Claudia Ciobanu


Claudia Ciobanu

Warsaw-based freelance reporter covering Central and Eastern Europe


Romania ‘turns illiberal’ with moves against gay marriage

Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland.
Politico Link to Story

Poland’s WWII museum under political bombardment

So sure was the staff of Poland’s new Museum of the Second World War that the country’s government would not like it, that it was advertised with the slogan, “See it before they close it.”. Since the museum opened its doors in March, its director, Paweł Machcewicz, has lost his job and the museum has been combined with another institution.
Politico Link to Story

Poland Seals Europe’s Eastern Frontier as E.U. Turns a Blind Eye

For almost a year, the Polish Border Guard has been turning away most Chechens and other asylum seekers arriving on the border with Belarus. The E.U. has kept largely silent – and has its own interest in keeping the bloc’s eastern border shut.
Refugees Deeply Link to Story

Caucasus "land grab" feared in remote UNESCO heritage site

UPPER SVANETI, Georgia - For the people of Upper Svaneti, a remote sliver of land nestled high in the gorges of Georgia, the last words uttered by the dying are portents of the future. Residents say the same ominous rattle has echoed over so many of its death beds this past year - "The Svans are in danger, be careful" - that villagers are now braced for battle.
Reuters Link to Story

Romania's gift of hope to the world

On the afternoon of February 5 citizens in Bucharest marched simultaneously from several neighbourhoods across the city, converging on Piata Victoriei where the government building is located. The symbolism of this march was splendid: the grassroots coming together from the smallest corners to stand up to a central government perceived as abusive.
Al Jazeera Link to Story

With this victory Romania’s protesters have truly proved their mettle

Sorin Grindeanu, the Romanian prime minister, announced last night that the government will “find a legal way” to withdraw decrees that protesters say will decriminalise and shield corruption. An executive order that reduces penalties for abuse of power prompted hundreds of thousands of people across Romania to come out in protest, when it was adopted last Tuesday.
The Guardian Link to Story

Romania seeks World Heritage status for Transylvania village in gold mine row

Romania has asked the United Nations to make a Transylvanian village boasting 18th century houses and intact Roman mining shafts into a World Heritage site in a surprise 11th hour move that could protect it from a gold mine project.
Reuters/ NYT Link to Story

Gay Polish mayor becomes opposition icon

Poland’s right-wing government has put it on the fringes of Europe on issues that include abortion, migration and democracy. But a charismatic 40-year-old mayor is leading a counter-cultural charge from the Baltic coast city of Słupsk.
Politico Link to Story

Poland's disappearing lakes fuel battle over coal mining

WILCZYN, Poland - In early summer, the Wielkopolska region in western Poland looks like a scene from "The Hobbit" with intense green fields and lakes surrounded by dense forest and pretty cottages. But there is growing disquiet in this rural idyll with more and more summer houses up for sale and farmers battling arid land and crop losses amid escalating protests about the impact of lignite coal mining in the area.
Reuters Link to Story

What will Europe do for the dispossessed at its fringes?

The EU has an important role in the quest for fairer societies. Our similarities are greater than our differences, and shutting doors on each other won’t solve anything
The Guardian Link to Story

Swallowed by a coal mine: the village that disappeared

Villagers in Runcurel, Romania were given 30 days to leave their homes and make way for a coal mine. Now, they are revolting.
Reuters/ NYT Link to Story

Burning of a Rainbow in Poland

Warsaw's main boulevard, Marszalkowska, and neighbouring areas turned into a war zone on the Independence Day March on November 11.
Al-Jazeera Link to Story


Claudia Ciobanu

I've been covering Central and Eastern Europe for almost a decade now, moving gradually from a focus on political and socio-economic issues in my native Romania to broader themes such as the environment, social movements and migration. I like writing comparative and regional stories and would love to have more chances to do reportage. I have an MA in Political Science from Central European University in Budapest and have studied both in the US and in the UK.

My stories have been recently "highly commended" in the Reporting Europe Prize 2013: