Living in Romania means being at the top: at the top of the European Union's lists for national poverty, car accidents, alcohol consumption, mental illness, fuel taxes and some other things I'm too modest to repeat.
Romania joined the EU in 2007 but this doesn't seem to have helped us overcome any of these problems or get any closer to the supposedly more sophisticated European lifestyle we've craved ever since the fall of Communism. This year, however, the National Liberal Party came up with a solution that I can really see changing things for us—a transition from Eastern European Time (EET) to Central European Time (CET)!
This genius proposal is at the heart of the party's campaign for the European Parliamentary Elections on May 25th. "With this measure, we want to show that we share the same values as Western Europe and we also want to increase the economical and social efficiency," they explained. "We want to have the same hours as the big European cities so we can correct the differences between us, differences that are not justified,” the party added in a press release.
The whole thing is rounded up with a video ad in which they explain the benefits of this route of action: We Romanians will all be able to wish each other a Happy New Year at the same time, work the same hours as the rest of Europe, and never again will our phone calls wake up our poor immigrant aunt who's picking strawberries somewhere in Spain, possibly under the watchful eye of a slaveowner. (More than 7 percent of the Romanian working population has left for real Europe.)
"England is the only country that is one hour behind CET," proclaims the voiceover. "But then again, they drive on the wrong side of the road, have different money and eat sausages with beans."
But what seems to me like the most aberrant thing in the clip is the idea that if Romanians don’t vote for the liberals and their timezone change, it means that we're choosing to be the allies of Putin and Russia, as our former dictator Nicolae Ceașescu decided back when he changed the timezone in 1979.
“Did you know that a month ago Crimea switched to Russia’s timezone? That shows that a state’s time has nothing to do with meridians, nor parallels, nor timezones, but with political decisions. That is the hour that Ceaușescu chose to be closer to Moscow. In 2014, it is our duty to get rid of him for good. We are no longer stupid people.”
FYI, the campaign's slogan is "Vote for the Eurochampions!"