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Cristian-George Gherasim

Bucharest, Romania
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About Cristian-George
Cristian Gherasim has been writing for Euronews, EUobserver, CGTN Europe, EU Reporter, Katoikos.
With a particular focus on regional and European social and political affairs his articles have been shared, liked and commented upon thousands of times. His Euronews and EUobserver stories over exclusive insight and premium interviews with top controversial decision makers always picked up by regional national publications.

Interview (Video / Broadcast) News Gathering Feature Stories
Fact Checking

Giuliani's Letter to Romanian President Sparks Controversy

22 Aug 2023  |  euronews
Rudy Giuliani, former NYC mayor and personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, sent a letter to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis criticizing the National Anticorruption Agency (DNA) and suggesting an amnesty for those convicted by the agency. Giuliani's remarks contradict the US State Department's support of DNA's anti-corruption efforts. Giuliani claims his letter was independent of the US government, written on behalf of his security firm and under retainer for Freeh Group, which represents convicted businessman Gabriel Popoviciu. The letter caused diplomatic confusion, with the US Embassy in Romania distancing itself from Giuliani's views and Romanian politicians and NGO leaders criticizing Giuliani's involvement as self-serving and influenced by corrupt interests.

Italian Parliament Passes Controversial Electoral Reform Bill

04 May 2023  |  Katoikos
The Italian Parliament has passed a new electoral reform bill, known as the Italicum, with a vote of 334 to 61. The reform, championed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, aims to stabilize the fragmented political landscape in Italy, which has seen four governments since 2010. The bill maintains proportional representation but introduces a 15% seat bonus for any party that secures at least 40% of the vote. Critics argue that the reform could consolidate Renzi's power and diminish parliamentary influence. The law will be effective from July 2016, and is part of a broader plan that includes transforming the Senate into a non-elected body, pending a referendum. The reform has been met with both support and opposition within the Italian political sphere.

Smuggling cigarettes is big business in Romania

05 Apr 2023  |  euronews
The article discusses the prevalence of cigarette smuggling in Romania, highlighting that the country is a significant contributor to the EU's contraband cigarette market. It emphasizes the economic disparity in regions bordering Ukraine and Moldova, where smuggling offers a much higher income than legal employment. Smugglers face various risks, including treacherous terrain and law enforcement, but the high profit margins make it an attractive illegal trade. Despite efforts by authorities and tobacco companies to combat the issue, smuggling remains rampant, with recent seizures of 75 million illegal cigarettes and the arrest of nearly 400 individuals. The illicit trade is causing substantial revenue loss for the Romanian government, estimated at 670 million euros annually.

Artwork depicting health workers as saints stirs controversy in Romania

05 Apr 2023  |  euronews
Artwork in Bucharest depicting health workers as saints has sparked controversy, with the Romanian Orthodox Church criticizing the campaign for being blasphemous and an abuse of Christian iconography. The posters, created by Romanian illustrator Wanda Hutira in collaboration with McCann Worldgroup, aimed to thank medical staff for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some healthcare professionals and a Catholic clergyman appreciated the artwork, others, including the wife of a businessman and former politician, found it offensive. Bucharest City Hall has requested the removal of the posters to avoid offending the public's faith. The incident highlights the tension between artistic expression and religious sentiment in a predominantly Orthodox Christian country.

Romania's EU election candidates are a colourful bunch

01 Apr 2023  |  euronews
The article by Cristian Gherasim discusses the diverse range of candidates from Romania for the upcoming European Parliament elections. Traian Basescu, a former Romanian president, is leading the Popular Movement Party's list with ambitions to reform the EU. The Social Democrats are aiming for a significant victory and feature candidates like Chris Terhes, a suspended clergyman, and Carmen Avram, a journalist turned politician. Rares Bogdan, another journalist, is leading the National Liberal Party's list. Iurie Leanca, an ex-Prime Minister of Moldova, is running with the Pro Romania party. Sports personalities like Ilie Nastase and Anghel Iordanescu are candidates for the UNPR. The 2020 Alliance USR PLUS includes Dacian Ciolos and French-Romanian Clotilde Armand. The ALDE party, part of the ruling coalition, is also expected to secure seats, with incumbents and new candidates on its list.

Cash-for-licences scam uncovered in Romania

01 Dec 2020  |  euronews
The article by Cristian Gherasim reports on a corruption scandal in Romania involving driving instructors, police officers, and government officials. The country's anti-corruption agency, DNA, conducted raids in the Suceava region and discovered evidence of a cash-for-licenses scheme. The network allegedly issued driving licenses and car registration documents in return for bribes. The cost for passing the driving test was between €300 and €1,500, while the theory test could cost between €3,000 and €6,000. Additionally, vehicle licensing paperwork was provided for a fee, even for vehicles with major defects or incomplete documents. The DNA has detained 14 people in connection with the criminal network.

Romania's parliament votes to repatriate gold reserves amid controversy

16 May 2020  |  euronews
Romania's parliament has passed a law requiring the repatriation of 91.5% of its gold reserves, which amounts to about 56 tonnes, from foreign vaults, primarily the Bank of England. The move, championed by the ruling Social Democrat Party and its leader Liviu Dragnea, is based on the argument that Romania's stable economy no longer justifies the high storage costs abroad. However, the National Bank of Romania and financial experts oppose the legislation, suggesting it could jeopardize the country's economic stability and borrowing capacity. Critics, including a former finance minister and a former presidential adviser, argue that keeping the gold abroad is a safeguard for foreign lenders. The bill is being contested at the Constitutional Court amid concerns of nationalism and anti-Western sentiment. Social media has also reacted with satire to the proposal.

