBa also points out that there is some â‚¬32bn in EU funding heading that way in the next few years, which ought to help. If you want an inspiring European story, it’s right there.
However, they also note that the Renault Logan car factory accounts for 2 per cent of GDP and 15 per cent of net exports. I guess they can’t really be criticised for pinning their hopes on export-led growth when the UK and Germany are doing exactly that.