Diplomacy in Friendly Europe

Post length: 476 words, just over 2 minutes.

Paul Brummell‘s team published something on his blog last Wednesday which illustrates to me exactly what the British mission in Romania should be striving to do. At the end of a run of blog posts celebrating of 10 years of the embassy’s internship scheme, they posted the answers to three questions posed to alumni of the scheme ahead of the anniversary party. Some of the answers were touching and some made me feel a sense of pride in what the UK’s mission in Romania are doing. I don’t mean to belittle the good diplomatic work that I know the British embassy in Bucharest do (personally, see this), of course, but in the grand scheme of world diplomacy a mission in a stable, friendly European country cannot be the most challenging of postings. For me it raises the question of what a British embassy should be doing in a country like Romania. [read more]

Posted on Monday 27th July, 2015 at 10:33 am in Obiter dicta.
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Does Romania Need a Cheerleader?

Post length: 642 words, almost 3 minutes.

Or, more specifically, does Romania need this cheerleader? Please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a personal attack on the author. Ethan seems to be nice guy with a genuine love of the country and the girl who has opened his eyes to it. He appears to be humble and willing to¬† accept when his personal knowledge is lacking (the comment and response on this post is a great example). Yet sometimes it feels like the blog strays from light pro-Romania reading, to full on propaganda.

I am in the same situation as Ethan: I’m a 30(ish) year old British guy in a relationship with a Romanian girl, I have been travelling backwards and forwards between Britain and Romania since 2011 and, despite what I was told I would think before I visited for the first time, I really like the country. I understand where he’s coming from. I also recognise that Romania has taken a bit of a beating at the hands of the right-wing media in the UK in recent years (fuelled no doubt by the recent popularity of UKIP), as well as suffering from a lack of high-profile official tourism publicity (when was the last time you saw an advert funded by the Romanian tourist board?). But despite Ethan’s best intentions, does a sickly sweet fansite really achieve anything? [read more]

Posted on Monday 9th June, 2014 at 1:31 pm in Obiter dicta.
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