Antonescu says Culture Minister should resign





The PNL leader believes Barbu’s remarks on the funds for HIV/AIDS patients could trigger his resignation.
PNL Chairman Crin Antonescu harshly criticized yesterday the recent statements issued by Minister of Culture Daniel Barbu (PNL) about the HIV/AIDS budget, judging that they “can trigger his resignation as minister.” “It is hard to imagine which is the cause of these words, or such blunders, and it is utterly sad that true intellectuals, people who read a lot of books and who wrote really good books, can issue such statements,” said Antonescu, quoted by Mediafax, during a press statement at the Senate.
The PNL chairman said he had no time to talk to Barbu about this topic so far. “My viewpoint is that such statement, no matter the reasons or the background behind it, can trigger a minister’s resignation, no matter how good he is and how much praise he previously received,” said Antonescu. He added that the resignation from a position of minister is not a dishonor or a shame: “On the contrary, strong people with a clean conscience can resign.”
Minister Daniel Barbu participated on Sunday at several events under the name “SpectActor at the National Theatre in Craiova and after they finished, he gave answers to some questions put by those present in the hall. Among the answers given by the minister was also the one referring to the large sum allocated to the programme meant to prevent and fight HIV/AIDS. “In my opinion, we are not in South Africa. There are not millions of people affected by this hideous scourge of our times. I personally do not understand. I was shaken when I realized how many Shakespeare festivals or how much larger we could have made this event, the Shakespeare Festival in Craiova, if that programme had been removed or halved,” said Minister Daniel Barbu.
Later, the Ministry of Culture issued a release stating that Barbu “expresses his deep regrets,” “the unfortunate comparison” between the budget to prevent HIV and the budget of the programmes of the ministry he leads and apologizes to “all those who felt offended by these inappropriate statements.”
“The conference was themed The Cultural Status: history, memory and crises.” After the conference, at the informal session of questions and answers, intending to illustrate the changes which the funding policies of the cultural programmes and events most of the European states undergo, Romania included, the minister resorted to a comparison between the budget of a public health programme and the budget of the Minister of Culture. Although he didn’t target any persons but only programmes and funding levels, the comparison was utterly inappropriate, as well as the ensuing ideas. The Minister of Culture deeply regrets it and apologizes to all who felt offended and hurt by these inappropriate statements,” read the press statement.

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