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June 30, 2022

Basescu: Government reshuffle is conjecture

The Head of State criticized National Bank of Romania (BNR) representatives, pointing out that they act as “a permanent teacher” without assuming the responsibility that comes with high offices such as the Prime Minister’s or Finance Minister’s office.

President Traian Basescu dismissed yesterday, on Radio Romania Actualitati, the rumors that a government reshuffle may take place in the near future, labeling them as “conjecture” and “the dream of those that believe governments are changed or reshuffled on TV.” Basescu nevertheless admitted that he recently met the Head of Government in order to discuss the government’s priorities in the upcoming period, pointing out however that a possible government reshuffle was not discussed. “My answer has to do with one word: stability. I see there is another fashion, namely that of even disdaining a Minister that doesn’t stay all day on TV or that doesn’t organize press conference often enough or that isn’t always in the limelight. I appreciate Ministers on the basis of something else,” the Head of State added, being quoted by Mediafax. In this context, he pointed out that the 40 goals included in the agreement with the IMF have been accomplished. “The reality is they (the Ministers – editor’s note) did their job. The Prime Minister is the one that decides this (the reshuffling – editor’s note),” Basescu added.

Although he claimed a government reshuffle is out of the question, thus hinting that he gave up on the idea of a technocrat Premier, Basescu nevertheless criticized the National Bank of Romania (BNR) officials, pointing out that they do not assume the responsibility that comes with high offices such as the Prime Minister’s or the Finance Minister’s office. “BNR is a permanent teacher. Why don’t you ask one of them whether they want to be Finance Minister or Prime Minister,” the Head of State said, adding that “a high official’s life is not easy.”

Moreover, the President underlined that “those that prefer to teach lessons instead of assuming responsibility are very numerous.” Pointing out that “talk is cheap,” Basescu stated that he invites those that “teach lessons on TV” to come down “in the arena.” “Those that teach lessons on TV should give me a call: “I want to be Prime Minister.” I believe there would be only one interpretation for that: he is thirsty for work,” he added.

The President’s statement can be considered an answer to the statements made by BNR Governor Mugur Isarescu on Wednesday. The latter told Prime Minister Emil Boc that he should not have made promises that cannot be kept and stated that the VAT hike was “a government blunder” that prevent the economy from coming out of recession.
When asked to comment on Basescu’s criticism, Isarescu’s aide Adrian Vasilescu only said the BNR governor served as prime minister and refused to make further statements. Isarescu was PM between December 1999 and November 2000.

Also yesterday, the President announced that the project on amending the Constitution has been finalized. According to the draft, the Parliament has to give its vote of investiture ten days after a new government is designated and the Head of State and the Premier should consult each other when it comes to government reshufflings. Basescu pointed out that “a moment of relative tranquility has to be found” in order to file the project to state institutions, primarily to the Legislative Council and the Constitutional Court. However, the President stated that the project will end up in Parliament before the recess so that the relevant commission will be able to debate it during the two months of holiday. Traian Basescu underlined that the President’s and Parliament’s prerogatives will remain the same, but that the project proposes the implementation of the results of the 2009 referendum, namely the switch to a single-chamber Parliament with 300 seats.

“Attending summit in Warsaw would create a precedent”

The Head of State opined that attending the summit in Warsaw would create a precedent, so that one day he could end up sitting at the same table with Igor Smirnov, the leader of the self-proclaimed Transdniester Republic. “Things are simple. Poland recognized Kosovo. Romania didn’t. Poland, as the host nation and a nation that recognized Kosovo, can invite a state it recognized even if that state is not recognized by the UN. (…) Romania cannot sit at the table with a state it does not recognize. We’ll see when the UN recognizes Kosovo, but we won’t be among those that vote for that recognition,” Basescu pointed out. He added that Romania’s decision cannot create any kind of discomfort “as long as one’s foreign policy is predictable.” “We didn’t wake up now that we won’t sit at the same table with Kosovo. Since 2005 all our allies know that we’ve waged a veritable campaign trying to explain the fact that we don’t recognize Kosovo. They know that since 2005. We will maintain our position and I don’t see why we should change it just because one state or the other wants that,” Basescu added.

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