Profile picture for user irina.popescu0
Irina Marica
Senior Editor

Irina holds a BA in Journalism and has been part of the Romania-Insider.com team since its early days in 2011. She likes to keep the Romania-insider.com readers informed every day. Irina reports on various topics, on a wide range of areas such as politics, social or entertainment. She also writes travel or leisure articles, as well as interviews. She splits her time between Sinaia, her hometown, and Bucharest. Being born and raised in a mountain town, Irina loves spending time in nature, but she also likes to read, write, listen to music, travel, teach her dog new tricks and listen to other people’s stories (so don’t hesitate to contact her for an interview if you have an interesting story that you want to share with the Romania-insider.com readers). She dreams to visit Iceland one day and maybe get to see the Arctic Monkeys play live.  You can send her press releases or feedback on her stories by emailing irina.marica@romania-insider.com.

 

2021 political year in review: A tough year for Romania, with unexpected power shifts and months of uncertainty

The second pandemic year, 2021, was marked by political tensions and unexpected power changes. Romania started the year with a center-right ruling coalition forged after the parliamentary elections in December 2020 but ended it with a "left-right" coalition, leaving the voters somewhat confused. All while the country still battled the COVID-19 pandemic and economic concerns. This is the 2021 political year in review.

As Romania started 2021 with a fresh government and a center-right ruling coalition with solid parliamentary support, many expected things to run relatively smoothly this year. But things didn't go as planned, and the many internal scandals and disagreements finally broke the ruling alliance, leaving the country without an official government for weeks. Now, at the end of 2021, Romania is governed by a rather unexpected "left-right" coalition made of the Social Democrats (PSD), Liberals (PNL) and ethnic Hungarians (UDMR). Somehow, the rivals have become allies, leaving voters disoriented and putting the future in doubt. (Opening photo: Social Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu and Liberal leader Florin Citu) ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

A new year with a new government & ruling alliance

Following the parliamentary elections in late 2020, Romania started 2021 with a new centre-right ruling coalition made up of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the reformist USR-PLUS alliance, and the Democrat Hungarian Union (UDMR). And, of course, with a new prime minister - Liberal Florin Citu. Minor tensions appeared between the three partners right from the start, but nothing too worrying. Most were small issues related to public budget planning, justice reforms or negotiations for public positions. Plus, they started to sketch the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) - the program of reforms and investments covered by European money.

On the other hand, the Social Democrats (PSD) were getting used to their new place in opposition.

Meanwhile, Romania took the next step in the fight against COVID-19 and started vaccinating the population. And it had quite a good start, with top political officials, such as president Klaus Iohannis and PM Florin Citu, getting vaccinated publicly to boost people's confidence in the vaccine. 

Romanian president plays down tensions within ruling coalition

Romania's new ruling coalition plans to mend justice laws by June

RO opposition launches 2021 alternative budget planning before Government

RO Govt. unveils 2021 budget and promises big reforms 

Opposition to file "thousands" of amendments to RO Govt. 's budget law 

RO Parliament votes 2020 budget law in the form drafted by Govt

Romania's ruling coalition parties agree on sharing prefect seats 

Romanian president promulgates abolition of lawmakers' "special pensions" 

Romanian deputy PM Barna promises Recovery and Resilience Plan will be ready in time  

Romanian opposition urges Govt. to unveil Restructuring and Resilience Plan

RO Govt. moves ahead with allocating Recovery and Resilience money 

Romanian lawmakers close to dismantling controversial special investigation body 

Romania's president gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine: It is a simple procedure, it doesn't hurt 

The first major scandal & other tensions

The first big scandal in the ruling coalition emerged in March when Liberal PM Florin Citu started criticizing the activity of USR-PLUS health minister Vlad Voiculescu. The prime minister was mainly unhappy with how the Health Ministry handled the third wave of the pandemic. 

Things escalated quite quickly, and a few weeks later, the PM decided to dismiss minister Voiculescu. This triggered a big scandal within the ruling alliance, with USR-PLUS leaders accusing the PM of having taken the decision without consulting them. However, although the USR-PLUS party initially said it would no longer support prime minister Citu, the conflict eventually cooled down, and a new USR-PLUS health minister was appointed - Ioana Mihaila.

Rising tensions between Romania's Liberal PM and reformist health minister 

Evacuation of hospital for hosting COVID-19 patients stirs political tensions in Romania 

Romania's prime minister dismisses health minister and secretary of state 

Reformist USR-PLUS alliance says it no longer supports Romania's Liberal PM Florin Citu after health minister's dismissal

Romania's dismissed health minister criticizes PM, talks about system's vulnerabilities  

Conflict between Romanian PM and former health minister continues with dispute over reported COVID-19 death counts 

Political deadlock in Romania avoided for the time being 

New RO health minister outlines priorities of her mandate 

Romanian PM Citu: new coalition protocol brings nothing new 

But the PNL-USR coalition had to deal with challenges and tensions on other topics, too, such as the judiciary.

