Ahead of the NATO Summit, at a meeting with representatives of the Romanian community in Chicago, president Traian Basescu said ‘the head of the foreign affairs of the Romanian state is the head of the Romanian state’. ‘Our strategic partnership is with the USA. The Russian Federation is our neighbour, we share economic and security interests in the region, but our definitive partnership, our strategic partnership is with the USA, plus the EU membership. And, from this point of view, the most authorised voice in the Romanian state has given you the answer’, Basescu said, according to Mediafax. Basescu answered a question asked by a Romanian who wanted clarifications regarding the things FM Andrei Marga had said on his admiration of Vladimir Putin and the need to strengthen cooperation with Russia. After that, Andrei Marga went to the microphone to explain the context in which he had made that statement during the hearing by the specialised Parliament Committees, as well as the powers enshrined by Constitution in the area of foreign affairs. ‘Of course, as the president was saying, the trend in foreign policy is set by Parliament and authorities. And, of course, under the Constitution, the president enjoys full authority in the field’, Marga said. The minister said that changing the direction of Romanian foreign policy was out of the question. According to HotNews.ro, the president and the foreign affairs minister seemed to have ‘tensed relations’ during the meting in Chicago. The quoted source notes that, ‘wile Andrei Marga was explaining what he meant by his statements on Putin, the president left the place where they were standing, turning his back on him and ostentatiously engaged in a private conversation with someone in the audience’. The first tensed moment between the two of them was consumed during the swearing in ceremony, when the president initially refused to hold out his hand, reproaching Marga that he had compared him with Mussolini during the hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee.According to Mediafax, during the meeting, the head of state also joked about Marga’s former position as the Rector of the Cluj-Napoca Babes-Bolyai University, suggesting he also occupies it at present. Asked by a Romanian based in the US about the options available to be hired in the Romanian academic system, Basescu called Marga: ‘Mr. Marga! Where is Mr. Marga? We have here the Rector of Babes-Bolyai who can give you the papers to sign right away’, the president answered. But Marga had already left and someone in the hall said the foreign minister had gone to get some food from the cafeteria. HotNews.ro quotes diplomatic sources as saying that Traian Basescu would have liked FM Andrei Marga and Defence Minister Corneliu Dobritoiu not to go to Chicago, asking to only be accompanied by the chief of the General Staff and his advisers, not by Government members. In order to avoid engaging in an open conflict, Traian Basescu reportedly accepted to go to the NATO summit together with the two ministers who also travelled in the presidential plane. Premier Victor Ponta stated on Saturday in Cluj-Napoca that President Traian Basescu represents only himself when going abroad and that he sent Ministers Marga and Dobritoiu to accompany the Head of State to Chicago so that the international partners would understand there are serious people in Romania. According to realitatea.net, former Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi criticized Ponta’s statements and stated that this “rudeness” ridicules Romania’s very participation at the high-level summit. “The statements that Victor Ponta made about Romania’s participation at the NATO Summit in Chicago defy common sense and represent proof of severe irresponsibility. The proffered insults affect the Romanian delegation’s credibility at the North Atlantic Alliance’s great event,” Baconschi stated. PDL Vice President Monica Macovei criticized Ponta for his statements. In her opinion, by making these statements Victor Ponta “rendered his own government fragile” and “rendered Romania’s position fragile.”
“Previous ministers weren’t any better”
During the meeting on Saturday evening the President added that he “doesn’t like the current political situation,” however he also criticized the former ministers too. Asked why he accepted ministers that “aren’t quite good,” the President answered that the previous ministers were not any better. “The others weren’t a lot better. You know, we have to be fair,” the President stated. The President explained that the Ungureanu Government collapsed through a no-confidence motion and the Ponta Government was appointed because it created a new majority in Parliament. “Of course, although the Constitution does not compel me to, it was politically and democratically the right thing to do to offer the Prime Minister’s office to those that proved they have a majority, to the leader of the majority that toppled the government in Parliament,” Traian Basescu added. The President told Romanians in Chicago that Romania cannot offer to the citizens that left the country salaries and living standards seen in countries that “didn’t go through communism” in order to persuade them to come back. He also stated that the Romanian state wants the two Orthodox Bishoprics in America, one subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Church and the other to the American Orthodox Church, joined in a single Metropolitan Seat.
Romania in favor of keeping NATO doors open
In what concerns the Romanian delegation’s mandate at the NATO Summit in Chicago, President Traian Basescu stated on Friday, the day before leaving for Chicago, that Romania remains a supporter of Georgia’s NATO accession bid, but also of maintaining an open doors policy towards Balkan and Black Sea states. He added that Bucharest expresses its hope that the NATO Summit will declare interim missile defence capability, pointing out that this is a major topic on the Summit’s agenda, a topic strongly promoted by the US and Romania.