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Avramescu, Catalin


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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.


Revista 22 - Romania | 30/10/2007

Catalin Avramescu on Romania's micro-anarchy

Romanian philosopher Catalin Avramescu reflects on what modern urbanism tells us about Romanian society: "Modern urbanism was the deciding factor that radically changed Western society and made it what it is today. Its agenda was connecting dots, lines and signs. ... This is how Romania's city planners began. During the times of Alexander John Cuza, villages were divided into square sections. Bucharest's boulevards were built under Pache Protopopescu, and under Carol I the train stations received timetables. ... Nowadays we live in a social web that seems to be unravelling. We creep through holes in fences to get to government buildings, cars park on pavements, businesses no longer stick to opening times, the buttons in lifts are blocked, signs with missing letters are a common sight. All around us, a micro-anarchy is spreading. This is the point at which the reform of our society must begin - the primitive origin of the chaos. Our country is suffering from a lack of lines."

Cotidianul - Romania | 28/03/2007

Romania sums up three months of EU membership

Catalin Avramescu takes stock three months after Romania joined the EU: "Has anything changed for the better in the hundred days since Romania's accession? In reality things are not looking good. We were promised stability but what we got is institutionalised chaos. ... We were supposed to have representatives in the European Parliament yet we have to wait almost a year before we can elect our MEPs. ... So far Romania's only contribution to Europe's institutions has been the creation of an extreme-right faction together with Bulgaria. But first and foremost is the question of what's happened with the money. Weren't we promised a veritable flood of euros? Politicians assured us it would be a problem to manage the immense sums. We have paid our EU contribution of around 300 million euros, but what have we got for it? So far, nothing."

Cotidianul - Romania | 07/02/2007

Catalin Avramescu on the gap between Europe and Romania

Even after its accession to the EU, philosopher Catalin Avramescu can discern little that is genuinely European about today's Romania. "For 15 years now we have been telling ourselves: the new thing about Romania is that 'reforms' are being carried through. Or we talk about the 'transition'. Nowadays, it's called the 'accession', or 'integration'. But it doesn't matter what we call it, the goal was always the same: to attain European standards. And the result? Our government, economy and society resemble those of a Soviet republic. Recently we have been telling ourselves we belong to the 'European family'. The way I see things, we belong to the post-Soviet zone - with the same oligarchy, the same sort of scandals, and the same type of immigration. When you go to Vilnius or Prague, on the other hand, you're in Europe. These cities have more in common with Verona or Glasgow."

Cotidianul - Romania | 24/01/2007

Catalin Avramescu on businessmen in politics

The influence of local oligarchies on government and opposition is currently the subject of heated discussion in Romania. Multimillionaires there have close ties with the country's major political parties. They either occupy leading positions within these parties or support them financially. The philosopher Catalin Avramescu recommends the introduction of measures aimed at separating the country's politics from its business sector. "It's got to the stage where it's difficult to tell the difference between the Romanian government and the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce. We are being governed by the kings of the construction sector, the energy sector, and the vehicle import business... Back in the 1990s, it seemed like a good idea to have a businessman as head of government. The argument was that someone who owns a fortune, preferably accumulated in the West, had to be competent and possess the necessary skills to govern the country – and that a businessman of this calibre couldn't be corrupt. Now, almost two decades later, this has proved totally false. The big businessmen have turned out to be the biggest sharks in Romania's network of corruption."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 05/01/2007

Catalin Avramescu on the misuse of public property

Romanian philospher Catalin Avramescu complains in an essay that many Romanians still misuse public property, as in the days of communism: "We all believe the state interfered in private life, and destroyed healthy individualism. We believe that the state was the enemy and that its reform is the key to a civilized coexistence. I am in complete agreement with the concept that the state, particularly in its Stalinist version - perpetrated terrible crimes against the Romanians. But it is also true that in Romania, the individual constantly misused public property. Our collective state basically functioned as if it was the personal property of the Ceausescu family. Consequently, the farmer stole horses' harnesses from the collective farm, the workers topped up their wages with spare parts produced in the factories. Builders plastered our houses with material stolen from construction sites, and the doctor at the public clinic considered his medicine cabinet to be his private property."

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