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Romania’s less-than-discerning press corps last week reported with barely-disguised joy that the United States had announced plans to finance – to the tune of seven billion US dollars – the construction of a motorway linking the Baltic and Black Seas. What’s more, a railway would be built alongside the motorway.
It didn’t take long for maps of this as yet imaginary infrastructure bonanza to appear, optimistically showing potential routes linking Constanța in Romania with Gdańsk in Poland, some passing through Hungary and Slovakia, others cutting a path through Ukraine. Finally, wrote the over-excited hacks, after decades of waiting, the Americans were coming to save the day, filling the breach left by consecutive Romanian governments who have been unable – or simply unwilling – to construct decent road and rail infrastructure. In the imagination of some, TGVs would soon be running at high speed through the Romanian and Polish countryside.
This optimism is misplaced, and ignores entirely what was actually agreed between Romanian and US officials during a visit to Washington by the Romania’s economy minister, Virgil Popescu. After all, it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes of rational thought to realise that perhaps there had …
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