*Swearing-in ceremony to take place on Thursday, at Presidential Palace
Premier Dacian Ciolos decided on Tuesday to replace four of his cabinet’s ministers, arguing that “after a long period of preparations, the Government is entering a new stage, that of delivering the results” and that the ministers’ results did not live up to expectations and more could have been done. Thus, Sorin Buse will replace Dan Costescu at the helm of the Transport Ministry; Dragos Tudorache, currently Head of the Premier’s Chancellery, will replace Marius Bostan at the helm of the Communications Ministry; Mircea Dumitru will replace Adrian Curaj at the helm of the Education Ministry; and Maria Ligor will replace Dan Stoenescu as delegated minister for relations with the Romanian Diaspora.
The four nominations reached the Presidential Administration on Wednesday and the swearing-in ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
“The ministers I am replacing also mostly did their job. In all the four ministries (…) there are things that advanced well; it’s just (…) I want a new impetus, a new impulse. The priority of the new ministers in the four fields will be (…) to expedite the delivery of results in projects already started, which from my point of view did not advance quickly enough. On one hand, the expediting of these projects; on the other hand, I want new people to come up with fresh energy, with a slightly different approach, which should allow us to use our remaining time in office to do some things the Government has pledged,” Ciolos explained.
He pointed out that he informed President Klaus Iohannis about the changes and the latter agreed with them.
“So far there were have never been any problems on the President’s part in relation to my decisions to reshuffle some ministers or to nominate new ministers. Just as it was since the start, when I formed the government team, the President has always been very open and has respected my decisions,” Ciolos stated on Tuesday at the Government headquarters.
Transport Ministry: Expedite the activity when it comes to expressway projects
In what concerns the Transport Ministry, Premier Ciolos said that he wants to see the construction of expressways and the reform at the National Company for Expressways and National Road expedited.
“At the Transport Ministry, I want us to expedite the activity (…) when it comes to expressway projects, projects that are currently implemented and in which things have not progressed sufficiently well. The reform at the National Company for Expressways and National Road, a reform I’ve been asking for several months; I know progress has been made but not sufficiently fast. At the same time, the preparing of new projects. We are here precisely because we took office without projects prepared for the 2014-2020 financial framework. There are some projects whose preparations have started, but we have to expedite the rhythm here precisely in order to have something to implement in the following years,” Ciolos pointed out.
Sorin Buse, nominated Transport Minister, was born in 1960 in Bucharest. He graduated in 1985 from the Faculty of Machine Building Technology of the Bucharest Polytechnics University. He worked as tooling designer for the Electronica company in Bucharest. In 1990, he moved to Canada, where he worked for five years as design manager and automotive industry technical manager. His employers were suppliers of General Motors, Honda, Chrysler, Suzuki, Mercedes, etc., according to http://www.cariereonline.ro/. From 1995 to 2008, he worked for the Toyota Company, and he moved up to the position of deputy CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, in charge of opening industrial operations in Woodstock, Ontario. He started working for Renault Group in 2008, being involved in the group’s strategy for Russia; deputy CEO of the Engineering Centre of Renault Technologie Roumanie, appointed in July 2009; CEO of Renault Technologie Roumanie from December 2010 to April 2015, Renault’s largest engineering centre outside France, employer of approximately 2,100 engineers, according to www.wall-street.ro. On 26 May 2016, he was appointed deputy CEO of Tarom, Romania’s state-owned airline, to act as CEO until the appointment of a new top manager.
Diaspora Minister: preparing elections and “re-establishing links with the country”
At the same time, Premier Ciolos pointed out that he wants the new Diaspora Minister to expedite the preparations for the parliamentary elections.
“I want an acceleration of this ministry’s election preparation activities, in order to inform members of the Romanian Diaspora about the postal voting option, to prepare the elections as best as possible even when it comes to polling centres. (…) I also want to see several projects that have indeed started (…) that would make it easier for members of the Romanian Diaspora to re-establish links with the country. We want to offer as many options as possible to those who want to return to the country or those who want to work in the Romanian business sector too,” Ciolos added.
Referring to the Premier’s decision, Dan Stoenescu stated that for him “it was a pleasure” to be part of a team of professionals and thanked Premier Dacian Ciolos for the confidence he gave him at the start of his tenure.
