08 October 2019

INTERVIEW with Liberal Right candidate Viorel Catarama: In Romania, all parties support globalization. I support the nation-state

Alexandru Costea

Viorel Catarama stated in an interview for D.S.M. that all political parties in Romania, including President Klaus Iohannis, support globalization. The Liberal Right’s presidential candidate said that he supports the nation-state, which encourages internal production, exports and the development of the private sector.

Viorel Catarama specified that globalization amounts to the increasing dependence of a country on imports on foreign loans, blocking exports and reducing the private sector’s share in the economy. Therefore, as a consequence of globalization, Romania will also be more dependent on a series of decisions taken outside its borders, because it will increase the rate at which the country is indebted and will be mostly dependent on products manufactured in other states.

The Liberal Right’s presidential nominee also said that very clear measures need to be taken regarding national security, and this can be achieved by improving the standard of living, increasing citizen security, fighting corruption or organized crime, reforming education and health, as well as Romania’s relations with neighbouring countries in the north-eastern flank.

In Viorel Catarama’s opinions, the “privileges of the state-employed aristocracy” should be cancelled, and proposes towards this the firing of 500,000 state employees and offering them jobs in the private sectors.

Here is the full interview granted by Viorel Catarama for the Defence & Security Monitor:

Reporter: Because you are a presidential candidate, what institutions do you consider should be consolidated in the following five years in order to strengthen defence and security on a national level?

Viorel Catarama: I think we should start our discussion from the terrible battle worldwide between the adepts of globalization and the nation-state. It is a terrible battle whose end we do not know yet, but which has direct implications on a country’s national security strategy, including Romania’s. Today, all the political forces in the Romanian Parliament support globalization. Globalization means the country’s increased dependence on foreign imports and loans, the blocking of exports and reducing the private sector’s share in the economy. This is globalization. And the consequences of globalization are that Romania will be increasingly more dependent on decisions taken outside its borders, as it will have a very high debt rate and will be somewhat dependent on products made in other countries.

This is the reality of Romania today. I am a presidential candidate, the only one who clearly adopted the doctrine of the nation-state, which means encouraging exports, developing and respecting the private sector, discouraging imports and giving up foreign loans as much as possible, especially so that the Romanian economy will develop, have marketplaces both abroad and at home, and pay its dues to the state budget accordingly. In this manner, we can truly increase salaries in the private sector, at the same time with eliminating the privileges of the state-employed aristocracy. This is a first aspect I want to raise.

The second aspect is that Romania, following its support for globalization, currently has a series of major problems which affects all of its citizens. The interest rates for bank credits in Romania are several percentages higher than in Europe, because Romania allows and supports the existence of bank cartels which earn incorrect incomes, by practicing very high interest rates. Secondly, the prices for fuel, gasoline, diesel, natural gas and electricity are way higher than the European average, because Romania, due to globalization, accepts monopolies in these sectors. Therefore, as an adept of the nation-state, I support the idea that bank cartels must be broken up and dismantled, so that we will have interest rates on part with the European average. Monopolies must also be broken up and dismantled, so that we have correct prices for methane gas, electricity, gasoline and diesel.

In this context, I think that the problem of national strategy and security should be put in another context, in the Supreme Defence Council, where several measures and very clear directions must be adopted, including extremely clear chapters on national security. The first chapter should regard the standard of living, which means pensions, salaries, prices and the level of prices. The second is citizen security, which means fighting against corruption and organized crime. The third should be education, which is in shambles today following 30 years of socialism. The fourth chapter should be healthcare, which is also in shambles after 30 years of socialism. The fifth chapter should be diaspora and the sixth should be Romania’s relations with its neighbours on the north-eastern flank, especially with regards to national defence.

When we speak about national defence, we must discuss about several very clear chapters, namely how many people must be in the Romanian Army, what equipment should the army have and where should it be deployed on Romania’s territory. What are the means of strengthening relations regarding defence with partners form the EU and NATO, taking into account the fact that certain frictions have started to appear within NATO? See Turkey’s stance and the somewhat latent conflict with the US, but we do not know how that will evolve. We cannot ignore the somewhat cooling down of relations between the US, on one side, and France and Germany on the other.

Therefore, I come here and want to launch a public debate that must begin from an incontestable reality: are we part of the battle for the nation-state, or are we part of the battle for globalization? Today, all of Romania’s parliamentary parties, starting with the president, support globalization without reserve. I have explained what the consequences are. I support the nation-state. I think that without this battle for the nation-state carried out by the Republican Party and Donald Trump, by UK’s Conservative Party and PM Boris Johnsons is very hard, but not over. I hope that the adepts of the nation state will win. This is a hope. But I think that Romania, from a security standpoint, must be prepared for both scenarios and also have a plan and a scenario for each of the two options.

I want to bring a subject in to the debate. When Karl Marx published the principles of socialism, they seemed to be very attractive for a large category of people. The same attractive principles have generated communism, an unimaginable catastrophe for many countries in the world. Today, the idea of globalization, which started from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, meaning the liberalization of the movement of goods, of the workforce on financial markets is transforming each day into a catastrophe, with excessive globalization’s final meaning actually being to have a country dependent on imports, on loans and having decisions for that country taken outside their borders.

Reporter: What measures would you take as a president to strengthen national security?

Viorel Catarama: As I told you, the program I am running with is based on the idea of the nation-state, based on the private sector, exports, reducing imports and growing internal production, both industrial and agricultural, and offering markets for those who manufacture in Romania. At the same time, in order to achieve this, I need to reduce and cancel the privileges of the state-employed aristocracy, of those employed by the state and win today three-four times more than in the private sector, those have unwarranted advantages, but do not work for these advantages.

From this point of view, reducing the number of state employees with 500,000, training them and offering them jobs in the private sector, where you earn if you work, will lead to a growth in economic activity. I will also go ahead with supporting those who cannot work. The minimum pension should be RON1,000 – there are two million people in Romania today who have worked between 15 and 20 years and I do not receive almost anything, while some who are employed today by the state do nothing and earn a lot.

The thorough reform of education and healthcare and obviously the adoption of this clear and specific program on our relations with the north-eastern flank neighbours. These are the main elements which CSAT must adopted and follow through with by all means, including by organizing a referendum, in order to implement them in Romania.

Reporter: Do you think that political instability is a sign of national security weakness?

Viorel Catarama: I don’t think that is the case at all, because we do not talk about political instability in democratic conditions. After all, there are a lot of countries which have snap elections, no-confidence motions, change governments. No. We do not have a problem from this point of view, as all the parliamentary parties are socialist, they all support globalization. From this point view, we are very calm. No there is no political instability outside of gossiping.

Translated by Ionut Preda