George Simion: "I make a clear promise: for every deputy that goes to me, I will take two"

Recorded by George Marinescu.
English Section / 20 noiembrie

Photo source: facebook / George Simion

Photo source: facebook / George Simion

Versiunea în limba română

According to the latest INSCOP survey, the political class in our country is at the bottom of the ranking regarding the trust granted by Romanian citizens, with the Government and the Parliament in the last places. However, the political fight seems hotter than in recent years - in light of the four rounds of elections that will be held next year - both within the PSD-PNL governing coalition and within the ranks of the parliamentary opposition. The USR and the new political formation REPER, coagulated around the former prime minister Dacian Cioloş, want to regain the voters from the Diaspora that they lost in recent years in favor of the AUR, the Right Force of the former prime minister Ludovic Orban dreams of a new liberal party, which break as much as possible from the current PNL and to a new right-wing pole, and those from AUR want to take from the country's voters of the two big parties - PSD and PNL.

The latest opinion polls show that AUR and PNL are fighting for the second position in next year's European, local, parliamentary and presidential elections, while the tough electorate, loyal to the PSD, does not give up their first love and credits the social- Democrats as favorites in the 2024 election.

Since the fight between the AUR and the PNL seems to be the one that will decide where our country will take after next year's elections, in order to understand the increase in the polls of the AUR, we conducted the following interview with George Simion, the president of that political formation.

Reporter: Mr. President, you were the first party to launch its candidates for next year's European Parliament elections. From consulting that list I saw many new names. What made you attract other people to AUR? Is it a dulling of the personalities you previously had in the foreground in the party or a decrease in your confidence in them?

George Simion: The list for the European Parliament will be opened by Cristian Terheş, but I think first of all that everyone is needed. Secondly, most of the people I trusted and put on the list when no one wanted to take the step into politics and especially to take the step into GOLD because it didn't give us a chance, they were faithful and are in continue part of our project. We alone are not enough. I didn't actually have people to put on the lists in Botoşani and Tulcea. I stayed until the last day, because no one wanted to run. We need, because we are a serious party, which fights on an equal footing with the PSD, many more public figures. Now let everyone who reads this interview tell me who they'd like to see in AUR and I'll oblige. I make this offer and extend my hand to any person of value who is not part of the so-called democratic PSD-PNL bloc. We will see who comes, because many will tell me to propose the president of the Romanian Academy, Ioan-Aurel Pop. Of course we propose it, I'm the first to propose it, but he doesn't want it.

Reporter: How can civil society consider the return of Mr. Dumitru Focşa to the AUR barricades, after the family violence scandal in which he was involved?

George Simion: Mr. Focşa has not returned to AUR, but is active - after reconciling with his wife and showing through his behavior in recent months that he deserves to be forgiven - within the AUR parliamentary group, not within the party. He is affiliated with a smaller party, the National Identity Force.

Reporter: Will you form an alliance with them and will Mr. Focsa be on the AUR lists in next year's elections?

George Simion: I can't know what happens in a year.

Reporter: You have a little more, Mr. President. You have launched the candidates for the European Parliament, next are the local...

George Simion: For locals, I announced the AUR candidate for Bucharest City Hall. We will start with the county town halls and the presidents of the county councils. I take this seriously and see what the rules of the game are. The main rule is that I have to have MPs so that I can raise my voice against injustices and stop some of these injustices. When the rule of the game says that my MPs - who were not voted for their names, but were on the AUR list - can go to other parties and bring votes and signatures for those parties, it means that I have to take from another side. And I will take it. I make a clear promise: for every deputy that goes to me, I will take two.

Reporter: Under these conditions, won't AUR become a place where political trailblazers from the parties you are fighting will act? I recently saw that your former party colleague, Senator Diana Sosoacă, also accused you of this.

George Simion: Woe to her, poor thing! He has no other concern than AUR. Well, first of all, she took political leaders, all the scumbags that we kicked out, and put them in SOS. Are they trail runners? Are. But what's worse is that he has some from Iasi and Cluj who have been in about five or six games so far. At Târgu Jiu everything we didn't get went to her. At Târgu Jiu there is one who has been in seven games so far. Fugaru calls him. The same in Cluj, the same in Iaşi. So laugh the shard of a broken pot. I repeat: these are the rules. I would also like to find a "virgin" in Romanian politics, but I haven't found: neither Mrs. Şoşoacă, nor anyone else.

Reporter: Do you think that the result of the European Parliament will influence what will happen in the local elections?

George Simion: Certainly, it is in political logic. We are fighting for the first place in all the rows of next year's elections: European Parliament, local, parliamentary and presidential.

