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Renewing Europe: Ciolos in pole position to become political group leader in the European Parliament

Dacian Ciolos delivering a speech on Europe Day | Facebook - Dacian Ciolos

By Ioan Bucuraș

No effort goes unnoticed. Or at least, that’s what one should always hope for.

Just before the elections, I wrote about a possible shift of power and Romania’s European Renaissance. The results confirmed the prediction: the pro-European liberal alliance USR-Plus+ had an excellent result, coming in just 12.500 votes short of the establishment and governing party PSD, just a few months after it was forged. This surprised probably even the most optimistic members of the two parties.

European leaders in and outside of Brussels have voiced their concern about judicial reforms in Romania, the violent crackdown on protesters and the local leaders slowly suffocating virtually all decision-making bodies. They correctly underlined and understood that the Romanian civil society is fed up seeing the judicial system being held in chokehold and have repeatedly voiced their support for the people.

And Romania’s parliamentary opportunity at European level is just starting. Senior advisors and sources close to multiple ex-ALDE (now Renew Europe) parties confirmed that former Romanian PM Dacian Ciolos will most likely lead the group in the European Parliament. It is the first time since Romania joined the bloc that it might have a leading politician at the top of the decision-making dynamic in the European Parliament.

One party’s victory is another one’s loss, though. After flirting with three different political groups, Victor Ponta, who was politically skilled enough to foresee the downfall of the party that he used to lead, has tried a backdoor move to be part of this new, clearly pro-European family, by officially becoming a member of the European Democratic Party (EDP). Traditionally, the ALDE and EDP parties sat together in the European Parliament as part of the now rebranded ALDE Group. However, with Ciolos in the pole position to become group leader, chances that ProRomania MEPs will sit in the same group are virtually nonexistent.   

Bringing new people into politics and reforming Romania from its foundations are two of the basic principles of the Alliance. Romanians have seen parties’ fusion, rebranding themselves, absorbing other parties and politicians swapping sides in a never-ending merry-go-round since the fall of Communism. It’s also on those grounds that the Alliance USR-Plus+ received such a wide support. Allowing Ponta’s rebranded party to join the group will therefore most certainly be a no-go.

EPP sources also report that Romania’s EPP delegation (PNL, PMP and RMDSZ) quickly found common ground, despite their differences and scandals at home (google Uz Valley).

Unsurprisingly, there are no news from PSD so far, the party seemingly trying to find its way out of the crisis and desperately looking for new leadership.

Finally, holding the group’s presidency, especially in times like these and in a newly formed construction is a great honour – and even greater responsibility. Now, let’s see who’ll form the parliamentary majority in this new legislature.

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