The nomination of a new European commissioner is one of the priorities of the new Romanian Government led by Ludovic Orban and some commentators speculate that this was also the main reason why the new Government passed the vote in the Parliament on Monday.
Romania is the only EU country that hasn’t nominated a valid candidate for the new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen and further delay in sending this nomination would have made it impossible for the new commission to be voted by the European Parliament and start its mandate by the end of this year. Thus, the EC president-elect urged the Romanian Government and president to reach an agreement and send a nomination that would be accepted by the European Parliament as soon as possible. However, such an agreement would have been impossible to reach as long as former prime minister Viorica Dancila was still in office, given that she and president Klaus Iohannis both run in the presidential elections at the end of this week and have attacked each other aggressively over the recent weeks.
After Romania’s first commissioner candidate, MEP Rovana Plumb, was rejected by the European Parliament for possible conflict of interests, and the second nomination sent by prime minister Viorica Dancila, MEP Dan Nica, was not accepted by EC president-elect Ursula von der Leyen, president Iohannis urged Dancila not to send a new nomination and leave this to the new Government. And yet, the dismissed PM proposed former European affairs minister Victor Negrescu for the job, again without consulting anyone. Iohannis harshly criticized Dancila for this initiative arguing that she didn’t have the right to send another commissioner candidate after her Government was dismissed by the Parliament. So, von der Leyen ignored this proposal as well and once again asked Romania to send a valid candidate as soon as possible.
The endorsement of the Orban cabinet solves that problem and Romania could send its nomination as soon as Wednesday. PM Orban and president Iohannis have already talked about this and the likely candidate will be liberal MEP Siegfried Muresan, liberal sources told EurActiv Romania. Orban also promised he would consult the Romanian Parliament’s specialty committees on the nomination before sending it to von der Leyen.
Siegfried Muresan (opening photo), 38, is currently at his second mandate in the European Parliament. He is one of the most active and influential Romanian MEPs and a vicepresident of the European popular Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament. One of his most important assignments as MEP was as chief negotiator of the European Parliament for the EU Budget in 2018.
Muresan graduated from the Academy of Economic Studies (ASE) in Bucharest, in 2004, and also holds a Master's Degree in Economics and Management from Humboldt University. However, he is a career politician. In 2006, he joined the German Parliament’s International Scholarship Programme and then continued for three years as an advisor to the Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the German Parliament, Gunther Krichbaum. In 2011, he joined the European People’s Party (EPP) as Political Advisor for Economics and Social Policy and, in January 2014, he was promoted to Senior Political Advisor. In January 2015, he was appointed Political Spokesman of the EPP.
Siegfried Muresan was first elected in the European Parliament in 2014, with the support of the Popular Movement Party (PMP) of former president Traian Basescu. In fact, Basescu promoted Muresan as a rising star in Romanian politics and proposed him as prime minister twice. Former PMP leader Elena Udrea, who was close to Basescu for many years, said earlier this year, at Antena 3 news station, that Muresan’s campaign in 2014 was financed by former Piatra Neamt mayor Gheorghe Stefan, who was later convicted to jail for corruption in the Microsoft case.
As an MEP, Muresan criticized the Romanian Government’s and the ruling party’s controversial justice reforms and supported former anticorruption chief Laura Codruta Kovesi’s candidacy for European Chief Prosecutor.
In May 2018, Siegfried Muresan left Basescu’s party to join the National Liberal Party (PNL). In the same period, PNL leader Ludovic Orban had a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel and Basescu said that Muresan arranged the meeting, according to Mediafax. In May 2019, Siegfried Muresan won another MEP mandate on PNL’s list. Shortly after the elections, on June 5, 2019, Muresan became Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, the largest political group of the EP.
Siegfried Muresan is married to Catalina Manea, who works as an anti-fraud expert with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Luxembourg. He is passionate about tennis and is a declared fan of Spanish champion Rafael Nadal.
(Photo source: Siegfried Muresan Facebook page)
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