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Bernie Sanders Ticks Off Romanians On Twitter Over Internet Speed Tweet

Pointing out America's inadequacies is a common tactic in U.S. presidential campaigns, but sometimes the jabs backfire. That happened this week to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders when he took on Internet speeds in the U.S.

His observation Wednesday drew a flurry of annoyed responses on both sides of the Atlantic. Many Romanians rejected what they viewed as an implication their country — one of the poorest in the European Union — did not deserve having better internet than the United States.

And Claudia Ciobanu, a Romanian freelance journalist based in Poland, tweeted:

Some Americans also poked fun at Sanders.

The truth is Romania does overall have better Internet speeds than the U.S. According to the latest "State of the Internet" report by the content delivery network Akamai, Romania came in eighth in its global ranking for average peak speeds in the third quarter of 2015. The U.S., by comparison, was in 21st place.

All I can say is that I am envious here in Berlin. Germany, which like Romania is in the EU and is the bloc's economic giant, ranked even worse. It came in 32nd place for peak speeds.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.