Time to embrace the east, warts and all

The EU’s founding members need to stop patronizing its newest recruits, writes Jonathan Eyal

The World Today
5 minute READ

Jonathan Eyal

Associate Director, Royal United Services Institute

Three decades ago, Romania was the subject of universal pity, impoverished and languishing under one of the communist world’s most brutal dictatorships. Even when it joined its neighbours in shaking off the communist yoke, it was the last East European country to do so, and the only one where the process ended in bloodshed.

It is doubtful whether any of the tens of thousands of volunteers from all over the world who poured into Romania in that winter of 1989, offering food to the starving population or donating used clothes for the Aids-afflicted orphans could have ever imagined that one day Romania would be in the European Union, let alone hold the EU’s rotating presidency.

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