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August 2, 2021

WikiLeaks: Chris Patten labels Romania “a wild state”

Moldovan Communist leader Voronin tried to give Democrat rival Marian Lupu USD 10 M for coalition deal, leaked cables reveal.

Former EU Commissioner for External Relations and British Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten in 2004 was stating Romania and Bulgaria were less prepared for EU accession than Croatia was, labelling Romania as a “wild state”, a WikiLeaks cable published by ‘The Guardian’ on Wednesday reveals.
In a discussion on April 27, 2004, Patten was stating that, although the two countries were not ready for accession, they would probably be integrated in the Union earlier than Croatia. He also made reference to several other issues, such as the reasons keeping the EU from becoming a “real power” or the doubtful past of some of the recent union member states’ presidents, and even Russian PM Vladimir Putin’s “killer’s eyes.”

Another WikiLeaks document reveals US diplomat William Burns admitting in 2007 that the United States did not show enough interest for the Black Sea area until the 2008 NATO summit, which was held in Bucharest precisely with the aim of changing this approach. Burns, who currently is US undersecretary of state for political affairs, was serving in 2007 as ambassador in Russia. In June that year he had a tense meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who expressed concern for the fact that US administration underestimated the importance of the Black Sea area, overlooking the fact that Russia’s political strategy was at the time focusing exactly on this region. The Georgian president also said a more intense western political and military presence in the area would discourage Russia and would consolidate Ukraine and Georgia’s positions, in the meantime keeping Turkey away from exercising too much influence in the Black Sea region. Saakashvili warned the former US envoy that Russia was preparing to dismember the state of Georgia, adding that the loss of Abkhazia, a separatist area with the potential to triple Georgian economy, would destroy the country’s ‘backbone.’

Another cable published by ‘The Guardian’ reveals that Moldova’s former President Vladimir Voronin offered a USD 10 M bribe in a desperate bid to keep his defeated communist government in power. Voronin made the offer to rival Marian Lupu, head of the Democratic Party, on September 7, 2009, after parliamentary elections that July, in which Voronin’s ruling communists lost to a coalition of pro-EU opposition parties. During private talks at home in Condrita, Voronin offered Lupu the cash; in return, he wanted a power-sharing deal in which Lupu would become president and Voronin would get the Speaker position.

“Though we have often heard stories of bribery and influence peddling within the Moldovan government, Lupu’s claim that Voronin offered him USD 10 M to cut a power-sharing deal is the most shameless tale to date,” the US embassy in Chisinau told Washington in the leaked cable. “It is possible Voronin did not believe Lupu would take the bribe but had to be able to go back to his party saying that he had tried everything.”

According to the US diplomatic mission, Voronin initially offered USD 5 M but doubled it when Lupu seemed uninterested. For his part, Lupu offered Voronin immunity from prosecution if he could deliver the crucial communist votes needed for an opposition candidate to become president. Voronin resigned on 11 September, four days after his bribe was turned down.

WikiLeaks has specialised in revealing secret documents and as of Sunday, it has started publishing a group of over 250,000 US diplomacy cables, which was labeled by the State Department as “an attack on the international community.” Over 1,000 documents contain references to Romania and 830 are cables sent by the US Embassy in Bucharest to Washington.

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