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Paul Wood
Guest writer

Paul Wood read History at Queens’ College, Cambridge and studied to be a lawyer without having the stomach to become one. He worked in the British civil service and in the City of London. He fell in love with Romania while travelling through in 1990 and has lived and worked as a headhunter in Romania since 1998. After almost 14 years he is still fascinated by the most egregious capital in Europe. His favourite activities are talking, thinking, walking, reading and looking round churches. He collects friends and books. He is conservative but unconventional, a Catholic with a Protestant mind, a solitary extrovert and a political refugee from the global village. His blog is here.

Comment: Europe Day and King's Day in Bucharest

Guest Writer Paul Wood notices how Romanians seem to have forgotten about their other two celebrations on May 9, when Europe's Day is celebrated.

“A man stretches a giant flag of the European Union in front of Romania's parliament building in Bucharest on May 9, 2013. A private TV station installed the flag, weighing over 1,750 pounds and measuring 459 feet by 328 feet, to mark Europe Day. The stars were sewn on by hand after the giant flag was laid out at an aerodrome near Bucharest. Romania joined the EU as part of its most recent expansion in 2007". -- Agence France-Presse.

Europe Day? The first time I heard of it. As Dorothy Parker put it, what fresh hell is this?

May 10 is King's Day - the anniversary of independence and of the arrival on Romanian soil of Prince Carol/Charles the future King Carol or Charles II. But this today passes by almost unnoticed in Romania. Romanians care about Europe Day, it seems, even more than they do independence or their monarchy.

In 1880, at the Congress of Berlin, England, meaning Disraeli, wanted Romanians to be punished by losing territory for rebelling against their legitimate sovereign, the Sublime Porte. Gladstone, who was very anti-Turk, was on the opposition back benches. The European Great Powers agreed to do so by allowing Russia to annex three counties from Southern Bessarabia. Later, in 1916, going to war with England and France proved a disaster for Romania, although a very good thing for Germany, who was thereby enabled to continue the war for two more years. So, at least, asserts Norman Stone.

It is unfair to blame England for Yalta and Europe could not be said to exist in 1945. There was nothing England could do to prevent Russia dominating Romania. I never tire of pointing out this obvious fact and Romanians never tire of ignoring me. Yet though they consider they were betrayed by England, who guaranteed their independence in 1939, and by America, they still look hopefully towards Europe. I suppose for fear of the alternative, if there is one.

Leaving aside the importance of independence, the monarchy and Europe, I think it is foolish to have December 1 as the Romanian National Day, not May 10, as it was until Communism. December 1 is very cold, people. There is nothing to do on December 1 but go to the mountains, eat too much, drink too much and take a walk in the snow, which is what Romanians who can afford to go to the mountains do. There could, however, be a better way.

By Paul Wood, Guest Writer

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Profile picture for user paul.wood23
Paul Wood
Guest writer

Paul Wood read History at Queens’ College, Cambridge and studied to be a lawyer without having the stomach to become one. He worked in the British civil service and in the City of London. He fell in love with Romania while travelling through in 1990 and has lived and worked as a headhunter in Romania since 1998. After almost 14 years he is still fascinated by the most egregious capital in Europe. His favourite activities are talking, thinking, walking, reading and looking round churches. He collects friends and books. He is conservative but unconventional, a Catholic with a Protestant mind, a solitary extrovert and a political refugee from the global village. His blog is here.

Comment: Europe Day and King's Day in Bucharest

Guest Writer Paul Wood notices how Romanians seem to have forgotten about their other two celebrations on May 9, when Europe's Day is celebrated.

“A man stretches a giant flag of the European Union in front of Romania's parliament building in Bucharest on May 9, 2013. A private TV station installed the flag, weighing over 1,750 pounds and measuring 459 feet by 328 feet, to mark Europe Day. The stars were sewn on by hand after the giant flag was laid out at an aerodrome near Bucharest. Romania joined the EU as part of its most recent expansion in 2007". -- Agence France-Presse.

Europe Day? The first time I heard of it. As Dorothy Parker put it, what fresh hell is this?

May 10 is King's Day - the anniversary of independence and of the arrival on Romanian soil of Prince Carol/Charles the future King Carol or Charles II. But this today passes by almost unnoticed in Romania. Romanians care about Europe Day, it seems, even more than they do independence or their monarchy.

In 1880, at the Congress of Berlin, England, meaning Disraeli, wanted Romanians to be punished by losing territory for rebelling against their legitimate sovereign, the Sublime Porte. Gladstone, who was very anti-Turk, was on the opposition back benches. The European Great Powers agreed to do so by allowing Russia to annex three counties from Southern Bessarabia. Later, in 1916, going to war with England and France proved a disaster for Romania, although a very good thing for Germany, who was thereby enabled to continue the war for two more years. So, at least, asserts Norman Stone.

It is unfair to blame England for Yalta and Europe could not be said to exist in 1945. There was nothing England could do to prevent Russia dominating Romania. I never tire of pointing out this obvious fact and Romanians never tire of ignoring me. Yet though they consider they were betrayed by England, who guaranteed their independence in 1939, and by America, they still look hopefully towards Europe. I suppose for fear of the alternative, if there is one.

Leaving aside the importance of independence, the monarchy and Europe, I think it is foolish to have December 1 as the Romanian National Day, not May 10, as it was until Communism. December 1 is very cold, people. There is nothing to do on December 1 but go to the mountains, eat too much, drink too much and take a walk in the snow, which is what Romanians who can afford to go to the mountains do. There could, however, be a better way.

By Paul Wood, Guest Writer

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