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February 28, 2021
POLITICS

Cotroceni and Victoria Palaces at war over Victoria Nuland’s statements

The statements made on Thursday at the Europe Strategy Forum in Washington by the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on Friday sparked a war of mutual allegations between Cotroceni and Victoria Palaces.
“And just as we work together to defend our values externally, we must fortify them internally. In Central Europe today, I would argue, the internal threats to democracy and freedom are just as worrying. Across the region, the twin cancers of democratic backsliding and corruption are threatening the dream so many have worked for since 1989. And even as they reap the benefits of NATO and EU membership, we find leaders in the region who seem to have forgotten the values on which these institutions are based, “ said Mrs. Nuland.
“So today I ask their leaders: How can you sleep under your NATO Article 5 blanket at night while pushing “illiberal democracy” by day; whipping up nationalism; restricting free press; or demonizing civil society! I ask the same of those who shield crooked officials from prosecution; bypass parliament when convenient; or cut dirty deals that increase their countries’ dependence on one source of energy despite their stated policy of diversification.
As President Obama noted, oppressive governments are sharing “worst practices to weaken civil society.” They are creating wormholes that undermine their nations’ security, freedom and prosperity. The countries of Central Europe—through the EU and nationally—must remain vigilant. We can only be strong when we protect political pluralism, civil society and the right to dissent within our own borders; when our governments are clean, transparent and accountable to the people they serve.,” added Victoria Nuland.
The criticism of the US official was immediately speculated on by Traian Basescu, who started  pointing an accusing finger at the Romanian Parliament and PM Victor Ponta, whom he accused of not treating national security matters seriously.
Ponta and PSD’s response came promptly, the PM pointing at Hungary and claiming that ‘Victoria Nuland actually meant the government of Viktor Orban, Traian Basescu’s friend’.
On the other hand, Zsolt Nemeth, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament, answered Victoria Nuland’s accusations by stating in Washington, on Thursday, that the US should send an ambassador to Budapest to gather correct information on Hungary’, MTI reports.
Basescu: Romanian
politicians approach with propaganda means Mrs. Nuland’s critical
declarations
President Traian Basescu asserted on Friday that Romanian politicians, including Prime Minister Victor Ponta, approached with propaganda means the critical declaration of the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland.
‘A topic I see approached in propaganda terms is Mrs. Nuland’s declaration. I note a very unfair approach, which harms us, the politicians, from Victor Ponta to ordinary MPs or PSD spokespersons. Mrs. Nuland’s remarks includes Romania; not just Romania, but it includes Romania, too,’ Basescu said at Cotroceni Palace.
He stressed that corruption was treated as a threat to national security as early as 2006.
‘It’s not news to me. As early as 2006, corruption was treaded, under a decision of CSAT [Supreme Council for Country’s Defence] as a threat to national security, and a case like Microsoft proves how high corruption can reach, and how the resources obtained by corruption are distributed, at least theoretically,’ the President added.
He voiced his concern over the rejection of the very strong signal sent by Victoria Nuland by the political class.
‘All the state’s institution fighting corruption should be supported. Campaigns against the institutions that fight corruption are actually campaigns against addressing a deficit of security,’ the President said.
He reminded that corruption was the prime cause of the current situation of Ukraine, and mentioned several members of the Parliament and ‘other MP ministers ducking behind the MPs’ vote. Who should tell Victor Ponta there are MPs declared incompatible by final rulings of the Supreme Court, and still hide in the Parliament; Mr. [presidential candidate Klaus] Iohannis could also realize that we have a sentenced MP – a suspended sentence, indeed – nevertheless, a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Parliament? These things get noted,’ he added.
Ponta: In Romania we respect fundamental rights
Victor Ponta noted that the statements made by the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on Thursday regarded Hungary, not Romania, as President Traian Basescu tried to suggest.
He also said that President Obama had referred to the aspect already the week before, Romania being a country that respects fundamental rights of the citizens and the freedom of the press.
‘Mrs. Nuland’s statements were very clear. Not only Mrs. Nuland’s but also President Barack Obama’s who, last week, made an observation on the state of democracy and of the press in our neighboring country. I can only be happy to say that we respect fundamental right and the freedom of the press in Romania and I refuse to look over the border to see what other people are doing’, the PM added.
PSD: Any other
interpretation regarding Romania is irresponsible and profoundly false
PSD Spokesman Dan Sova says in a press release that Victoria Nuland ‘obviously meant the situation in Hungary, the actions of Victor Orban, Traian Basescu’s friend’.
‘Mrs. Victoria Nuland’s assertions are as clear as they can be. Those are issues the European institutions also reacted to in the past. All our European and North-Atlantic partners know that Viktor Orban, Traian Basescu’s friend, has a despotic behavior – Orban reduced the freedom of the media and of the institutions in the neighboring state. Orban has promoted an unacceptable policy for an EU and NATO member state. More than that, the other day Hungary cut the export of gas to Ukraine, although the EU has committed to helping Kiev. It is not a secret to anyone that Viktor Orban has a special relationship to Moscow in general and to Vladimir Putin in particular’, the PSD spokesman further notes.
Sova points out that, ‘unlike Mr. Viktor Orban’s inexplicable conduct, Victor Ponta visited Kiev on Thursday, sending out to our neighbors, right from the Maidan, an extremely important political message from Romania’.
Geoana: It is the most direst, unequivocal and clear criticism of the Orban regime
Former Foreign Minister and Ambassador of Romania to the US, Mircea Geoana, says Victoria Nuland’s recent statement is the most direct, unequivocal and clear criticism of the Orban regime in Hungary, but also a warning to the entire region in respect of corruption.
‘It is unquestionably the most direct criticism of the Orban regime that I heard from an American official. In a way, I could see this statement coming, one that was extremely clear and unequivocal, after President Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly where there was a direct reference to the so-called illiberal democracies – practically propaganda of dictatorship and authoritarianism’, Geoana said.
He pointed out that, with her statement, Nuland had also warned about the fact that security  in the region, offered by the US, was not free of charge, but had to have a correspondent in the fight against corruption.
‘I don’t believe (Nuland – a/n) explicitly referred to Romania. The talks between Premier Ponta and Mrs. Nuland in New York were extremely constructive and a reconfirmation of Romania’s commitment on the way of preventing and combating corruption, as well as a reconfirmation of a privileged strategic status in the Romanian-American relations’, Geoana also said.

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