PNL MEP Eduard Hellvig received on Tuesday a positive opinion from the joint Parliament Committee for the Oversight of the activity of SRI for becoming Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). The Commission accepted the proposal with seven votes in favour and one against. The next step is for the proposal to be voted on in plenary session of Parliament.
During his hearing, Eduard Hellvig presented the priorities of his mandate as head of SRI if he was voted by the Parliament.
‘The hearing of Mr. Hellvig was focussed on his philosophy on the national security of Romania and his managerial project. Secondly, we also checked the strict legality criteria for becoming the Director of SRI. After the hearings, the Commission voted. We can only issue an opinion which is advisory to the plenary session of joint Chambers of Parliament who will decide by vote. The vote in the Commission was for a favourable opinion – seven votes in favour and one against’, Georgian Pop, SRI Oversight Commission Chairman, said after hearing Hellvig.
My education and my solid values recommend me for becoming head of SRI
Eduard Hellvig stated that his education and the values in which he believes should recommend him for this office.
“I grew up and I was educated after 1990, I am a man of the democratic values, of the Liberal values, in the sense of civil liberties, and I believe that this is important for a civilian director of SRI. My second merit – I believe that my professional training, my education thus, allows me to understand what is happening around me and with whom I interact. The third element will be that, in the moment I became a public person, as member in the Romanian Parliament and in the European Parliament, I had to deal with all that means security, defence, so that I understand these issues, although it’s true that not in a very profound manner yet, since I’ve worked in the civilian world and I had only a limited access to such matters, but I believe that my education and the values that I cherish should recommend me for head of SRI. But, of course, the one who should answer this question should be President Iohannis, who is the one that recommended me for this office in the first place,” said Hellvig at the Parliament Palace, after his hearing with the Standing Parliamentary Commission for the control of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
Asked what advice he received from the President after accepting the position, Hellvig specified that the head of the state told him to maintain the institution on the same path as now, while avoiding any kind of political interference.
“We had a general discussion, we said that we will maintain the institution on the same path it underwent so far, while avoiding any kind of political interference, and also the Strategic Partnership with the United States and that I will remain calm and balanced in doing my job, if I am elected head of SRI,” said Hellvig.
Security laws, a major necessity
The incoming director of Romania’s Intelligence Service (SRI), said Tuesday that the package of security laws is a major necessity, adding that he hopes their issue will be solved in three to six months.
“I believe that right now we have to find an answer for the three laws. We have to find an answer that satisfies the civil rights and freedoms of the citizens, but on the other hand they have to meet the operational capabilities of Romania’s Intelligence Service. They are highly important laws to the intelligence community; as far as I could see in public debates, they are clearly a major necessity, and I don’t hide that fact that I have discussed the matter with President Iohannis because it is one if the things that could emerge on the agenda even immediately after I am voted in office,” Hellvig said at Parliament Palace after being heard by the parliamentary committee in charge with overseeing SRI.
He also said he is convinced that through the mediation of the president and by observing the two principles related to the citizen’s rights and freedoms and the operational capabilities of SRI a solution for the three laws will be found as soon as possible.
Hellvig confirms Elena Udrea’s statements on his meetings with Maior: It’s a personal relationship
Asked by the journalists to comment on Elena Udrea’s statements that, before the campaign, he would visit SRI to meet with General Florian Coldea and that, during the campaign, he knew Iohannis would be ruled incompatible by Court, on Tuesday, at the Palace of Parliament, Hellvig confirmed that, before the presidential election campaign, he had met with ex-SRI Director George Maior with whom he has a ‘personal relationship’ and whom he has known for many years.
‘I, as a public person, have always taken care that the institution and institutional relations between the director of the institution and me personally were not impaired by discussions that would involve decisions of a different nature than those of strict information, exchange of shared values, and I believe we share those, with ex-Director George Maior. So I don’t wish to comment any more. Meetings, if any, were between myself and ex-Director George Maior, strictly related to the values in which we believe, books and other things that were not connected to the institution, to SRI. It was an obviously private relationship. We have known each other since many years ago, we have both been members of Parliament, it is not an institutional relationship, it’s a personal relationship, Eduard Hellvig said.
He added that those meeting took place in G. Maior’s office because the SRI director could not meet with people in public areas.
Moreover, Eduard Hellvig added that, if he received the Parliament’s vote to fill the position of SRI Director, he would consult with George Maior and ask for his advice.
I will resign PNL and European Parliament as soon as I have received the mandate from Parliament
Eduard Hellvig announced on the occasion that he would resign PNL and European Parliament as soon as he has received the mandate by the vote of the Parliament.
‘I will resign PNL and the European Parliament as soon as I have received the mandate from Parliament. It is an important moment in my career, it’s a decision that I made to exit the public space as a politician, but I understand extremely well what it means to be a civil representative in an institution such as SRI. More than that, I understand the importance of the fact that the institution should not be impaired by any political interference of any kind. I therefore guarantee that, during the period when I head SRI, there will be no political interference with the activity of the institution and no one will afford putting pressure on the institution from a political point of view’, Hellvig said at the Palace of Parliament, Agerpres informs.
Hellvig added that he had received the offer to become Director of SRI from President Klaus Iohannis the week before, in the context where he was assessing the opportunity of having a civil SRI head.
‘It is absolutely necessary and compulsory for us to resolve this situation SRI is now in. We need clam and tranquillity in the activity of such an important institution. The president has been concerned about finding a solution, he contacted me, we met and he made the offer. I had to take some time to think about it because it is a fundamental change for my future and for my family. It is also a financial change, these are the discussions that we are having at home. My wife is not thrilled’, Hellvig noted.
SRI wage is a financial change, wife not thrilled
Asked by the journalists what it would be like to move from a MEP salary to the wage as SRI head, Hellvig confessed that his wife was not very ‘thrilled’ with the financial change coming with his new office.
‘It’s a financial change. We are having this discussion at home, indeed. I can confirm this to you – my wife is not thrilled’ Eduard Hellvig said.
He noted that his future status as chief of SRI was a ‘fundamental’ change for his future and family, and that he had reflected on that aspect before accepting President Klaus Iohannis’ offer. ‘President Iohannis contacted me and made me the offer to become director of SRI. We had a private meeting, we didn’t talk on the phone. I needed some time to think about it because that’s a fundamental change for my future and for my family’, Eduard Hellvig said.
He assured that during his term as SRI chief there would be no political interference with the work of the service.