I remember when Mr Franks was first seen on Romanian TV, taking up his role as IMF Chef de Mission. Bounding enthusiastically up the steps of some government building, a journalist asked him how he would solve the Romanian state’s financial problems. Immediately, he replied with a breathless smile, ‘Sell the Metro and make it someone else’s problem’. There, I thought, is a man who has been poorly briefed.
And now he has left us, his own particular mission over but not completed to his satisfaction as he laments his inability to manage the privatization of many of the remaining state-owned industries.
Within the parameters of the IMF’s usual objectives, Mr Franks has done a good job. Working with the National Bank of Romania, he steadied the ship in a country that really had no response to a terrifying international economic climate at a time of continuous political instability. I suspect that he came to understand and accept that the transfer of state companies to private ownership in Romania can only be ‘managed’ from within the ruling political class and there is nothing he could do to introduce any openness or transparency to the process.
So, Mr Franks shouldn’t feel bad. He simply ran into the same brick wall of secret vested interest that everyone else does.
Goodbye Jeffrey, we’ll miss your boundless enthusiasm, your textbook IMF homilies and your keen fashion sense; and I’m sure you’ll miss the drama.
By Ronnie Smith, Guest Writer
Ronnie Smith is Scottish and now lives in Romania, working as a professional training business consultant and communication coach. He is also a teacher of political science, a political and social commentator and a writer of fiction.
The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Romania Insider.com.