Eurovision, Migration, Romanian Kids & Workaway Parents

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 5/20/2015 01:30:00 AM
Cherishing those rare time mum is home in Romania.
It's that time of the year again when that quintessential display of European unity (really) and sheer weirdness comes around. Yes, it is time for Eurovision 2015.  In recent years, winners have included Finnish Klingons in Lordi and a bearded Austrian transgender, er, performer in Conchita Wurst. Like most entertainment, it is larger than life and over the top--but not always. This year, we have performers tackling the rather more serious but quite common issue of transnational families within the European Union separated by economic migration.

Given that the Romanian economy has never really taken off in quite the same way as, say, Poland, outmigration continues apace. Hence, the phenomenon of transnational families where the parent(s) work abroad and the children stay at home has become a prevalent social issue. As it so happens, Romania's entry tackles just this issue since there are some 3 million Romanians working elsewhere out of  a population of 20 million. That's a lot of economic migrants:
With just days to go before they perform at the Eurovision song contest, the Romanian pop-rock group Voltaj are rehearsing their hearts out. For them, the competition is not just about representing their country but also about giving voice to thousands of children who grow up alone in Romania, with parents forced to go West to find work. The five-member band is well established in the ex-communist state, now the European Union's second-poorest after Bulgaria, and home to some 20 million people.
They are hoping their performance will touch viewers elsewhere in Europe--including countries of destination:
Their ballad "All Over Again" draws attention to an oft-ignored flipside of European migration -- the youngsters left behind. The problem affects "whole generations of children" who face "severe, long-term trauma" because they are forced to make it through their formative years without parents' support, Voltaj singer Calin Goia told AFP. "I've been asked whether I think the subject matter will interest a foreign audience. And I think it will, because the topic of child-parent relationships is universal," he said.
Transnational families are actually a fairly widespread phenomenon in new EU member states like Romania and Bulgaria:
Some 350,000 Romanian children -- almost 10 percent of the country's total child population -- have at least one parent living abroad, according to Save the Children and Alternative Sociale, another NGO. The government puts the figure much lower at 82,339. In neighbouring Bulgaria, 267,000 children share their lot, according to a recent study by the Partners Bulgaria foundation. The children are cared for by grandparents or aunts and uncles, though some live in state-run households as they wait for their parents to return.
The performance by Voltaj is quite good, actually, but you have to wonder if a rather less flamboyant, smaller-gestured song can win at a competition where the incredibly oddball have higher visibility. Maybe if they performed the song as cross-gendered, bearded Klingon women they'd have a better chance if winning? At any rate, I wish Voltaj the best in bringing to light social issues faced in the former Eastern Europe partly resulting from regional integration.