Romania yielded to Western demands and gave up the chance to develop with Chinese money. Meanwhile, other countries are developing thanks to Chinese investments, according to a false narrative promoted by Sputnik.
NEWS: "Mirel Palada speaks ironically about Romania as a colony, showing how, while the neighboring countries are developing with Chinese investments, “you are only allowed bears”.
He shows in a Facebook post the inauguration of a railway between the capitals of two Balkan countries, Serbia (Belgrade) and Hungary (Budapest), built with Chinese money, which goes further to Bulgaria (Sofia, Varna) and Greece (Thessaloniki , Athens).And Palada explains, without hiding anything and under no illusions, that the Chinese seek their own interests: they want to link Piraeus, the port in capital Athens, to the heart of Europe: Budapest and from there Vienna and the rest.What's Piraeus? A port bought by the Chinese. A bridgehead in Europe, part of their Silk Road strategic project, meant to help bring their goods more conveniently here. Piraeus. Varna. Chess and GO pieces on the geostrategic board of shoveling global money. Lots of money […] But, he goes on saying, what did the Greeks and Hungarians do? They too sought their own gain, even if they are part of the European Union. They resisted the orders of the German Führer, the true hegemon of Europe, who would have liked the satellite states not to decide for themselves and use no other money than those given by mam’ Europe […] Romanians deserve the best. Do you want highways? You'll have no such thing. Just leave us alone with your stupid claims. Use the scooters. Do you want a country like they have abroad? Only if you go out there, suckers, to be servants in Italy, Spain, Germany, England. Do you want well-being? It's not allowed. We don't have any”.
NARRATIVES: 1. Romania is a colony of the West, which prevents it from doing business with China that could be profitable. 2. The West is a hypocrite and earns money from trading with China, while preventing other states from doing the same. 3. Chinese investments would be extremely beneficial for Romania and would allow it to set up its infrastructure. 4. Chinese investment brought great benefits to countries in the region.
CONTEXT / LOCAL ETHOS: China's investment in the Balkans in the infrastructure development sector has triggered various reactions. On the one hand, they have been praised, but usually these investments have created huge debts that these states will pay for many years ahead.Serbia has the biggest hold on Chinese investment , a state that on the one hand wants privileged relations with Russia and China, but at the same time declares it wants to integrate into the European Union. Montenegro got on the verge of bankruptcy due to a highway it has entrusted to Chinese companies.Such Chinese investments have generally been accepted by states in the Balkan area with a high level of corruption. Under the slogan of development, China aims to rebuild the Silk Road in order to gain as much access to European markets as possible and to pour its enormous capital into investments by means of which to politically control the states receiving such “aid” from it.The pro-Western governments of Romania that followed those headed by Ponta and Dragnea successively blocked the potential Chinese investments that the two had brought to Romania. The last in this field were for the reactors of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in 2019. Back then, Romania broke a previous agreement with China for the refurbishment of the reactors and signed a new agreement with the USA.Mirel Palada, a former adviser to Victor Ponta, is a promoter of China in Romania, just like his former boss, prime minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party.The narrative according to which Romania would be a colony to the West is one of the main theses of the Russian propaganda explained both on Veridica.ro and on the "Breaking Fake News" show broadcast by TVR Moldova.
PURPOSE: To promote the idea that business with China would develop Romania, but that the authorities in Bucharest are just throwing away such opportunities.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: First of all, there is a very clear example provided by Montenegro, which accessed Chinese loans for the construction of an extremely expensive highway in 2014. The borrowed amount reached about one billion dollars, a debt that led the state to the brink of insolvency.Montenegro has paid almost 20 million euros for every kilometer of the total 44, making it one of the highest prices for a kilometer of highway in the world.In July 2021, as the country was faced with default and an external debt of 4.33 billion Euro, accounting for 103% of the GDP, The EU helped Montenegro contract 27.79 million Euro from four European international banks to pay its debt to China.There is even a concept in international relations for what China does: “debt-trap diplomacy”, through which some states try to obtain political leverage through loans and investments that at first sight seem advantageous, but in fact turn into captives the countries that fall into this trap.The “Ring Road” Initiative is nothing more than a means of promoting China's economic and geopolitical interests in the region. Experts say the model promoted for infrastructure development in the area is one based on corruption and aggressive expansion.In fact, China has shown a keen interest in taking over various businesses in Europe that have been hit by the pandemic crisis. Last but not least, China wants to expand its influence in the Balkans, including over the ground and sea routes, in order to compete more strongly with the EU and the US in the region.No one forbade Romania, or anyone else, from having trade relations with Beijing; China is an extremely important trading partner for the EU, of which Romania is a part, and the USA, to which it is an ally. However, alarm bells have rung out about China's trade practices (including technology theft, flooding the market, etc.), and the dependence on it. A special chapter is the implementation of 5G technology, due to its strategic importance and amid suspicions that Beijing might use it for espionage through its companies.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Romania has refused to do business with China in the area of infrastructure development.