“It was a pleasure to be part of a team of professionals and I am glad that, for nine months’ time, I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful Romanians who do Romania honour all over the world. It was an honour to be by the side of Romanians everywhere and I thank all those who put so much passion and worked side by side with me late into the night in order to carry through projects I greatly cared about. I thank Premier Dacian Ciolos for the confidence he gave me at the start of the tenure and I wish Ms. Maria Ligor good luck,” Stoenescu wrote on Facebook.
Maria Ligor, nominated Diaspora Minister, has been Romania’s ambassador to Canada since 2013. From 2006 to 2011, she was ambassador to Spain. Ligor was born on 1 January 1967, in Bucharest. She graduated from the Bucharest Polytechnics University in 1990, then the post-graduate courses of International Relations of the National School for Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA) in 1993. Ligor specialized in European political and administrative affairs, at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and in political sciences at the Universite Libre of Brussels, and at the European Institute of the University of Geneva. She also followed leadership and governmental management courses organized by Harvard University, the Kokkalis programme in Athens, Greece. In 1996, Ligor was an intern at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg; in 1997, she was given a Robert Schuman grant at the European Parliament. Maria Ligor has been a career diplomat since 1996. She worked for the Romanian Embassy in Luxemburg (1997) and in Brussels, within Romania’s Mission to the European Union (1998-2002). In 2003-2006, she became general director for European Affairs in the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), during the EU accession negotiations; she contributed to the completion of these negotiations and to the preparations for the signing of the Accession Treaty. From April to May 2012, she was secretary general ad interim of the MAE. She was Romanian ambassador to Spain from July 2006 to August 2011, when she was also Permanent Representative to the World Tourism Organisation. In January 2012 – May 2013, Ligor was ambassador with special tasks – a special representative for the promotion of democracy. She has been Romania’s representative at the Governors’ Council and elected member of the Executive Committee of the European Endowment for Democracy since November 2012. On 30 May 2013, she was appointed ambassador to Canada. Since the same year, Ligor has been a Permanent Representative of Romania to the International Civil Aviation Organisation. She was bestowed the National Order for Virtue in rank of Knight (2004); Order for Diplomatic Virtue in rank of Officer (2007); the Cross of the Royal House of Romania and the Saint Emperors Constantine and Helen Order on behalf of Patriarch Daniel (2010). In January 2012, the King of Spain bestowed upon her the Great Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish, and has some knowledge of Italian. She is married and has one daughter.
Education: plagiarisms situation needs to be clarified
In the case of the Education Ministry, Ciolos explained that he wants more consistency on the pre-university education side, pointing out that he would like to see a more expedited activity focused on clarifying the situation concerning plagiarisms.
“At the Education Ministry (…) things actually progressed very well I would say, especially on the research and university education side where many good things occurred. I want more consistency on the pre-university education side. I would have liked to see more expedited activity on preparing the new CNATDCU and on this whole process of clarifying the situation concerning plagiarisms; because, the names involved notwithstanding, as long as suspicions hover over out doctoral system this affects us from the point of view of credibility in general and especially from the point of view of the credibility of the university system and research domain. Activity has now entered a normal track, however I would have liked things to go a bit faster there,” Ciolos said.
Mircea Dumitru, nominated Education Minister, is the current rector of the University of Bucharest and member of the commission that analyses plagiarism cases. He is a correspondent member of the Romanian Academy and professor at the Theoretical Philosophy Department of the University of Bucharest’s Philosophy Faculty. He was dean of the Philosophy Faculty in 2000-2008 and pro-rector of the University of Bucharest from 2008 to 2011. He is a specialist in philosophical logic, the philosophy of language, the metaphysics of modalities, epistemology, the philosophy of the mind and of consciousness.
He obtained a doctor of philosophy title from the Tulane University of New Orleans in 1998 and two months later he completed a second doctoral thesis at the University of Bucharest. He was guest lecturer at the Jean Moulin University of Lyon, the New York University, the University of Helsinki, the City University of New York.
Communications: Better coordination of IT projects
Referring to the Communications Ministry, Premier Ciolos emphasised that various institutions currently have many IT systems incompatible with each other.
