I wanted to check my home country’s index in The Big Max Index but, as in case of many other subjects,
left outside. Romania
At the beginning of March I was in Krakow, the second biggest city of
. I arrived on a cloudy, grey
and cold morning. After a long walk discovering the Poland ,
I was looking for a place to warm up and eat something other a whole night of
traveling by train. On one of those nice, old streets I spotted a McDonald’s
and I went in. Old Town
The prices are similar in
Poland to those in , as the exchange rate from
Polish Zloty (PLN) to Romanian Leu (RON) is 1 to 1,05. A Big Mac burger is
Krakow was sold at 3 $, while in Romania it is around 2,80 $. Romania
But there is a big difference between the incomes in the two East European countries: while the minimal wage in
Poland in January 2014
was 6,184 $ per year, in
the lowest salary a worker could earn was only 3,032 UD dollars. Romania
The main cause of the loss of hope is that Romanian politicians blamed the EU for some unpopular decisions they took the past few years, they were unable to simplify the procedures for the structural funds absorption and a lot of corruption cases were discovered involving the use of these funds.
This is why, according to an analysis by Mediafax press agency, Romania absorbed between 2007 and 2013 about 5.7 billion of structural funds and cohesion, failing to finish any of the EU-funded highways, while Poland received about 6 billion just for highways. With this performance, the country is the last in the EU, with an absorption rate of 26,2%.
Given this bigger trust in the European Union than in their own home country, many young Romanians are looking for a better future abroad.
A popular local saying states that
is a “beautiful country, too bad it’s inhabited”. Foreign tourists who come
here are delighted by the natural beauty which became a rarity in modern Romania Europe. Still, they have a problem visiting many of them
because of poor infrastructure.
Travel Channel made a trilogy about “the priceless majesty of the forests and mountains of Romania” called Wild Carpathia, but for many young Romanians the country tend to be too wild because of small paychecks, high prices and a political class that is too concerned about its own fights to care about the real problems the average citizens face every day.
Macroeconomic figures show Romania is on a stabile and growing path, but too many young natives of the country hear about the progress only at the foreign news as they chose to work and live in Italy, France, Germany, the UK or other countries and come back only for holidays.
When I applied for college, nine years ago, I knew it won’t be easy to find a job. I would not have imagined though that I will be able to count on the fingers from one hand how many of my fellow graduates will work in our field of study.
None of us ever imagined the hard situation Romanian press is facing now: one of the best newspapers in my county, where I got the chance to learn a lot, was closed and the others are facing difficulties too.
No one prepared us at college for the situation press is facing, but I still think there is hope, thanks to independent and unconventional initiatives.As a journalist these days, you have to be always prepared for the next move, always learning something new and useful for this job that is more than an occupation: it’s a lifestyle.