Parliament voted on Monday, during the two Chambers’ joint meeting, in favour of appointing Eduard Hellvig as Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), with 498 votes in favour and 15 against, from a total of 513 votes cast. The vote came after Hellvig was previously validated by Parliament’s special commission on SRI control with 7 votes in favour and 1 against. Hellvig was President Klaus Iohannis’s proposal. The Parliament’s secret vote took place with ballots. Hellvig was then sworn in as head of the SRI and announced his priorities at the helm of the Service. In his opinion, the top priority should be consolidating performance, both internally as well as in a delicate geostrategic context. He stated that SRI has to mainly take into account developing its capacity to safeguard national security and to fight against corruption.
“I believe it was a fairly conclusive vote, it is a great responsibility for me,” Hellvig told journalists after the plenum meeting ended.
Hellvig assures strategic partnership beteen SRI and USA is “here to stay”
The freshly installed director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Eduard Hellvig said on Monday that the U.S, and “obviously” the Club de Berne members will further remain the strategic partners of the SRI.
“From the viewpoint of the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service, the U.S. and, obviously, the Club de Berne members will remain the strategic partners of SRI. I make this clarification because I’ve seen many interpretations. Nobody plans a shift in the strategic partnership between SRI and the U.S., and I think that keeping this strategic partnership benefits SRI,” Hellvig said in Parliament, after being voted in office for SRI director.
Hellvig thus answered a question about his recent post on his personal blog, where he mentioned a new axis that includes Berlin among his cooperation plans.
As for the message former SRI director George Maior sent him, stating that he is by his side and hopes to see him continue discussions along the Euro-Atlantic axis, Hellvig said: “I thank my predecessor, I am convinced that he will be by the side of the institution at the helm of which he has been for so many years and I am absolutely convinced that the things he has started as a director will be continued by myself and the SRI team.”
Eduard Hellvig has been PNL MEP since 2013 and is considered close to President Klaus Iohannis. Hellvig stood by Iohannis’s side during the presidential campaign. Before being MEP, Hellvig was Development Minister within the USL Government in 2012. He resigned from that position shortly after being appointment, after the National Integrity Agency publicly informed that he was allegedly in a conflict of interests. In December 2014 the High Court ruled in Hellvig’s favour and the ruling was final.
According to his CV, Eduard Hellvig has a B.A. in Political Science from the Babes-Bolyai University’s Political Science and Public Administration Faculty (1997). He then followed post-university security and defence studies (at the Carol I University’s National Defence College, 2005-2006 and the George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies).
Ponta confirmed PSD’s intention to vote for Hellvig’s nomination
In the context of the meeting of the joint plenary of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies for the vote on President Klaus Iohannis’ proposal for Director of SRI, Victor Ponta said on Monday, after the meeting of the PSD Standing Bureau, that he would vote for Eduard Hellvig.
‘I will be present and will vote <in favour>, however stressing that in Romania there would not be a party that holds all positions’, the premier further said.
Even if PSD votes for Klaus Iohannis’ proposal for the office as head of the Romanian counter-espionage, Victor Ponta thinks there should be a debate of the political actors on how power should be shared between the ruling and the opposition parties.
‘We will vote <in favour> because this is a person, Eduard Hellvig, with whom we worked and founded USL. Perhaps this is a good opportunity for us to also close this story about USL and the coup. However, speaking in principle, we believe this deserves a debate – after the vote, not as a condition – on the fact that, the more people are represented, committed to leading the country, the more mistakes can be limited’, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday before the joint plenary sitting of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu: “He lacks relevant experience and is not a personality whose authority is recognized”
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu stated that “a major problem” in what concerns the appointment of Eduard Hellvig as director of the SRI is the fact that he lacks “relevant experience” in the national security domain.
“I suspect you have no doubt and no nervousness in what concerns the result of the vote. Still, the result of the vote should not wash away the problems that concern Mr. Eduard Hellvig. The fact that Mr. Hellvig does not have relevant experience and is not a personality whose authority is recognized in the national security area is a major problem,” Tariceanu stated during yesterday’s plenum meeting in which MPs voted on the proposal that Eduard Hellvig should become director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
Tariceanu added that he does not doubt Eduard Hellvig’s good intentions and that he wishes him a “successful” term, hoping that Eduard Hellvig will not confirm his “doubts.”
“I would say that his personal opinions, expressed on his blog or in the press, on foreign policy or security have raised justified question marks. I point out that I do not doubt Mr. Hellvig’s good intention nor his capacity to, possibly, learn on the job. However I believe that in Romania there are people with known, certified, recognized experience in the national security area, and about which there are absolutely no question marks in what concerns their capacity to successfully carry out a term as head of SRI. In my opinion Mr. Hellvig is not part of this category,” Tariceanu added.
George Maior: I will support Eduard Hellvig
The nomination of Eduard Hellvig at the helm of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) can be convenient considering that he always appeared to be conceptually committed to Euro-Atlantic values, former SRI Director George Maior stated for Agerpres.
“I have known Eduard Hellvig for a long time and I know he appreciates the strategic partnerships with the US, UK, Germany and France, as well as Romania’s deep belonging, including through intelligence structures, to NATO and the European Union. I believe he will quickly realize that the old ideas of political-strategic axes are outdated as an element of reference in this Euro-Atlantic context. Mr. Hellvig should continue, intelligence-wise, these partnerships that have an important operational value for Romania’s security – the most significant way through which Romania’s security interests can be promoted in a complex and increasingly tense international and regional context,” Maior stated, being quoted by Agerpres.
He emphasized that Hellvig will find SRI to be a professional, politically neutral and independent institution capable of living up to external challenges and to some internal vulnerabilities “that Romania faces now.”
“Nevertheless, he will have to offer to the Romanian Intelligence Service the instruments needed in order to have high institutional performances, and the existing legislative vacuum that is starting to become an intelligence vacuum should be quickly overcome. I will always support Mr. Hellvig with my expertise and experience in order to have a successful term, within the aforementioned coordinates,” Maior added.
Monica Macovei: “Proposing Eduard Hellvig at helm of SRI without consulting NATO is unacceptable”
MEP Monica Macovei stated on Sunday at a press conference that “the appointments of the heads of internal and foreign intelligence services should be made by consulting our foreign partners” and labelled as “inacceptable” proposing Eduard Hellvig at the helm of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) without consulting NATO, Mediafax informs.
Macovei labelled as “inacceptable” the appointment of Eduard Hellvig as the head of the SRI without consulting our NATO partners, bearing in mind that the strategic partnership with the US is essential for Romania.
“I understand that our NATO partners were not consulted on this appointment and I consider this unacceptable, because we are in a partnership and the strategic partnership with the US in particular is essential for Romania today when we have a war on our borders, when Russia continues its armed aggression against Ukraine and when a political assassination has been committed at the Kremlin,” she underscored.