Opposition lashes at FM Baconschi

The Senate rejected on Monday, with 67 votes to 60 and one abstention, the simple motion on foreign policy filed by the Opposition against Minister Teodor Baconschi.

The Senate debated yesterday the no-confidence motion titled “Foreign policy belongs to Romania, not PDL” and signed by 53 PSD, PNL and PC Senators.

The debates were attended by Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi. The aforementioned Senators accuse the Foreign Minister of subordinating Romania’s foreign policy to party policy. The Opposition asked the vote-by-mail draft law to be stopped, an action plan for the lifting of the MCV to be presented in Parliament, a strategy on lifting European labor market restrictions and actions for the lifting of visa requirements for trips to the United States to be presented. In the motion USL asks Prime Minister Emil Boc to take the necessary measures to “fix Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi’s blunders” even if that means replacing him. The Senators claim that Teodor Baconschi committed a “serious political error and an attack on democracy” during PDL’s recent National Convention in which he stated that the new vote-by-mail draft would bring PDL one million votes not 100,000 like it did in the past.

In reply, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stated yesterday in the Senate that the no-confidence motion signed by PSD and PNL is a collection of calumnies, starting with the claims concerning the votes cast in Paris in 2009, claims that he should have settled and probably will settle in court.

Baconschi stated that the no-confidence motion’s “pretext” was allegedly the statement he made during PDL’s National Convention, a statement followed by a series of attacks on the “TV opposition.” He accused PSD and PNL of launching a “calumny” against him, referring to the suspicions that the Opposition launched concerning the votes cast at the Romanian Embassy in Paris during the 2009 Presidential runoffs.

He explained that based on the number of votes cast, the time allocated and the number of voting stamps and voting booths the average was one vote cast every 60 seconds, not every 15 seconds as the Opposition claimed. The Minister rejected the Opposition’s politicization claims too. “Your no-confidence motion contains only one true phrase and that is because it is axiomatic, namely that foreign policy belongs to Romania, not PDL,” the Minister concluded.

PNL President Crin Antonescu told Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi in the Senate yesterday that he is “the most embarrassing careerist” and “the most menial flunkey.” He accused Baconschi of biasness and careerism. In his turn, PSD Senator Titus Corlatean accused the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) of becoming an annex of the Democrat Liberal Party. He asked the Senators to vote in favor of the motion, pointing out that during Minister Teodor Baconschi’s term Romania’s foreign policy has become a long list of blunders, failures and amateurisms. The PSD Senator accused MAE’s serious “politicization” and the fact that “Romanian foreign policy has been subordinated to the interests of the Basescu-Udrea-PDL-power-money-corruption-contempt clan.”

Chamber of deputies sets probing committee

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday adopted, on article basis, a draft act that sets up a committee which will look into Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi’s statements concerning the law of the vote through correspondence. The final vote will be cast today, when Parliament groups will appoint the members of the committee. The probing committee demanded by PSD and PNL refers to the “activity and statements of Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi about changing the legislation with the obvious purpose of favouring PDL in the 2012 elections.”

Catalin Avramescu, nominated as ambassador to Finland and Estonia

Also yesterday, the day when the Senate debated a motion against Teodor Baconschi, MAE made another controversial move by nominating presidential adviser Catalin Avramescu for the position of ambassador to Finland and Estonia – a decision challenged by the opposition. The chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Policy Committee, Titus Corlatean yesterday accused MAE of making political proposals for vacant embassies. He urged the Foreign minister to revoke Avramescu’s nomination, warning that “things will get ugly in the committee, if the ministry does not withdraw Avramescu.” “One cannot appoint friends and presidential counselors as ambassadors, only to cater to a political clientele,” he added.

In retort, Baconschi said the warning issued by Corlatean is marginal and lacks substance. According to Baconschi, “the US choose approximately 30 pc of the heads of diplomatic missions among the political friends of the acting president.”  “PSD played havoc for a decade, abusing of such interferences with the system. When we propose an academic personality, with books at Princeton, with good academic connections in Finland, we are accused of political interference in diplomacy,” Baconschi stated.

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