Comment: Romania’s biggest problem

A country is only and all about its people, says guest writer Ronnie Smith, who highlights  the Romanian brain – drain, with an increasing  number of smart Romanians, those who should move the country forward, going to live and work abroad, never to return to their home land. 

I recently stayed with friends of mine who left Romania a year ago and joined a network of people I know around the world who allow me to travel without worrying about the cost of accommodation. He is a surgeon, specializing in cancer treatment and she is a European director of one of the world’s major IT companies. Their two sons are remorselessly intelligent and talented and the four of them are some of the smartest people I have ever met.

Not long ago, another very good friend of mine had his ‘collaboration’ terminated by his very wealthy Romanian employer. Almost immediately he was head-hunted by a private airline company in the Middle East, to be their Finance Director, and he now lives in Lebanon. I was looking forward to visiting him in Beirut soon but I may postpone that for a while, until the locals take a break from their ongoing civil war.

I know many other Romanians who have moved, are in the process of moving or are seriously considering moving overseas to live and work. These people are not seasonal laborers working in foreign fields and building sites. They are doctors, engineers, professors and serious business professionals. They are being welcomed with open arms in the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Germany and many other countries that value them and the contribution they can make.

These are the people who build and maintain modern economies. These are the people – smart, educated, broad-minded and highly motivated – who carry their country forward with their skills, knowledge and experience.

They are not just going themselves; they are taking their children with them, to be educated and to build careers around the world. These people, hundreds of thousands of them and more every year, are being lost from Romania. They don’t care about the power struggle between the President and the Prime Minister. They are sick of vast sums of public money disappearing into the pockets of a few. They want to live and work in a society that values the law and creates real opportunities for themselves, their children and their grandchildren. They want to operate in an economic environment that encourages investment and growth in genuine business activity.

Trust me, these people are not coming back and Romania will suffer as a result, in the fields of health, education business development and economic growth, financial management at every level. Even in politics where vital new ideas are and will continue to be in very short supply going forward.

My own country suffered badly in this way during the 1950’s and 60’s. We called it the Scottish brain-drain, eventually creating a generational diaspora of Scots bigger than the population of the country itself. Romania doesn’t need this now; it needs every brain, every pair of hands, every new idea, and every scrap of positive energy in every area of human activity that it can find.

And this should be one of the biggest issues of the coming election because it is, in the long term, Romania’s most serious problem and there are no plans in place to fix it.

By Ronnie Smith, Guest Writer

Ronnie Smith is Scottish and now lives in Romania, working as a professional training business consultant and communication coach. He is also a teacher of political science, a political and social commentator and a writer of fiction. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Romania

(photo source:

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