Millions of Romanians have been forced to leave the country and seek out better opportunities and jobs in the last 30 years due to rampant corruption, the deputy prime minister said Monday.
“Millions of parents and children were hounded out by the effects of corruption which forced (Romanians) to make a future far away from the country,” said Raluca Turcan in a Facebook posting to mark International Anti-Corruption day.
Every year, December 9 is celebrated globally as anti-corruption day with the aim of spreading awareness against graft. A resolution was passed at the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 31 October 2003 and since then the day is observed annually.
Romania scored 48 points on Transparency International’s corruption index in 2018 and was ranked the 61st least corrupt country out of 180 countries. It is the fourth most corrupt EU country after Hungary, Greece and Bulgaria.
“Romanians could live like people ‘outside’ if the country’s development hadn’t been halted by corruption and interest groups which circled around the politicians in power,” Turcan said.
“Corruption from the last 30 years made Romanian emigrate not just because they wanted higher living standards, but because they wanted a society without corruption where the citizen counts the most.”
President Klaus Iohannis also used the occasion to speak out against the effects of corruption which “weakens the state, erodes institutions and generates a regress in society overall,” he said.
“In a normal Romania, respect for the law and correct behavior are the rule,” he added.
“This scourge undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights’ violations, underpins organized crime networks, distorts markets, and finally leads to a decline in quality of life” he said in a message.
“Corruption affects the most vulnerable social categories, keeps communities in captive in a vicious cycle of poverty, puts a brake on development and reduces the capacity of the state to offer” citizens the best services, Iohannis said.
However, Iohannis added that “thirty years after the fall of communism Romania has made huge progress in fighting high-level corruption and in society in general.”
„Honesty, rectitude, truth, empathy are values which are becoming ever more present in Romanian society, and the reaction of civil society when these values are trampled on has been the right one,” he said.
“Romania is a pylon of security and a beacon of European spirit in the region, regardless of how much some politicians wanted to subordinate the state to their personal or group interests.”