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January 28, 2022

Corina Suteu, nominated as new Culture Minister* Behind the scenes of Vlad Alexandrescu’s resignation which resulted in removal from office

On Tuesday, Premier Dacian Ciolos sent to President Klaus Iohannis the decision to remove Vlad Alexandrescu from office and to nominate a new Culture Minister. The Prime Minister announced on Facebook on Saturday that he will remove Vlad Alexandrescu from office. The revocation follows a veritable scandal and an announced resignation that eventually became a removal from office. Corina Suteu is Premier Dacian Ciolos’s nomination for the office, according to Mediafax.

The aforementioned sources claim that the nomination is “a clear sign” of continuity of reforms “that are the Government’s, not one person’s.”

Corin Suteu, expert in cultural policies and former director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, was appointed secretary of state within the Culture Ministry in January, through a decision signed by Premier Ciolos. In that capacity, Suteu handled, among other things, cultural policies and strategies.

Corina Suteu started her career as a theatre critic in Romania. In 1991, she became director of the Romanian Theatre Union (UNITER). In 1995, she became director of Mastere Specialisee Europeen en Management des enterprises culturalles (Dijon, France), and President of the European Cultural Networks Forum. In 1998, she founded the ECUMEST association. From 2005 to 2006, she edited the “Arts, Politics and Change” volume (part of the “Policies for Culture” programme) published in Amsterdam, and launched the volume “Another Brick in the Wall, a Critical Overview of Cultural Management in Europe” at the Columbia University. She was director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York in 2006-2012. Corina Suteu got involved in numerous cultural projects, the most recent of them being “Bucharest – European Culture Capital 2021.”


Vlad Alexandrescu: “I believe the reform is jeopardized, I would like to continue being Culture Minister”


After Culture Minister Vlad Alexandrescu posted his resignation online last week, he changed his mind and showed up for work on Tuesday morning, waiting to be removed from office, a move that Premier Dacian Ciolos had announced on Saturday.

“It’s the last day of my tenure,” Vlad Alexandrescu stated on Realitatea TV, adding that he did not go to the Victoria Palace on Monday morning to file his resignation because Premier Dacian Ciolos “stated he will remove me from office” and “the Premier’s decision is sovereign.”

“We are waiting for the nomination of a new Culture Minister. I believe I did all I could have done at the Culture Ministry. I am well aware that I set off a cultural spring in Romania. A renewal of cultural institutions. At this moment in which I believe the reform is jeopardized I would like to continue being Culture Minister as a guarantee that this reform will continue,” Vlad Alexandrescu pointed out for Digi24.

Vlad Alexandrescu stated once again that the letter that appeared in the press, in which he criticised fellow government members, was a private email and was not meant to be publicly disclosed.

In what concerns his successor, Vlad Alexandrescu stated that he would like her to continue the reforms he committed to and had started to implement. Asked about the scandal at the Opera House, Alexandrescu stated: “It’s the problem that will remain for my successor, I had some solutions,” pointing out that there is no longer a point in revealing them since the Premier “withdrew his confidence.”

At the same time, he announced that he does not plan to collaborate with his successor. “I don’t believe I’m in the position to collaborate, the future minister will have to take on the measures. There are projects that will have to be continued, such as the national subscription for La Sagesse de la Terre. I would like to see continued also the concert hall, predictable competitions for management positions,” Vlad Alexandrescu stated.

Premier Dacian Ciolos announced that he will send to President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday, right after the Easter holiday, the decision to remove Vlad Alexandrescu from office and to nominate a new Culture Minister.

At first, Vlad Alexandrescu had announced his resignation because of the scandal at the National Opera House, however he later changed his mind and accused the members of Government, in a letter he had sent to the Group for Social Dialogue (GDS) “in the spirit of transparency,” of resorting to intimidation.


PM Ciolos: ‘Thank you for good initiatives; reforms will continue’


After the dismissal from office of Culture Minister Vlad Alexandrescu on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said the way in which a minister operates and reacts in a crisis, such as the crisis at the Bucharest National Opera (ONB) is decisive to his or her capability of and credibility to manage his or her portfolio, still extending thanks to Alexandrescu for his good initiatives while in office.

“I have recommended today to Mr President the dismissal from office of Mr Vlad Alexandrescu as minister of culture and his replacement with Mrs Corina Suteu. I will not dwell on this dismissal, but the way in which a minister operates and reacts in a crisis, such as the crisis at the Bucharest National Opera, is decisive to his or her capability of and credibility to manage his or her portfolio and solve similar consequent situations in a professional field such as culture. Nevertheless, I am regretting having reached this point, and particularly the way in which Mr Alexandrescu understood to end his tenure. Yet, I want to extend my thanks to him for his good initiatives in this area while in office, and I also want to confirm interest in and determination to continue the reform of the area by appointing Mrs Suteu, whom I have known for a long time and who has worked on the reform programme of the Culture Ministry,” Ciolos says in a Facebook post.

He adds that he will ask the new culture minister “to rapidly think of a legislative framework allowing some organisations such as the National Opera to combine stock performances with new ones and open up to international collaborations while providing a balanced social and financial status to Romanian values.”

Ciolos says the Government will continue public fundraising initiatives for Brancusi’s sculpture ”Wisdom of the Earth” while intending to promote after this year’s locals elections “viable development alternatives” for the inhabitants of the Rosia Montana site, the place of a controversial gold mining project.

“Under a decision I promoted late last year, Rosia Montana became a category A UNESCO heritage site and that is how it stays. As I told Mr Alexandrescu, we have to exceed this protection and provide viable development alternatives to the locals. Immediately after the local elections, we intend to come up with ideas related to that. On the other hand, reforms of the national heritage and filmmaking industry will be continued,” says Ciolos.


 Alina Gorghiu: ‘I believe it is proof of this Government’s lack of coherence’


PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on Tuesday on RFI that Vlad Alexandrescu compromised himself through the behaviour displayed in recent days, namely through the contradictory statements he made about his resignation. Likewise, Alina Gorghiu stated that this situation denotes “the Ciolos Government’s lack of coherence.”

“This minister compromised himself, not particularly through what he did in office, but through his behaviour in recent days. I believe it is proof of this Government’s lack of coherence. I am not the fan of letters sent occultly to some NGO, letters that surprisingly end up in the press, are published by the whole press, “I will no longer resign as I did on Facebook, I think I’d like to stay,” after which the Premier comes out on the first or second day of Easter and tells me I’m going to be removed from office. It’s lack of coherence at government level,” Alina Gorghiu stated for RFI.

Likewise, the PNL leader said that if the accusations levied against Vlad Alexandrescu are true then Premier Dacian Ciolos and he should have a discussion.

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