“In what concerns the Communications Ministry, my decision is to propose a leadership ad interim for several weeks’ time; I’ll propose Mr. Dragos Tudorache, Head of the Chancellery, even more so since (…) the Government has taken the decision to create an office of coordinator for the Information Technology, one whose holder would prepare several measures that would ensure a better coordination of IT projects at the Government’s level. There are many situations in which many institutions have IT platforms, IT systems that are not compatible with each other. We need coherence for the future. Formally, in the current Government’s structure, the Communications Ministry has this prerogative, which it covered more or less satisfactorily from my point of view. We need an evolution here and that is why I took this decision to create this position within the Government and I would like the minister I nominate for the following months to be able to make this transition in order to consolidate and strengthen this position I have created, so that when the next Government takes office I hope we will have better clarity in what concerns the way these IT platforms are coordinated at Government level,” Dacian Ciolos explained.
The reshuffled Communications Minister stated on Tuesday that since he took office he tried to come up with intelligent solutions that would not exact a high cost on the budget and taxpayer, in view of carrying out major projects such as Ghiseul.ro.
“On the legislative side, as you well know, I tabled the draft law on electronic communications infrastructure, which was approved by the Government, was sent to Parliament and approved by Parliament. This project creates the framework for lowering the costs of installing communications networks, this having a direct result in the growth of internet speed in the following years. I took on the draft cybersecurity law at the start of my tenure. It was approved within the Government, it’s on the Prime Minister’s table and will be approved by the Government, by the Supreme Defence Council and sent to Parliament. Communications infrastructure is very important. The Ministry does not necessarily have prerogatives in what concerns internet content, but it has major prerogatives on the infrastructure side. (…) As I announced at the start of my term, I said I will try to come up with intelligent solutions that would not exact a high cost on the budget and taxpayer,” Marius Bostan stated, Agerpres informs.
At the same time, the official mentioned the stage of the Ro-Net project, the status of the Ghiseul.ro platform as well as the Electronic Public Procurements System.
“One of the major problems of our country is that there are areas that lack coverage, the co-called “white areas,” underprivileged areas. The Ro-Net project, approved by the European Union, was in a difficult situation when I took over office. I managed to unblock the project, to phase it, I even managed to take broadband internet to 200 underprivileged rural communities in Romania. We are still working in 100 [communities] and over 700 localities will be completed by the end of the year. The project is on track,” Marius Bostan said.
In what concerns the Ghiseul.ro platform, the reshuffled minister emphasised that he managed, in six months’ time, to hike by over 33 percent the number of institutions involved in it, and the number of transactions has grown by 49 percent.
The former Communications Minister also stated that he showed transparency in the relation with the business sector and created an “industry day,” an opportunity for companies to present their products and services to public IT infrastructure managers.
Marius Bostan also mentioned the zero tax for IT programmers. At the same time, he added that a hub for cognitive computing, for smart children, for researchers and for the industry will be launched and will have a significant contribution to this domain, with no investments required.
Dragos Tudorache is head of the Premier’s Chancellery. He was judge in Galati from 1997 to 2002. He then worked for the United Nations in Kosovo, then within the Schengen Department of the European Commission’s General Directorate for Internal Affairs. He is considered Dacian Ciolos’s right hand man within the Government.
Deputy PM Dincu: Gov’t reshuffle moment not prepared from PR standpoint
Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dincu stated on Tuesday evening that the Government reshuffle announced by Premier Dacian Ciolos did not take him by surprise, but that its moment was chosen without being “prepared from a PR standpoint.”
“The Premier is sovereign in these decisions; he is not obligated to consult anyone. He is not obligated to justify himself. He is the one who is held responsible after all, he formed his team and of course he has this prerogative, this possibility of carrying out even sudden changes if he considers they are required. Of course, we discussed long ago the expediting of some social processes, of some government policies. But, of course, this moment was chosen without being prepared – so to say – from a PR standpoint, as sometimes is done,” Dincu stated on B1TV.
Vasile Dincu also stated that the Government has had at its disposal only seven months, but more measures meant to reduce red tape have been taken during this period than in all of the previous 25 years. He emphasised that the future government will be unable to ignore the strategies prepared by the current government.
The Deputy Premier noted that although people are looking for consensus, the political class has been unable to “articulate” this and coalitions have not worked in Romania.
