Religious Interactions of the Romanian Political Parties. Case Study: The Christian-Democratic Connection

Article excerpt

Over the past 20 years, along with official endeavors directed towards the accession of Romania into the European structures, political parties tried to integrate themselves into wider European families. Approaching the European People's Party (the most prominent group in the European Parliament) - dominated by Christian democrats whose existence was largely influenced by the Catholic social teaching - seemed to be one of the most difficult tasks. For their first European elections held in 2007 several Romanian political parties - apart from the National Christian Democrat Peasant Party (a member of the European Christian Democratic Union since 1987) - changed their orientation and claimed themselves as Christian Democratic. This article intends to explore the extent to which Romanian political parties who assert themselves as Christian-democratic can be considered to belong to this political family or whether their claim has a rather administrative motivation.

Key Words:

Christian-democracy, Romanian political parties, PNTCD, UDMR, PD-L.

The Christian democracy has been at the heart of the European edifice since its beginnings. It has mainly contributed to its design and successful development meant to unify the Old Continent. Neither the Liberals, nor the Socialists could claim to have offered such an inspiring impetus to the process of European unification as it happened in the innermost circles of the post-war Christian democracy where the project took shape and was put into motion thanks to a number of resolutely European politicians. The support of Christian Democrats has remained crucial to the destiny of European construction up to the present day. As representatives of a political programme that came into being at the moment when the interests of the Catholic Church, after it reconsidered its social mission, and those of the political organisations aiming to promote the traditional spiritual values and the social well-being began to overlap, the Christian Democrats themselves have benefited from a widespread support for this project in key European countries. Following the last enlargement of the European Union to Romania and Bulgaria, eyebrows were raised with regard to the viability of a Christian democratic insertion on the Orthodox soil since the majority of population in both countries belongs to this denomination. The issue becomes even more substantial to be dealt with if we take into consideration the fact that the Judeo-Christian roots of Europe also include a strong Orthodox component1. However, we consider that the intrinsic difficulties of the interactions between Christian democracy and politics in an Orthodox context have already been revealed by the complex agenda of the constant dialogue between the European People's Party (as a wider forum of representation for the European Christian Democrats) and the Orthodox Church started in 1996. On the other hand, we should mention the reticence of Romanian political parties in securing connections with Christian democratic players on the European political stage prior to the accession of Romania into the European Union.

We share the opinion that, especially with regard to the later remark, a rather general analysis of the opportunity to sow the seeds of Christian democracy on Romanian soil will necessarily have to deal with the issue of doctrinaire affiliation of Romanian political parties. According to an already well-established pattern, parties tend to disregard political doctrines which they consider to be of no interest for the wide public and not relevant for an effective contract with their electorate. They are regarded only as vehicles to achieve a European affiliation2. Over and over again they are inclined to replace their political programme, as confirmed by the democratic vote of the electorate, with an ever vacillating list of interests of limited concern3. Several reasons such as the local mentality and the speed of changes occurring in the post-communist Romania were put forward to explain that was little room left for ideological subtleties4. …