Romanian schoolgirl's plea for a smartphone to follow online classes goes viral

06 May 2020  |  euronews
In Romania, schools have been closed since March 11 due to COVID-19, impacting students' ability to continue their education, especially in rural areas with limited internet access. A viral story emerged about a 14-year-old girl from Șuletea who wrote to her mayor asking for a smartphone to keep up with her studies. The mayor, Ciprian Tamaş, responded positively and shared her request on social media, leading to donations from around the world. The girl's school reported that 37 students lacked smartphones for homework. World Vision Romania highlighted that nearly 40% of rural Romanian households have no internet, and about half lack a computer. Vaslui County, where the girl resides, is one of the poorest in Romania and the EU, with high dropout rates and schools in dire conditions.

Is this Romania's answer to Edward Scissorhands?

20 Mar 2019  |  euronews
Nicolae Robu, the mayor of Timisoara, Romania, cut communication cables in the city center, affecting internet services during a key exam period. This drastic action was taken due to a dispute with telecommunications providers who allegedly ignored requests to move their cables underground, as required by local law. The mayor's actions impacted eight cable operators, schools participating in the mock Baccalaureate exam, and residents who lost internet and television services. Robu defended his actions on Facebook, stating his campaign would continue until the issue was fully resolved. The local Consumer Protection Unit is considering legal action to determine if the mayor and city hall had the authority to remove the cables.

Romanian politicians seek asylum abroad to escape corruption charges

31 May 2018  |  euronews
The article by Cristian Gherasim discusses the cases of three Romanian politicians—Radu Mazare, Elena Udrea, and Sebastian Ghita—who have sought asylum in foreign countries to escape what they claim is political persecution in Romania. Radu Mazare, a former mayor, has moved to Madagascar and is seeking asylum there after being sentenced for abuse of office. Elena Udrea, an ex-minister, fled to Costa Rica and is considering seeking help from the UN. Sebastian Ghita, a former MP, is in Serbia fighting extradition. The article touches on Romania's anti-corruption efforts and the EU's stance on the matter, as well as the World Justice Project's ranking of Romania's rule of law.

EU Reporter

Romanian PM pledges not to backtrack on corruption

11 Jul 2017  |  EUobserver
Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, during his first visit to Brussels, assured EU officials that his government would not backtrack on anti-corruption reforms. This visit comes after the controversial attempt by his predecessor, Sorin Grindeanu, to decriminalize certain misconduct offences, which was met with EU disapproval and mass protests in Romania. Tudose emphasized his commitment to maintaining an open government and strengthening the judicial system to eventually lift the EU's Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) by 2019. The article also touches on the political tension in Romania, where the ruling coalition ousted Grindeanu, who was at odds with party leader Liviu Dragnea. The European Commission has reiterated its warning that Romanian political developments should not hinder anti-corruption efforts. A correction was made to the article to accurately name Liviu Dragnea.

Donald Trump has already won

16 Aug 2016  |  Katoikos
The article discusses Donald Trump's approach to running for the U.S. presidency, suggesting that winning may not be his ultimate goal. It portrays Trump as a 'brand hustler' who has used his campaign to increase his fame and financial gain. The article references how Trump's revenue has increased since his campaign began, citing specific figures from his financial disclosure report. It also touches on the notion that Trump's erratic behavior and controversial statements might indicate a desire to lose the election, highlighting an anecdote about offering the vice presidency to John Kasich with extensive powers. The article concludes by considering the possibility of Trump winning and his hint at potentially walking away from the presidency, framing his campaign as potentially the biggest hustle in modern democracy.

Unfortunate mishap or calculated risk?

14 Aug 2016  |  VoxEurop
The article discusses the controversial appointment of Boris Johnson as the UK's Foreign Secretary. It highlights the challenges he faced early in his tenure, including being booed at the French Embassy and dealing with international crises. The piece suggests that his appointment may be a political gamble by Prime Minister Theresa May to consolidate the Conservative Party and signal a commitment to Brexit. It argues that while the Foreign Office's influence has waned, Johnson's charisma and popularity could be beneficial. The article also contemplates the potential impact of populists like Johnson in government, suggesting it could either lead to failure or the normalization of their politics, which might diminish the appeal of populism in Europe.

Could Brexit signal a Trump victory?

08 Jul 2016  |  Katoikos
The article discusses the similarities between the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, highlighting the common factors of populism, economic anxiety, immigration concerns, and a general disdain for the political establishment. It notes that both movements have capitalized on the frustrations of primarily older, white, working-class, and less-educated individuals who feel threatened by globalization, technological change, and demographic shifts. The piece also touches on the issues of national identity and border security, which have been central to both the Brexit and Trump campaigns. While it doesn't predict the outcome of the U.S. election, the article suggests that the success of Brexit could indicate a strong showing for Trump due to the similar underlying forces at play.

Europe’s tradition of backing Democrats

26 Jun 2016  |  Katoikos
The article discusses Europe's preference for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, over the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, in the 2016 US presidential election. Historically, Europeans have aligned with the center-left American politics, supporting Democratic candidates like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. This trend continues with Clinton, despite her being the candidate with the highest unfavorable rating in 30 years. The primary reason for Europe's support seems to be fear of a Trump presidency, which is seen as a threat to Europe's security and its relationship with the US. Trump's anti-establishment stance and controversial remarks have made him an unpopular choice in Europe. The article suggests that a Clinton victory would maintain the status quo and keep populist tendencies at bay, which is viewed as the best outcome by European officials.

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