Likewise, Dincu stated that the option of an independent government is only a short-term solution since a government needs political support in Parliament.
“Normally, in Romania, as anywhere else in the world, the solution is the political one. Our solution, an independent government, is a short-term solution. (…) You should see what it means to build a strategy without having solid support – a strong political party, a Parliament to propel you forward, to support you. We have to work, to leave behind for the future government what we can, what our intelligence and expertise can. Our duty is to vacate the offices in November or when this is over,” Dincu pointed out.
On the other hand, Dincu opined that Romania will have to prepare realistic strategies in the current European context.
“After Brexit, we have to think very well. EU’s cohesion grants, on which we relied, will shrink unless they will disappear altogether starting with the next financial framework. (…) There is no information, but there are hypotheses that if a contributor disappears the level of the cohesion grants will drop. (…) We have to think how we fall back on our large projects,” the Deputy Premier concluded.
Ex-president Basescu: Reason for Bostan’s dismissal – “he was independent from some national security structures”
Ex-president Traian Basescu stated on Tuesday that Premier Dacian Ciolos dismissed Communications Minister Marius Bostan because “he was competent in his domain and independent from some national security structures.”
“Too bad Marius Bostan, a valuable minister, has been thrown overboard. Apart from imposters, obedient persons, opportunists and incompetents, the Ciolos Government also had a competent minister who was completely responsible in his public statements, including the one concerning the education sector. Even though the latter was affected by some lack of political skill it was absolutely correct in essence. And because he was intelligent, competent in his domain and independent from some national security structures, Marius Bostan has been dismissed,” Basescu wrote on Facebook.
He added that he does not personally know Marius Bostan but he followed “with interest” his activity both in the private sector and as minister.
Ex-premier Ponta: “An administrative catastrophe”
Ex-premier Victor Ponta stated that the government reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos “is an administrative catastrophe.”
“It’s neither a PR move nor a well-grounded one. He replaced some unknown ministers with some who are just as unknown or even less prepared. It’s an administrative catastrophe. If the membership of the government keeps changing by November, not even the ministries’ doormen or chauffeurs will get to know them. Irimescu hasn’t left for his failure to pay the subsidies, KGB’s Pruna hasn’t left. It’s a catastrophe we will all pay in 2017-2018,” Victor Ponta said.
“I find it a caricature of a government, wasted time, wasted money for Romania. If PNL nominates Dacian Ciolos for the Premier’s office, no problem. The current government looks like Emil Boc’s government in 2009. Those members of government who are attacking me are stupid, they don’t know the difference between cohesion grants and agricultural grants. Tariceanu and I are the only ones still engaging in opposition, and those from PMP a bit,” the ex-premier said.
Liviu Dragnea: Ciolos called me before announcing the reshuffle. I was disappointed
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated that Premier Dacian Ciolos called to inform him that four ministers were about to be replaced. The PSD President pointed out that the Head of Government called him 15 minutes before he made the press announcement. Dragnea pointed out he appreciates Ciolos’s gesture but complained that Achim Irimescu and Raluca Pruna were not on the list of reshuffled ministers.
“I asked a single question: Why aren’t the two on the list too? I was told he’s still thinking about it. I’m not the one who has to approve this reshuffle. The fact that he called me is a civilised gesture but it hasn’t left me content,” Dragnea said on Wednesday.
Referring to the reshuffles, he pointed out that he does not understand why Adrian Curaj was replaced at the helm of the Education Ministry, given that he did not notice a big problem in this domain.
In what concerns the new ministers, the PSD President said that he no longer has hopes in what concerns their activity. “I’ve seen a lot of talk; I’ve listened to a lot of talk. The action was less. I have no hopes in what concerns them,” he added.
Alina Gorghiu: We were told about the reshuffle shortly before it was publicly announced
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated that the Liberals found out about the 4 reshuffled ministers shortly before the Premier made the public announcement.
“We were informed about the reshuffle. We were called shortly before it was publicly announced. We were informed, not consulted. I would like us to have a woman Premier. (…) Dragnea has a problem of a criminal nature. (…) We will reveal the Premier next autumn. Dacian Ciolos does not want [to take part] in the electoral competition,” Gorghiu stated on Realitatea TV.