By Ioan Bucuraș
The first signs of an inevitably and constantly deteriorating relationship between former Romanian Commissioner Cretu and her previous party – PSD – were already visible, once some of the lead figures started regrouping around the former Romanian PM Victor Ponta. Cretu was careful enough to distance herself from the evermore anti-European rhetoric adopted by the Social-Democrats back home, before finally firing shots and calling them out on the lack of absorption of EU funds for regional development (which Romania so desperately needs) and their nationalistic campaigns.
In the meantime, she became an MEP for Ponta’s ProRomania party. This left the department for Regional and Urban Policy without a Commissioner – with the portfolio being transferred to Commissioner Hahn.
Former Romanian PSD MEP, Ioan Mircea Pascu, a party veteran and a man with close ties to its old ranks, has been nominated by sitting Romanian PM Dancila to take over the portfolio from Cretu until the 31st of October this year. The nomination made headlines in Romania and in the Brussels bubble because there wouldn’t be enough time for the new nominee to deal with important dossiers and was labelled by many a waste of time and predominantly – of tax-payers money. The move is seen by some members of the PSD as a form of compensation for Pascu, who expected to be placed on an eligible spot again – which did not happen.
Today the European Parliament decided to postpone the vote on Pascu’s nomination until the next plenary session after the summer break, when the Conference of Committee Chairs meets. This means that Romania will not have a Commissioner until then and it is very unlikely that any nomination will be approved until the new Commission takes over. This also means that the amends the party tried to make to Pascu are now dust in the wind.
Who will be the new Romanian Commissioner, you may ask? Many names were rumoured, but apart from these speculations (including a potential return of Dancila to Brussels, who was an MEP for 9 years), there’s radio silence.
Will not having a Commissioner for 2-3 months (which includes the summer break) affect Romania in any way? Hardly so.