The incredible blunder that took place two days ago at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) when Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu (photo R) handed to his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier (photo L) a brochure whose cover had the maps of Romania and France on it, the latter painted in the colours of the German flag, has had significant reverberations.
The mistake was attributable to the employees of the national news Agerpres who made the brochure and who took responsibility for the mistake and apologized in a communiqué, however nobody from the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s staff noticed anything wrong with the brochure. Minister Aurescu labelled the incident “a regrettable technical error.” In his turn, the German Foreign Minister informed his Romanian counterpart that he does not believe the situation is liable to produce any effects or to generate any problems in bilateral relations, and it had not been noticed before his Romanian counterpart pointed it out.
EPP spokesperson asks for Aurescu’s resignation
Nevertheless, after the blunder was covered by the world press, PMP MEP Siegfried Muresan, the spokesperson of the European Popular Party (EPP), has asked for Minister Aurescu’s resignation.
“Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu should resign as a result of the fact that the German flag was placed on the map of France. I thought since yesterday whether the Foreign Minister should resign in such a case. I am convinced he has to! We made a fool of ourselves in the whole world; people have to see that in Romania mistakes have consequences. The Foreign Minister’s mission is to represent the country well in the world; but the incident has been the exact opposite of that. Maybe the minister does not have a direct fault, but, as a leader, you have to take responsibility for the mistakes of the organization you lead. My statement is not a political attack against Minister Aurescu. I just think that if, as Foreign Minister, you cause damages to the country’s image abroad, you have to resign,” Siegfried Muresan wrote on his Facebook page.
As a result of an analysis of what led to this “regrettable incident,” the Foreign Minister has decided to release from office the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Brandusa Predescu the person who managed with Agerpres the issue of the brochure in question.
According to a MAE communiqué, the spokesperson has taken responsibility for failing to fully verify the brochure before presenting it to the Foreign Minister in order for him to offer it to his German counterpart.
“MAE reiterates that the printed version of the brochure was handed by Agerpres to MAE on the morning of March 9, during the visit paid by the German official to Bucharest. MAE also reiterates that after Agerpres was informed of the error on the brochure’s cover, Agerpres publicly took responsibility for the technical mistake and apologized,” the communiqué adds.
German Foreign Minister errs too
Shortly after the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s blunder, the German Foreign Minister made a blunder too. He wrote on his Facebook page that he met Romanian President Rosen Plevneliev. “Toward the end of my visit to Bulgaria I also met Romanian President Rosen Plevneliev,” Frank Walter Steinmeier wrote. The error was corrected several hours later, after it was highlighted in a series of furious comments, posted by Bulgarians too, the Bulgarian press informs. During his official visit to Bulgaria on Tuesday, the German Foreign Minister met Bulgarian President Plevneliev, Premier Boiko Borisov, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and Bulgarian Socialist Party President Mihail Mikov.
Victor Ponta: “Those who make mistakes pay”
During the government meeting, Premier Victor Ponta told the Foreign Minister that those who made the mistake in the case of the brochure whose cover had the German flag on the wrong country have to be held accountable, adding that he noticed that errors “happen to the best” too, referring to the fact that the German Foreign Ministry presented Rosen Plevneliev as the Romanian President. “Minister Aurescu, all the good things you did for Romania over all these years were in vain. I understood you mixed up a map. I want to wish you good luck from now on doing good things for Romania. Those who make mistakes pay for them. I understand it happens to the best, I saw Mr. Plevneliev Rosen is the President of Romania on the German Foreign Ministry’s official website. I want to ask you to carry on as Foreign Minister and if someone makes a mistake I understand he is held accountable,” Ponta told the minister during the government meeting, smiling and advising him to be careful when it comes to civil servants.
Agerpres Director summons committee for solving disciplinary deviations
Following the regrettable error committed in the editing of the Germany-Romania. 135 years of diplomatic relations brochure Agerpres General Director Alexandru Giboi, has summoned on Wednesday the committee for finding and solving disciplinary deviations regarding the editing of this brochure.
“Discussions regarding the creation of the brochure for the anniversary of 135 years of diplomatic relations between Romania and Germany were initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Mrs Brandusa Predescu. Beside this, MAE requested modifications be done including on the brochure’s cover, referring to the title’s formulaic. The modifications were specified by MAE in writing on the working draft of the material and were operated by Mrs Alexandra Stefan on Friday, March 6, 2015. The brochure was sent with the modifications requested by Mrs Brandusa Predescu on that same day. Further modifications were requested by Mrs Brandusa Predescu, including on March 8, 2015, at 20.00 hrs. The final version of the brochure was handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, March 9, 11:00 hrs. The liaison of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was Mrs Brandusa Predescu. The production cost of the Germany-Romania. 135 years of diplomatic relations brochure, as recorded by the Romanian National News Agency Agerpres, for the two official copies printed, was of 29.4 RON with VAT included, specifies a press release of Agerpres.