Although it holds the Council presidency, Romania remains among a number of EU countries that do not recognise the legitimacy of the auto-proclaimed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
On 31 January, The European Parliament recognized Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó as the de facto head of state, with 439 MEPs in favor to 104 against and 88 abstentions, but the EU capitals are free to disregard the Parliament’s advice.
Nineteen EU countries have recognised Juan Guaidó. The remaining nine are: Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Ireland and Italy. In Italy, the tensions are brewing inside the governing coalition. The populist 5-Star Movement is against a recognition of the Venezuelan opposition leader, saying: “This government will never recognize people who appoint themselves president.”
Four out the nine EU countries that hesitate in recognizing the opposition candidate in Venezuela (Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus and Romania,) are at the same time the EU countries that together with Spain do not recognize Kosovo.
In the case of the non-recognition of Kosovo, the explanations are obvious: the five countries: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania have, all of them, problems with their ethnic minorities (unrecognized in Greece), or, as in the case of Spain, the specter of separatism. Slovakia and Romania have both problems (most of the time exaggerated) with their Hungarian minorities.
Romania is in a better situation here: in Romania, the Hungarian minority lives massively in the geometrical center of the country, far from the Hungarian border, while the Hungarian-populated region of Slovakia follows the contour of the frontier with Hungary.
But the case of Venezuela is different. The present Romanian coalition is led from the shadows by the Socialist leader (Social Democrat Party, PSD) Liviu Dragnea, a twice convicted man, on vote-rigging and corruption charges.
Dragnea’s first conviction, a two-year suspended sentence, came after after he was convicted of electoral fraud related to a referendum held in 2012.
Other electoral targets are fast approaching, the EU elections in May, the presidential election at the end of the year, and legislative elections next year. Dragnea would much want to run for president, quashing his previous convictions.
On this background, the Romanian government and diplomacy, placed totally under Dragnea’s control, could hardly caution a European move to annul elections in a country, be they deeply flawed, as was the case in the last presidential elections in Venezuela.
A political leader such as Dragnea, who was already convicted for vote-rigging, and who is facing future elections, cannot let himself be shown to hold a grudge against another political leader, Maduro, also accused of vote-rigging.
There is nothing fraudsters hate more than the Wheel of Fortune, the capricious nature of Fate that inexorably brings the downfall of the mighty.