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George Negrea, old Dacia cars' collector folk singer who promotes Romania in Poland

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A young folk singer who loves the old Dacia cars, from Satu Mare county, who has been promoting Romania in Poland for at least 10 years, has managed a year ago to get a job at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Warsaw, thus having an official position from which he can support in another way Romanian culture.

George Negrea started his musical career in the northwestern city of Satu Mare, being a singer of folk and patriotic music, having several of his own compositions that he managed to put on a CD. He worked as a journalist at a county publication, after which he got a job at the County Center for the Conservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture in Satu Mare, and for a year now he managed to occupy a position of cultural project coordinator at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.

His connection with the people of Poland took shape about 10 years ago, when he met the people from Drum Bun, a club of Poles who own several old Dacia cars and who speak Romanian. They started organizing events and caravans together. The Poles from Krakow even opened a Romanian pub where Romanian products are served, with a club of Romanian speakers.

"The main goal is to promote Romanian culture to the Poles. The materials and almost everything we do here is in Polish. We do film and photography festivals, thematic exhibitions, even concerts. That was the idea, that's why I've managed to come. I have 10 years of experience with Poland, with those from Krakow. I started with those from Drum Bun, with Dacia car enthusiasts. From there we ended up doing cultural tourism promotion for us in Poland and the Poles in Romania. It was reciprocity," George confessed.

According to him, Romanians have a very good image in Poland.

"Emphasis was placed on polishing Romania's image, however Romanians are not seen badly in Poland, due to several historical situations. The most important aspect would be the one in which the gold of Poland was saved by the Romanians in the Second World War, the Government of Poland was a refugee in Romania's northeastern Iasi when Poland was occupied by the Germans. They have respect for the Romanians," says George.

He did not part with his almost 50-year-old Dacia car, but took it with him to Warsaw and parks it in front of the Embassy, thus attracting the attention of passers-by.

"It was like going back in time. I participated again this year and contributed to the organization of the Drum Bun meeting, which was held in the south-west of Poland. About 60 cars were present, of which 20 were from Romania," George Negrea said.

He found the Dacia he owns by chance. A young man wanted to scrap it and invited him to take some parts if he needed, knowing that George has old Dacia cars. Seeing it, George bought it all, for the sum of 800 RON.

"It's a Dacia 1300 from '74. With this car I went to the sea almost every summer with the caravan. In 6 years I did almost 60,000 km without any major repair, apart from a serious tire or a broken bearing," George recalls.

The next action George Negrea will organise is on 2 December, in Wieliczka, a locality near Krakow, where the National Day of Romania will be celebrated, with the support of the town hall there and the County Center for the Conservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture Satu Mare. It will be a Romanian show for Poles.

His career in diplomacy brought him another status, so he is more reserved on the musical side.

"I sing more in private. We meet with friends from Krakow, we make a campfire, we go for a walk with the Dacia cars. I haven't composed anymore. My album came out with two bilingual Polish-Romanian songs. In a diplomatic environment you cannot afford to make mistakes because you can immediately trigger an unpleasant situation," he considers.

His plans are to complete his mission in Poland, and then, if possible, to apply what he has learned to Satu Mare.

"At the moment, I want to fulfill my mission successfully. I am on a 4-year mandate, with the possibility of extension or going to another country. At the moment, my thought is to return home and put into practice what I learned here. There are things that are missing in Satu Mare, from the way of organizing the events, their level, there are certain protocol codes, I noticed what mistakes the administrations make when arranging the flags as well. The way you use the national symbol is quite strict, defined by law, it's really a law, but it's kind of overlooked. Some seem trivial and a lot of people overlook it," George pointed out.

In order to be accepted in diplomacy, he followed a six-month specialization course at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he learned a lot.

"For Romanians, Poles are the number 1 tourists who visit Romania. Unfortunately, it is not an official statistics because Polish tourists do not go to Romania on packages and it is not their evidence. I went to Vama Veche (Black Sea coast, ed. n.) with the caravan and five caravans on the left five on the right were Poles," recounts George Negrea.

He feels that there is a lack of promotion on the tourism side, because more Poles would come on holidays in Romania, but there are no tourist packages.AGERPRES

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