Although Romania is to join the European Union in 1 or 2 years' time, common Europeans don't know much about the country that is to join the Brussels club. To a certain extent, Romania's case resembles Portugal's, as the latter country lacked a well-defined image inside the Union. This is the opinion expressed by Michael Metzeltin, a professor at the Romanian Studies Department of Vienna University. Professor Metzeltin delivered conference "Romania's Importance for Europe" in the opening of the 3rd session of the Romanian Forum in Vienna. Professor Thede Kahl from the Austrian Institute of South Eastern European Studies arranged the event, along with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Embassy in Austria and the Romanian Cultural Center in Vienna. This year's Forum was attended by Romanian and foreign researchers interested in Romania.
Romania's image problem is mainly caused by the fact that in Western mass media there prevail various cliches about the export of thieves and prostitutes, stray dogs and orphaned children, says Professor Metzeltin. At a time when Romania is about to be admitted in the European Union, the professor claims Turkey is a country less European than Romania and then elaborates on the main values our country will bring to the European Union. (...)