Romanian PM designate Dacian Ciolos announces his proposed cabinet

Romanian PM designate Dacian Ciolos announces his proposed cabinet
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 16, 2015

Romania's Prime Minister designate Dacian Ciolos announced his government on November 15, and said he expects Parliament to endorse the ministers by Tuesday, November 17.

The quick endorsement of the government is very likely, as Ciolos met the leadership of Social Democratic Party (PSD) to discuss his team before publicly announcing it, and received overwhelming support. The other major political party, the National Liberal Party (PNL) has previously expressed unconditional support for Ciolos and his team.

The government headed by Ciolos is expected to run the country until scheduled parliamentary elections next autumn.

The government proposed by Ciolos, himself a former European Commission (EC) Commissioner for Agriculture (2010-2014) and an advisor to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker until last week, includes a significant number of people with experience in EU bodies, diplomats, as well as managers with relevant experience. Few have been involved in domestic public administration and this can be seen as both the result of the demands expressed by demonstrators whose protests led to the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s cabinet, but also to the weakness of a cabinet expected to rule for only one year and not having much time for accommodations.

Ciolos nominated Vasile Dancu, a former influential PSD member and Minister of Public Information in the cabinet of Adrian Nastase (2000-2003), as Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration Development. The nomination perhaps secured the support of PSD and will predictably smooth the government’s relationship with Parliament, but it also raises a question mark on the politically independent dimension of the government. Ciolos said he nominated Dancu for his professional profile, not for his political background. Dancu is reportedly a personal advisor to PSD president Liviu Dragnea.

Another Vice Prime Minister, and the incoming Minister of Economy, will be Costin Grigore Borc, currently general manager of CRH Romania (formerly Lafarge Romania), an economist with robust managerial experience who was in the 1990s part of the National Christian Democratic Party (PNT-CD) of Corneliu Coposu.

Anca Paliu Dragu, currently an analyst at the European Commission, has been proposed for the finance ministry. She has worked for the Romanian central bank and for the International Monetary Fund’s office in Romania. Her background is particularly relevant for the government’s fiscal and budgetary conduct over the next year, after the previous government engaged in risky fiscal reforms including a 4pp VAT rate cut and significant wage hikes in the budgetary sector.

Cristina Guseth, head of Freedom House Romania, has been proposed to head the Ministry of Justice.

The team proposed by Ciolos also includes:

  • Lazar Comanescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Currently he is an advisor to President Klaus Iohannis.
  • Mihnea Motoc, Minister of Defence. Currently Ambassador to the UK.
  • Petre Toba, Minister of Internal Affairs.
  • Dan Marian Costescu, Minister of Transportation. Currently executive manager of Railway Company CFR. Broad experience in the transportation sector.
  • Adrian Curaj, Minister of Education and Research. Former advisor to the World Bank, UNESCO, European Commission.
  • Claudia Ana Moarcas, Minister of Labour.
  • Patriciu Achimas Cadariu, Minister of Health. Currently head of the Oncology Institute in Cluj.
  • Achim Irimescu, Minister of Agriculture. Formerly state secretary, representative of Romania to the EC.
  • Victor Vlad Grigorescu, Minister of Energy. Previously representative of Romania at the EC.
  • Aura Raducu, Minister of European Funds. Previously worked at REGIO department of the EC, currently working as an expert at the EBRD.
  • Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Minister of the Environment. Currently at the European Commission.
  • Marius Raul Bostan, Minister of Communications.
  • Vlad Alexandrescu, Minister of Culture. Formerly Ambassador to Luxembourg.
  • Elisabeta Lipa, Minister of Youth. Has served on the Romanian Olympic Committee.
  • Violeta Alexandru, Minister for Public Consultations and Social Dialogue.
  • Ioan Dragos Tudorache, head of government office. Previously worked for the UN in Kosovo, currently works at the EC.
  • Dan Stoenescu, Minister for Diaspora. Diplomat, currently working at Romania’s embassy in Spain.
  • Ciprian Bucur, Minister Delegate for Relations with Parliament.