In 2024, Romania is holding a variety of elections, from local to European, all amid general discontent, inflation and rising energy prices. A key party may be AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romanians), a conservative party born in 2019. Also, the geopolitical and international situation around the country deem this party’s point of view interesting, especially concerning migration.
As of September 2023, AUR is the second biggest political force in Romania, with an approval rate constantly measured between 18-20 percent since June, in various opinion polls.
Our interview with Claudio Tarziu, President of the National Council of Alliance for the Union of Romanians.
What is AUR and why was it born?
The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) was founded out of historical necessity. Responding to the globalist-socialist elites who were seen as threatening normalcy, the people and the way of life. AUR emerged as a movement with conservative pillars and supported by nationalist and sovereigntist attitudes. In this context, AUR was officially founded – at the end of 2019, on Romania’s National Day, December 1. Its emergence was due to the reunification of several civic groups that were active in the patriotic and Christian-conservative area.
A year later, our party gained 10 percent of the seats in the legislative elections on 6 December 2020, entered Parliament with. This success was result of the votes obtained from over half a million Romanians.
Nonetheless, AUR is more than just another party on the Romanian political scene. It represents a deeply Romanian movement that extends beyond the borders of our country.
If you follow our rise – which some describe as astonishing – you will easily realize that it is due to AUR gives voice to a very large portion of the population – the “silent majority” – that the neo-Marxists want to silence.
When you refer to the “silent majority”, is this the same concept Donald Trump used?
Of course, it is. Specifically, it is about those who choose to live by rules and principles we learned from our parents and grandparents, based on Christian morality. Those who look to the past with the respect due to heroes and martyrs, those who put family and life above all else, those who value freedom and dignity and are willing to sacrifice for these fundamental values.
It is not coincidental that the measures and reforms we have proposed for the future of Romania are directly connected to the pillars upon which we founded and organized our party: Family, Nation, Faith and Freedom.
What can you tell us about the main measures AUR proposes for Romania?
A few months ago, we launched a 15-point government program called Rebuilding Romania. It summarizes our proposals in the main areas of economic and social life. We want to reduce taxes on labor and companies, make real use of our natural resources, promote “Made in Romania” products, stimulate the birth rate and the family, ensure the rule of law, revive the Romanian village and protect our identity and natural environment.
I will also give you some concrete examples. From a fiscal point of view, we support the reduction of taxes and contributions to the pension and social security and healthcare systems to a maximum of 25 percent of income. Simplification of fiscal policy and reduction of pressure on the business environment are also important points.
The main target of our government would be to develop the domestic production capacities, by stimulating the consumption of products bearing the “Made in Romania” label and favoring exports. We would create new financial institutions to ensure credit for local businesses and the population.
To halt the demographic decline, we would launch the National Plan for Family Protection for the next two decades, we would increase the child-raising allowance, we would grant loans at preferential interest rates to families with several children for the purchase of a house and a car.
I have listed just a few of the measures. But perhaps our overriding objective is to raise the standard of living in Romania to an average level in the European Union. Our fellow citizens are in no way inferior to other EU citizens and must enjoy the same rights and conditions.
You mentioned the European Union. What is your vision of the EU, but also of NATO?
As I have said and as I have demonstrated on every occasion, AUR is not and will not be against the European Union. On the contrary.
We want to continue our European path, but not under any conditions and under no circumstances on our knees in front of the current Brussels leadership.
We are Euro-realists and categorically reject the tendency to centralize decisions at the level of the European Commission. We will certainly not hesitate to harshly criticize any drift towards the radical Left that wants to reset society according to pseudo-values and anomalies that are impossible to accept.
And as far as NATO is concerned, our position is unequivocal. NATO is the most important defensive alliance and it is crucial for Romania to remain part of this structure. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO membership is the only viable solution today to defend our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The armed forces themselves are one of the pillars of the nation’s support, and our Atlantic option is strategic and in full accordance with our national interest.
I would like to focus a little more on foreign policy. What is your position on Romania’s accession to the Schengen area? Which Member States support this approach?
From our point of view, our country’s entry into the Schengen area is a natural, urgent and extremely necessary act. Romania deserves and must be part of this free movement area. All the more so as Romania has been meeting the criteria for more than a decade. Today, all states except Austria agree to Romania’s accession.
For purely their own political reasons, the Austrian Chancellor is stubbornly resisting the accession of our country and our neighbor to the south, Bulgaria, citing a false argument: immigrants. Fortunately for us, Romania is not a target of this phenomenon, which is escalating again, apparently more substantially than in 2015.
Only a few days ago, ahead of the EU Council meeting, the head of the Austrian government stressed that his country will continue to exercise its veto against our accession. The issue will be back on the agenda of the EU Council of interior ministers in October or December. Judging by the Austrian Chancellor’s statements, we should expect the same behavior as last year. Completely unjustified.
As for our government’s strategy on Schengen, the approach has been catastrophic. I am disgusted.
Our diplomacy, as pursued by the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party that make up the present coalition government, is a bitter joke.
Romania’s neighbor to the north is Ukraine, a state on whose territory there has been a military conflict for over a year and a half. What is your view of the Russian-Ukrainian war?
Since the outbreak of this conflict, which we consider fratricidal, our position has been firm: we have unequivocally condemned the aggression of the Russian Federation and have repeatedly called for peace, or at least a truce, in preparation for peace.
