The secret services must not interfere with politics and politicians should exercise real control over the activity of the secret services, says Romania's president Klaus Iohannis.
After the scandal at the top of the Romanian Intelligence Service resulting in the sacking of the Service's first deputy director, general Florian Coldea, president Klaus Iohannis conveyed a political message to the new parliamentary majority in which he said the latter would have the opportunity to prove its maturity in how it handles the legislative changes in the field of national security and justice. The president emphasised the need for negotiations between the power and the opposition, saying it remains to be seen what kind of parliamentary majority Romania will have. He expressed concerns that this new majority would impose its will in all respects and "bleach" the records of people facing criminal convictions.
Klaus Iohannis: "The alternative is a mature majority who understands that there is only one Romania and who will join the president so that together we guarantee the national security and the rule of law and prove that Romania is a safe country for its citizens and a powerful nation among the other nations. I want a mature majority. I'm waiting for it."
The sacking of Florian Coldea, who has served as first deputy director of the Romanian Intelligence Service for the last 12 years, came after the former MP Sebastian Ghita, a fugitive with a criminal record who is wanted internationally, made some serious accusations against Coldea, saying among other things that he went on holiday with him at least once. Although an internal inquiry committee absolved Coldea, the latter took a step back and gave up his position, while the director of the Romanian Intelligence Service Eduard Hellvig requested the president to place Coldea in the reserve.
The statements made by president Iohannis also triggered a reaction from Senate speaker and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The latter said he wanted to know if there were any secret decisions taken by the Country's Supreme Defence Council that granted enhanced powers to force institutions in the judiciary and that, in his opinion, led to the violation of citizens' rights and liberties. Calin Popescu Tariceanu says the Romanian president has the duty to reveal the enhanced powers granted to the services, the limits of their influence on magistrates and whether there are any undercover intelligence officers in the judiciary.
More light in the Coldea case may be shed on the 25th of January, when the director of the Romanian Intelligence Service Eduard Hellvig appears before the committee for parliamentary control of the Service's activity. According to the head of this committee, the Service's deputy directors and the head of its internal inquiry committee are also expected to appear before Parliament.