In a wide article dedicated to the way Romanian people will spend their Christmas, The Economist writes about the two major concerns: it costs a lot and the way Romanian sacrifice their pigs is not accepted by the European regulations. Of course, the main source of discontent refers to the European rules.
Speaking of money, the European Commission threatens to freeze a 180 million Euro financing in case Romania doesn’t abide the term to instate the anti-fraud control authorities.
“So far, ordinary Romanians are not up in arms about this. It helps that most commentators blame the government for the fiasco”, The Economist reads.
Still, when it comes to the second part of the problem, this is “more explosive”: “It involves persistent suggestions that the EU's animal-welfare rules may stop Romanians from slaughtering pigs for Christmas in their backyards. This tradition survived even the dark, kill-joy years of communism”, the paper reads.
So, the main weapon id\s hope: hope that EU won’t notice what happens: “As their first Euro-Christmas approaches, Romanian officials are expressing hopes that the feared Brussels crackdown will not happen. They have warned the commission that messing around with Christmas would be the quickest way to poison Romanians' rather perky attitude to the EU”, the paper comments.
“The message seems to have been heard: the signs are that Brussels will turn a blind eye to festive law-breaking on a massive scale.
In the words of one EU official, “I can hardly foresee infringement procedures against traditional Romanian farmers on this front.” There are so many problems that are “more pressing”, starting with payment controls to ensure that farm subsidies get into the right hands.
The problem over pigs is simple. Since it joined the EU on January 1st 2007, Romania has been bound by a directive on animal welfare that allows pigs, goats and sheep to be killed at home for personal consumption only if they are stunned with a special device before their throats are cut. That is not going to happen in most backyards.
There are some 4.5m farms and smallholdings in Romania. Astonishingly, this country of 22m people has almost a third of all the farm holdings in the EU. Many are run as subsistence farms, with a cow or two, plus horses for ploughing and transport. (The village scenes in “Borat” were filmed not in Kazakhstan but in Romania.)”, The Economist reminds, for those quickly forgetful.