Daniel Ionita is midway through his first posting as an ambassador, after earlier serving as deputy head of mission at Romania’s embassy in Stockholm and then at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, specializing in security and defense policies and arms control. Now he’s spending a lot of time monitoring debate over Romanian migrant poor in Norway, but must remain mostly on the sidelines. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no
“I’m cautious,” says Romania’s ambassador to Norway, Daniel Ionita, before agreeing to share his thoughts on the presence of thousands of beggars in Norwegian cities and towns. Many are from his country, and they’ve created one of the most troublesome issues now facing Norwegian officials at both the state and local levels.
Ionita readily admits he’s in an awkward situation, eager to help but bound by diplomatic restraint. He’s acutely aware that he can’t and won’t meddle in the affairs of local officials in the host country where’s he’s posted. “It’s not up to me, a humble Romanian diplomat, to tell the Norwegian authorities what to do,” he told newsinenglish.no during a lengthy interview at the Romanian Embassy in Oslo last week. “Only they can decide what are the best measures for this social issue that’s become such a big political issue.”
Ionita stresses the “social” aspect of the migrant poor, most of them Roma folk from eastern Europe and not all from Romania. “They are coming to Norway and searching for the good life,” he said. “But this is neither just a Norwegian problem nor a Romanian problem, it is a European problem. It involves 10 million to 12 million people, and it is a problem of social exclusion.”