Reporter: Do you have enough candidates in the territory for the local elections? There are signals that you have areas where there are weaker candidates from AUR to help those from PSD. For example, such an area would be Buzau county.

George Simion: We will have formidable candidates everywhere in the country, including in Harghita and Covasna. We will fight equally, everywhere, with the PSD structure and the PNL annex. In some counties, including Buzau, they tried to infiltrate us. We know of some, some we fired, it's a laborious process. We are just now learning to do party politics.

"Besides being the youngest party president, I'm probably the most Russophobic"

Reporter: When will you have a list of candidates for the big cities?

George Simion: We won't have an actual list. If you want, the full list will probably be ready immediately after the European elections, in the first week or in the first month after that, when we will make an official release. Until then we will announce the candidates for each of the big cities. After Bucharest, the next candidate we will announce will be for the position of mayor of Râmnicu-Vâlcea and then the one for Constanţa.

Reporter: How did AUR manage to take over in 2020 an important part of the Diaspora electorate that had voted in the previous elections in 2016 and in the 2019 European Parliament elections with USR?

George Simion: It's simple: people want to be led by someone else. They gave a chance to the USR, which did nothing to live up to expectations, so the electorate reoriented. And we, when we get to government, if we don't demonstrate, the world will reorient to something else.

Reporter: Pro or neutral regarding the future of the European Union?

George Simion: I am as pro as possible, but not in the form in which some people think, of a federal superstate. I want a Europe of nations where power is held by the capitals of the member states, not by a group of officials in Brussels.

Reporter: How do you answer those who accuse you of being on the side of the Russian Federation?

George Simion: In addition to being the youngest party president, I am probably the most Russophobic. I have seen the Moscow propaganda and how it is close to creating a new nation on Romanian lands, in the Republic of Moldova, an invented nation, and that is why I am Russophobic.

Reporter: Why do you think that the Chisinau authorities do not lift the ban on you entering the Republic of Moldova?

George Simion: The Chisinau authorities sincerely hate the idea of uniting the Republic of Moldova with Romania because they lose their functions, advantages and benefits. This is the main reason, because I advocate for the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania.

Reporter: If you are Russophobic, does that mean you are pro-American?

George Simion: I am pro-Romanian and that's it. Our logical allies at the moment are the USA and the advantage is that it is far from us, and the member states of NATO and the EU. It's much better than having an older brother nearby, as we had to live under the Ottomans and Habsburgs all the time, who increased our beer and cut down our forests in exchange for military protection.

Reporter: How do you comment on the new conflict in Israel? Whose side is the truth?

George Simion: The truth is always in the middle. We had an initial situation where terrorists attacked some defenseless people. Such a thing must be condemned, those concerned must be brought to justice and severely punished. Furthermore, Romania has been a mediator throughout time in the Arab world, between Israel and the Arab countries. We must return to this posture and contribute to world peace. These conflicts only favor economic interests, the interests of the arms industry, and interests foreign to anything that would mean humanity.

"We want the labor tax to be reduced to 25% for the first 5.000 lei"

Reporter: Because we are in a difficult economic situation, what does AUR propose to get out of this situation?

George Simion: We have a program of government that is in the phase of public debate. We are working on substantiating all the measures listed there. New proposals have arrived that we will introduce into the government program. We want the state to regain control over the country's natural resources, create jobs by allowing Romanian entrepreneurship to function and by lending it to the banking sector that will grant preferential loans, with interest rates below 1%, for Romanian capital. If necessary, we will also do them by the state, if CEC and EximBank are not enough. We want the reduction of labor taxation for the first 5.000 lei to 25% - currently the taxation is 47% - and the simplification of the budget apparatus, i.e. the return in the next 10 years from 1.3 million state employees to 800.000 people employed in the sector budget, as much as they were at the beginning of the 2000s. We thus want to rid the local and central administrations of party members, because that's where the bug is. In no case do we have a problem, on the contrary, the low remuneration of teachers, policemen and soldiers creates dysfunctions. And to the working officials: because one is working and four others from the party are rubbing the mint.

Reporter: Are you for or against maintaining special pensions for certain categories of dignitaries?

George Simion: We are against special pensions. Everyone has to pay into the state system.

Reporter: December 1 is approaching. What message do you have for Romania's National Day?

George Simion: Romanians must maintain their hope. The most painful thing that happened to us is that many Romanians lost this hope. The world should not be discouraged, especially on the occasion of national days that remind us of the greatness of this people. We can do more and better and we will do it together. We do not despair.

Reporter: Thank you.

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