"Elections are coming and the Wage Union can bring a fundamental change"

Talking to Alfahir.hu, foreign policy analyst and journalist Dragoş Tîrnoveanu revealed how Transylvanian people reacted to the wage union idea.

Romania’s campaign for a European wage union was launched  early this month. What is your experience so far? Do you think it will be difficult to collect the necessary statements of support?

I think we all knew that this initiative was not going to be easy but our first Romanian campaign tour ended on a positive note: our messages were received well, the people and the media were both interested in the matter. It was a very interesting experience because we met people with very different backgrounds and political affiliations, who were nonetheless willing to have an honest discussion about the issue. Their attitude definitely gives me the hope that we will be able to collect the necessary number of statements of support.

You began your tour in Transylvania which, to say the least, is a sensitive area in terms of Hungarian-Romanian relations. Why did you start there and how did the local people respond to the wage union initiative?

I would never use the term “sensitive” at all. I think that Transylvanian people, regardless of their ethnicity, respect each other and lead just as normal a life as in any other regions of Romania or Europe.
Actually, the common fate and common experience of Eastern and Central European people forms a central element of the initiative; they are seeking the way how to voice their demand for a change together. I can tell you that the message got a very positive reception both among the population and the media as well. For example, when I was talking to people in Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc), I felt they were genuinely open and interested in the problem we identified. They didn’t need much persuasion to submit their statement of support. Some of them told us how their grandchildren went to work in Western Europe and they could not really see them more than once a year.

Dragoş Tîrnoveanu and Márton Gyöngyösi

How did Romania’s political parties and NGOs react to your campaign launch? What is their take on the fact that you cooperate with a Hungarian right-wing political party?

During our tour, both Márton Gyöngyösi and I often emphasized this was much rather a civic initiative than a political one. As long as they respect the guidelines laid down in our manifesto, we are open to work with all political forces wanting to help eliminate the wage inequality. “In this case, it does not matter who is on the right or the left of the political spectrum. What matters is what we can do to improve our quality of life and the future of the next generations.” For example, the Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare) branch of CNSLR-Frăția (National Alliance of Free Trade Unions in Romania - Fraternity) backs our efforts – it is one of the significant Romanian trade unions whose support we hope for in the long run.

How about the Romanian media? How interested were they in the campaign, and how did they react to your cooperation with Jobbik?

I was pleasantly surprised to see how correct and objective most of the press reports were. I was especially happy that most local media articles remained objective and did not go into issues with much more political ramifications. As far as my cooperation with Jobbik is concerned, let me assert something that I already said in many rallies and press conferences: I don’t want to be a member of a generation where everybody lives in their own closed media and information bubble and only consumes such news and social media content that confirms their own political and social views because it would just breed more alienation and division, especially along political ideologies. Of course, I don’t fully agree with Jobbik’s policies and agenda in all matters but the bottom line is that we can have a constructive dialogue and focus on the issues we agree on. The east-west economic inequality is such an issue and I hope that we can continue working with all of our partners (from other areas than Eastern Central Europe as well) to find a solution for it.


Alfahír.hu - Jobbik.com


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