Well she finally went and did it, Simona Halep has won her first Grand Slam, by beating Sloane Stephens in the final of Roland Garros. She had often been labelled as the only women’s number one that had not won a Grand Slam, now she can hold her head high. It was a great game and she has proven to be a worthy champion and a great representative for Romania, unlike other Romanian tennis players I could mention (yes, you Ilie). The only slight fly in the ointment was from the satirical magazine that published a cartoon portraying Halep as a gypsy collecting scrap metal. Idiots.
By Dean Edgar
So a hero’s welcome was waiting for her, but alas not, our beloved kisch lover and budget waster who said that there was not enough time to organise something in Pta Victoria, the best she could do was on the main steps of the National Stadium. She later relinquished slightly and set something up inside the stadium, a stage and speakers etc. So the “stage” was set to show the country’s appreciation of her win, 20,000 people were present, only for the mayor to try and hijack the event. She almost started a party political speech and the crowd started booing her off the stage, so she promptly did, almost running to get away. What did she expect, the PSD are changing the law, the streets have been full of protesters against the ruling party, and she thinks that it’s Ok to jump on the back of Halep’s achievements? She went on to blame “Soros-ists”, carefully placed agents of George Soros, for spoiling the event. Later that week she finally came out and said it was a mistake for her to have gone on the stage with Simona, that is possibly the only true statement she has ever uttered.
So to more serious matters, as the leader of the PSD continues to cement his position as the de facto head of state, the PSD organised a rally in the main square outside parliament to allow their supporters to protest the so called parallel state and abuses of justice. Ironic doesn’t even begin to describe this. The supporters were all dressed in white. There followed what could almost be described as something from 1930s Germany. With the PSD blaming everyone but themselves, the Securitate, Traian Basescu, the ex President who is alleged to have created the new parallel state, Iohannis who is the new villain. Leaders droning on and on. One of the best lines for Dragnea’s oratory was: “I’ve been asked why I chose the colour white for this rally. White symbolises cleanliness and that’s what we are doing. We are cleaning the country of the filth these rats have been spreading.” You really couldn’t make this up. Lots was being made of how the people who had attended had come of their own free will, extra buses and trains were laid on to transport them to Bucharest and back home again, this however was just not true. There were the buses and trains but the vast majority of people attending – pensioners and civil servants – had been threatened with losing their jobs. These were teachers, nurses and others. It seems that the party is becoming bigger than the state, this can only end in disaster.
The battle of wits continues between Iohannis and Dragnea. Liviu was finally prosecuted for influence peddling and was sentenced to three and half years in jail, which he is now appealing, and in the meantime he is trying to force Iohannis to dismiss the head of the anti corruption department, Laura Kovesi, or find himself impeached. Unfortunately Iohannis is between a rock and a hard place, and as we were told would happen at the beginning of June, she has now finally left. Now she has been removed, Iohannis can announce that he will be running again for the job next year. He still has to contend with the possible law changes, but the fact he is still willing to be the only visible opposition – where are you Ciolos, Orban, even Ponta – it’s a start. More and more EU countries, with the notable exception of the UK, are publicly stating their worries about the current law changes and the effect on a free and independent legal system, and still Dragnea and Toader, the justice minister, are saying, keep your noses out.
And finally, it is with some sadness that I have to report the departure of the British Ambassador, Paul Brummell. His four years are up and he and his family are off to pastures new. Paul has been an extremely visible and approachable ambassador and has, as far as his mandate allows, represented the UK effectively in difficult times for both Romania, the UK and Europe. You will missed, Sir !