It does not take a geopolitical expert to see that this war is being waged between the two superpowers, the US and Russia, in the theatre of operations called Ukraine.
Ukraine is completely dependent on the United States militarily. The way hostilities are going, it is unlikely that this confrontation will end before the end of this year. All the more so as the current administration in the White House seems to be doing everything it can to financially and militarily support the continuation of the war.
You know what I find really interesting? That if you say you want peace, you are immediately accused of Russophilia and pro-Putin politics. Manipulation has reached heights I thought were hard to reach!
No, wanting peace doesn’t mean you’re on Putin’s side. It means a realistic and rational policy.
On the other hand, Romania has a particular problem, namely the more than five hundred thousand ethnic Romanians living on the territory of Ukraine today, whose rights are disregarded and violated by the current administration. We have never asked for more than reciprocity.
Our treatment of minorities in Romania is exemplary. What we have been demanding for years is that the fundamental rights of our community – the right to school education in our mother tongue, to religious services, to Romanian-language media – be respected. Ukrainians, as well as other minorities living on our territory, naturally benefit from these rights. However, despite Kyiv’s very friendly statements, minorities are still treated with hostility and lack of empathy.
Besides this particularly important issue, you also have the problem concerning grain transit from Ukraine. How is the Romanian government handling this situation?
Let’s be clear, these grains make our bodies sick and destroy our national agriculture. This is the terrible reality, and the Ukrainian side’s almost relentlessness in forcing transit countries, including Romania and Hungary, to accept what is unacceptable will not help to ease tensions.
A few days ago, the Romanian government made the only possible decision in this context: they extended the ban on these toxic products for an additional 30 days. Nobody needs grains that pose risks to public health. Such a measure is in line with the interests of the Romanian state.
As part of both EU and NATO, Romania has done everything humanly possible to support Kyiv in this extremely delicate situation in which it finds itself from February 2022.
However, putting the interests of this state first at the expense of its citizens, producers or consumers, is a mistake that cannot be justified.
Recently, several drones have touched Romanian territory. What can you tell us about these incidents?
It is true that, according to publicly available information on three occasions, Russian drone fragments has been discovered recently on our territory. As a member of the Defense Committee of the Romanian Senate, I have asked the authorities to inform Parliament in detail about the results of the investigation, since the firs drone has pieces were identified. Although no physical damage was recorded, such incidents should not be neglected or minimized, and citizens have a right to know whether such a danger is real or exaggerated.
In view of the difficult situation in which the Republic of Moldova finds itself, there are voices that speak of Moldova’s annexation by Romania. Do you agree? And if so, would this be temporary or permanent?
Reunification with Bessarabia (Moldova) is one of our major objectives. The political and territorial unity of Romanians on both sides of the Prut River is, in our view, a guarantee of stability in this part of Europe – too often troubled by conflicts.
The Romanian nation is torn in two. It will continue to be so until the border on the Prut disappears by the common will of Bucharest and Chisinau. A sinister pact, the one between Hitler and Stalin on 23 August 1939, brought us to the situation we are in now. The Romanian state back then surrendered a piece of the country to the Soviets without putting up the slightest resistance.
Reunification is a historical and national imperative, and Bessarabia is our blessed hope. Some fifteen years ago, I wrote in an editorial that Bessarabia is our right hand, which we have allowed ourselves to be deprived of for too long. Yes, we have missed too much this part of us, of every Romanian. We want Bessarabia at home. Once and for all.
I’d also like to talk a bit about the upcoming election year. I know that in Romania in 2024, there will be European, local, legislative and presidential elections. I will ask you first about the parliamentary elections. If you were the majority political force, but without enough seats, would you be willing to form a coalition with another party?
AUR is today the most popular party in Romania, ranking first in the real polls, commissioned by our political opponents themselves. If you want to talk in percentages, we are somewhere between 30-33 percent in voting intentions.
Indeed, we have a very good chance to become the majority force in the next elections for the national Parliament.
I want to make it clear that we are not considering not having enough seats to form a majority in the next Parliament. Through all our initiatives and actions, we have shown that we represent the only alternative to the rotten socialist-liberal system that has been burying Romania for thirty years.
No, we will not form an alliance with any other party. The only alliance AUR makes is with the Romanian people. As I mentioned before, we have a package of economic and fiscal measures and public policies on every sector of activity and we are ready to govern the country. We will not be able to implement this program if we do not govern alone.
However, prior to the legislative elections, you will have elections for the European Parliament, just like other EU member states. What are your expectations for these elections?
We will win these elections and AUR will become the most important political force in Romania.
This optimism may seem unrealistic to you, but my conviction is based on what we know not only from opinion polls – which are no more than a snapshot in time – but also from the hundreds of days and thousands of hours we spend with Romanians. Wherever we go, AUR is welcomed with open arms and the confidence that it will succeed in bringing about real change for the better.
Romania has 33 seats in the European Parliament and we hope to win at least 10-12 of them.
Everywhere in Europe, the outcome of the June 2024 elections will be crucial. If sovereigntist and conservative parties dominate the next Parliament and the next Commission, Europe will return to normality and true values. But if neo-Marxists, Greens or other globalists triumph, the future will be terrible for our societies and our lives.
What are we to do? Let’s go to the polls and choose with confidence and wisdom. The future of our children depends on the vote of each of us in 2024.
Correction: an earlier version of this article stated that Claudio Tarziu was co-president of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians.