President Traian Basescu said on Friday that Premier Victor Ponta’s nominations for Minister for the Budget and Minister of Culture, specifically Claudiu Manda and Rozalia Biro, are inappropriate.
‘As far as the nominations are concerned, I consider them inappropriate, which however does not mean that I rejected them today,’ the head of state said at the Cotroceni Palace.
He levelled criticism at Minister of Culture nominee Rozalia Biro for her shaky understanding of Romanian language.
‘The nominee for the Ministry of Culture is Mrs. Rozalia Biro, who let everyone in Romania know that she has no biped in her family and it’s also from her that we learned that ever fewer bipeds are born in Romania these days. (The President referred to an episode of 2010 when then vice-mayor of Oradea Rozalia Biro fell for a radio prank, as a show host called her pretending to make a show about biped children. Obviously confusing ‘biped’ with ‘beggar’, Biro said that most biped children in Oradea come from other localities, stressing also that she had no biped in her family – Ed. note). I think that this here is a complicated problem that has to do with the understanding by a member of the Government of the Romanian language he should definitely master, and then there is another argument I have in mind in connection with this nomination: practically, the Ministry of Culture doesn’t have plenty of funds, but it’s a ministry that works with Romania’s intellectuals, with the creators of Romania, and to an extent of 90 percent, Romanian culture is the culture of Romanian language,’ said the head of the state.
President Basescu admitted that he appreciated former Culture Ministers Kelemen Hunor or Marko Bela, who were also endorsed by UDMR.
‘My criticism is not directed at a Minister who comes from the Hungarian minority, but I wouldn’t want Romania’s Minister of Culture to be haunted by stories of two-legged children in her family or wherever in the four corners of the country, which show a poor understanding of Romanian language,’ said the President.
In the President’s opinion, the Ministry of Culture, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are among the most sensitive portfolios, having a strong and stable component of representativeness of the Romanian culture, but also a strong note of Romanism. In this context, he stressed that it is essential that the Minister of Culture perfectly masters Romanian language.
At the same time, President Basescu assured that he is no supporter of the idea that a Ministry should necessarily be headed by a specialist.
Commenting on the nomination of Claudiu Manda for Budget Minister, Basescu said he too is unfit.
‘Mr. Claudiu Iulian Manda’s most complex experience so far is related to his position as director of the Craiova Students Centre. The only economic calculation done there is maybe the value of the tickets torn on a Saturday, whereas the Minister of the Budget has far broader responsibilities. The justification that Mr. deputy Manda sat on the Budget and Finance Commission is not a valid argument,’ underscored the head of the state, pointing out that the Commission does not discuss budget philosophy and priorities, but – to illustrate the magnitude of the issues dealt with – just handles earmarks for building a church, a footbridge or paint a school.
In this context, President Basescu insisted it would be wrong for the Ministry of Finance and the Culture Ministry to be cast in such a situation by the appointment of Claudiu Manda and Rozalia Biro.
‘I try to imagine how talks with the IMF, WB and EC would carry on with the two Ministers side by side: Ms. Petrescu trying to plug in the gaps produced by the CAS reduction and sort out the MTO issue with her soul, and Mr. Manda trying to solve the budget deficit issue with his experience from the Craiova Students Centre. Believe me that my situation is far from enjoyable and I assure you that I made every effort to understand the logic of these nominations made by the Prime Minister. I perfectly agree with the promotion of the youth and did it myself,’ underscored Basescu, adding that the young experts whom he promoted have all delivered, despite certain doubts in the beginning.
PM Ponta: I stick to my proposals for ministers sent to President for approval
Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Friday said he is going to stick to the proposals for Minister for the Budget and Minister of Culture, specifically Claudiu Manda and Rozalia Biro, he submitted to President Basescu for approval.
President Traian Basescu on Friday publicly urged Prime Minister Victor Ponta to reconsider his nominations for the portfolios of Budget and Culture, respectively.