During this week, Klaus Iohannis, the Romanian president, has jeopardized Romanian foreign relations to an unprecedented level. According to the Romanian Constitution, the president of the country is the main coordinator of the foreign relations, but Klaus Iohannis has done a sloppy job in the circumstances.
How Klaus Iohannis’ statements jeopardized Romania’s relations with France
Romanian president has lied Romanians about the COVID-19 situation in France. It happened during a live press conference, broadcast on TV, when Iohannis told the Romanian journalists that his country doesn’t want to repeat the French authorities mistakes in fighting COVID-19 pandemic.
According to his statements, France had opened a school as an experiment and the kids and the teachers got infected with COVID-19 in a short time.
France denied his statements, saying they are fake news. Also, the French mass-media accused Romanian president of spreading false information about the situation in France.
After the incident, French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Romanian president, Klaus Ioahnnis, have discussed over the phone. Romanian official version of the conversation only mentioned the two talked about COVID-19 situation, without details regarding a potential discussion on the incident which Klaus Iohannis generated.
How Klaus Iohannis’ statements jeopardized Romania’s relations with Hungary
A few days later, Klaus Iohannis, which is endorsed by the governing party in Romania, thought about using another opportunity to help his favorites gain back a few electoral percentages. Thus, Iohannis publicly accused the Opposition of trying to “sell Transylvania to Hungary while the Romanian Government is fighting with COVID-19 pandemic”.
His official statement was replied from Hungary, but not by the Hungarian PM, but by the Hungarian Foreign Affairs minister, Péter Szijjártó, who called on the Romanian president to “show more respect to Hungarians.” Also, Szijjártó said Iohannis’s comments were “particularly uncivilized and could incite hatred.”
Moreover, in an interview for the Hungarian mass-media, PM Victor Orban said he doesn’t yet take up the glove thrown by the Romanian president, but he is assessing the situation.
The Romanian Opposition rejected Ioahnnis’ accusations, saying they are related to the drop of the governing party in the latest opinion polls.
Besides, the Hungarian ruling party, Fidesz, issued an official statement, saying that “it is sad to see that while Hungary is sending aid to Hungarians in Romania, the Romanian president is inciting ethnic tension”.
Why does Romanian president commit so many diplomatic mistakes recently?
Romanian president does no longer fully focus his attention on the foreign relations of his country. His main problem now is the huge drop of its political party, National Liberal Party, which is the governing force in Romania. The organization dropped 13% in the opinion polls since the emergency situation was declared by the president, meaning 45 days ago. It is a huge drop, especially when thinking Romanians will have local and parliamentary elections this year.
So, to lose 13% in just 45 days is a negative record for any political party, not only for the Romanian Liberals. In our opinion, though, Romanian president has not power of getting his party back where it stood before the pandemic, mainly because the actions taken by his Government.
Let’s only mention here that Romania proved to impose the most repressive regime during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one of the highest quantum of the fines in the world (USD4500) but also with one of the highest numbers of fines and criminal files for not complying with the emergency situation restrictions. So far, more than 200,000 Romanians have been fined, Romanian state gathering more than 80 million USD from this.