Both the centre-right Romanian President Traian Băsescu and the Socialist Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced their official support for Dacian Cioloș, the present EU Commissioner for Agriculture, to run for a second term, hopefully with the same portfolio. EurActiv Romania reports.
Officials told EurActiv Romania that this target could be achieved unless a political decision is taken at EU level, similar to the one taken in 2009, that the EU Commissioners should change their portfolios in the case of taking a second mandate.
According to government sources, Romania has no "plan B" for the moment, in case the Cioloș option failed.
Speaking to the press, Ponta mentioned that the Justice portfolio was also an option for the Romanian commissioner. However, insiders said that given the fact that Romania is still under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) monitoring its deficient justice system, this option was out of the question (see background).
"The EU Commissioner for Justice is also coordinating the CVM, so it could raise suspicions of not being impartial in this respect." Bulgaria is in the same situation, sources explained.
Cioloș, 44, is considered EPP-affiliated, because he became Commissioner following the proposal of the centre-right government of Emil Boc. At that time, the proposal was criticised by the opposition socialists.
However, during the last two years, Cioloș has reportedly been on excellent terms with the present Ponta government.
Valentin Naumescu, doctor in political science and University teacher, said that there was a small chance that Romania could get a portfolio of the same importance as Agriculture. Still, he said the chance to obtain if national political leaders made their efforts in this direction.
"The President Traian Băsescu should get support from the EPP group, which most probably will get, and the Prime Minister should promote the idea within the S&D Group," said Naumescu, who is a former secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ex-Consul of Romania in Toronto.
He added that if Romania loses Agriculture, the alternative would be, without any doubt, a less significant portfolio.
Romanian sources from the European Parliament told EurActiv that if Romania doesn’t get the agriculture portfolio, or another one of equal or greater importance, an option to be seriously considered was to send as commissioner a more junior politician.