PSD and ALDE leaders are mulling nominating Daniel Barbu at the helm of the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP), a position left vacant following Ana Patru’s resignation. A decision will be taken on Friday, during the ruling coalition’s meeting, sources from PSD’s leadership told News.ro.
According to those sources, ALDE would get to nominate someone at AEP’s helm, in line with the agreement reached within the ruling coalition.
When the Grindeanu Government was formed, Daniel Barbu was rumoured for the Culture Ministry, but that portfolio eventually went to PSD.
Daniel Barbu was Culture Minister and Senator during the previous legislature too. In the parliamentary elections of 2016 he ran on the second place on ALDE’s list for the Senate, in Bucharest, but he failed to win the seat in Parliament.
In September 2016, Daniel Barbu was vehemently criticised for making a controversial statement. Back then, during a meeting of the party’s League of Local Elected Officials, he stated that the political career is the hardest, harder than the most dangerous jobs, such as mining, and added that it is riskier than a soldier’s tour in Afghanistan, because “the public space has become a kind of theatre of operations in which every local or national elected official is risking his freedom and health every day.”
In response, Marius Apostol, President of the Association of Veterans and Soldiers with Disabilities, wounded in Afghanistan by an IED, stated for News.ro that he finds Senator Daniel Barbu’s statement uncanny and invited the Senator to sign up for an “all-inclusive” trip to the theatre of operations.
“I’m offering him (Daniel Barbu – editor’s note) an all-inclusive trip to Afghanistan. Where the priest blesses us each time we leave the base. Over there, only God knows if you’re going to make it back or not. I find the comparison unbelievable,” Marius Apostol, President of the ‘Sfantul Dimitrie’ Association of Veterans and Soldiers with Disabilities, wounded in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, stated at the time.
Florin Valea, a veteran of three tours in Afghanistan, posted a harsh message on Facebook at the time, writing that a soldier should “crush” Daniel Barbu’s eyeglasses for making these statements.
Subsequently, Barbu said he regrets if he “hurt anyone’s sensitivity” and that he did not want “to offend anyone” when stating that being a politician is the hardest job, harder than being a miner and riskier than a soldier’s tour in Afghanistan, claiming it was “a simple metaphor.” He also stated that “the wave of verbal violence, of physical threats” confirms the fact that “being a politician is risky.” Asked what he thought of the soldiers’ reactions, he said that they were “unacceptable in a civilised society, [when] related to a simple metaphor.”
In fact, Daniel Barbu vacated the Culture Minister’s office, which he held in the Ponta Government, also following a controversial statement. Back then, he contrasted the budget of the HIV prevention programme with the budgets of Culture Ministry programmes.
At the end of 2013, Daniel Barbu, Culture Minister at the time, took part in a series of events at the National Theatre in Craiova. Afterward, he answered several questions addressed by those present there.
Among the minister’s answers was one referring to the large sum allocated to the HIV/AIDS prevention programme: “During the debates on the 2014 budget, I was struck, really shaken by the following thing. Believe me, I don’t want to look cynical before you, with all respect for that category of fellow citizens. The budget, the national programme for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS is half the budget of all Culture Ministry programmes. So, you have the Culture Ministry and the national programme for combating and treating HIV/AIDS. Half. 1:2. In my opinion, we aren’t living in South Africa. Millions of fellow citizens are not affected by this hideous scourge of our era. Personally, I don’t understand. I was shocked when I realised how many Shakespeare festivals we could organise, or how ample we could make the Shakespeare Festival in Craiova if that programme didn’t exist or if it were half its size.”
As a result of vehement criticism, Daniel Barbu resigned on 12 December 2013. However, in January 2014 he was appointed member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes.
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday that the AEP situation must be clarified, considering that AEP is a very important institution that is nevertheless “unstable.” “There too (at AEP – editor’s note), because that has been very slow in coming, it’s a very important and still unstable institution. Besides, we must issue an approval for the director there, whom we don’t know,” Liviu Dragnea concluded.
Ana Maria Patru resigned from the helm of the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) on 15 November 2016, after National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors indicted her for influence peddling and money laundering. The dossier was sent to the Bucharest Court.
Cristian Socol, counselor of the former PM Ponta, could be proposed as BNR Deputy Governor. He denies it
Personal counselor on macro-economic issues of the former PM Victor Ponta, economist Cristian Socol, could be proposed by the government coalition as BNR Deputy Governor, Social Democrat sources stated on Thursday for Mediafax. Being contacted by economica.net, Socol stated that he didn’t want this position and he doesn’t want it.
The government coalition will convene on Friday to nominate the person politically supported by the coalition for the position of BNR Deputy Governor, which remained vacant after Bogdan Olteanu’s resignation.
PSD’s Liviu Dragnea stated this week that the future Deputy Governor should be proposed by the PSD-ALDE coalition.
On the other hand, PNL Interim President Raluca Turcan requested to the PSD and ALDE leaders to respect PNL’s right to make a proposal for the BNR Deputy Governor position, stating that if they will continue with the attitude of a “Soviet conqueror”, the precedents that they create can turn against them.
Cristian Socol’s name was previously circulated at the moment of the establishment of the Grindeanu Government, for the leadership of the Finance Ministry or of the Ministry for the Business Environment.
Cristian Socol is an economist and he is teaching at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies.
Cristian Socol’s name appeared in the transcripts of some discussions made by Viorel Hrebenciuc, revealed to the public in 2014, who considered Socol one of his protégés.
“He’s PM’s counselor on economic issues, he’s one of my children. He raised Andrei (Hrebenciuc, Viorel Hrebenciuc’s son – e.n.), he made him his assistant in the first year, he’s in the family, so to say” Hrebenciuc stated about Cristian Socol, according to the transcripts from the DNA ordinance in the PSD leader’s file, published by Hotnews.ro.