In the meantime, preparing for the internal elections and hoping to get another term as president of PNL, Ludovic Orban tried to secure support from party leaders. But PM Citu was already becoming a more popular option within the party, rising as a strong opponent to Orban for the PNL leader seat.

On the economic side, further steps were taken towards drafting the final form of the National Resilience Plan.

Head of RO ruling coalition says Justice Ministry rushed justice laws amendments

RO minister: new justice laws not promulgated before year end 

Tensions within RO ruling coalition linked to justice laws continue 

RO Deputies vote to abolish controversial prosecution office 

Romanian Liberal leader secures support from several local organizations 

Ludovic Orban to run for another term at top of Romania's Liberal Party  

Romanian PM Citu runs for president of the Liberal Party against Ludovic Orban 

Romania's PM Citu seeks support from president Iohannis for Liberal Party elections 

Romania's PM discusses Recovery and Resilience Plan with the EC president during "very constructive meeting"  

Romania's Resilience Plan is published, but fails to answer key questions 

Romanian Social Democrat opposition begins scrutiny of Resilience Plan 

Government survives first no-confidence motion + another minister dismissed

In June, the Social Democrats filed a no-confidence motion against the government led by Liberal Florin Citu, criticizing the Executive's economic measures and plans, including the PNRR. However, although the move was also backed by the radical party AUR, the government survived the no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Then, a few days later, PM Florin Citu decided to make another change in his cabinet and dismissed finance minister Alexandru Nazare, quoting "delayed projects at the Ministry of Finance." 

Meanwhile, new disagreements emerged within the ruling coalition, this time between USR-PLUS and UDMR. The topic: the dismantling of the controversial prosecution office SIIJ dedicated to investigating prosecutors.

Another story that made the headlines around the same period was that Liviu Dragnea, the former leader of PSD, was released from prison on parole. 

Romanian opposition files no-confidence motion against Government 

Romanian Social Democrats file motion in Parliament against Government 

Romanian PM Citu survives no-confidence motion 

Romania's PM dismisses finance minister  

Romania has new finance minister  

Romania's justice minister moves to dismantle Special Section after Venice Commission comments 

RO ruling coalition at risk due to Special Section for prosecutors 

Romania's junior ruling partner UDMR says Special Section dismantling still not settled 

Romania's former Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea released on parole 

The fall of the centre-right ruling coalition

The entire year was rather complicated for the PNL-USR-UDMR ruling alliance, but things really started to get bad at the end of summer. The first strong disagreements appeared over a EUR 10 bln public investment program promoted by PM Florin Citu but opposed by the USR-PLUS party due to a lack of accountability. 

Then, the tensions within the governing alliance skyrocketed when PM Citu decided to dismiss justice minister Stelian Ion, a member of USR-PLUS. This led to the fall of the ruling coalition, as USR-PLUS chose to withdraw its support for the PM and, days later, pull out its ministers from the government. 

The junior ruling partner said it would continue as part of the coalition with PNL, but it could no longer work with Florin Citu as head of government and asked him to take a step back. But this was out of the question for the Liberal PM, especially as he was running for the PNL president seat against Ludovic Orban. Thus, USR-PLUS decided to file a no-confidence motion, hoping this would lead to the change they wanted. However, the motion got stuck in procedures and never reached the vote in Parliament. 

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats filed their own no-confidence motion against the Liberal government. This time, the motion passed the Parliament vote, leaving Romania without a fully functional government. 

In the meantime, both PNL and USR-PLUS elected new presidents. Florin Citu managed to secure the PNL leadership, while Dacian Ciolos was elected president of USR-PLUS (which also rebranded as USR).

But a piece of positive news also arrived around the same time: the European Commission green-lighted Romania's Resilience Plan.

Romania's ruling coalition on the brink of break due to dispute on EUR 10 bln development program 

Romania's PM dismisses justice minister and loses support from coalition partner USR-PLUS 

Romania's Govt. endorses controversial EUR 10 bln public investment project 

Reformist USR-PLUS pulls out of Romania's Government 

Reformists' motion against Romania's Govt. still stuck in procedures 

RO Social Democrats boycott no-confidence motion, buy time for Liberal PM Citu 

Romania's Social Democrats bury reformists' no-confidence motion against Govt. to file "better one" 

Romania's Govt. falls after no-confidence vote 

EU officials: Romania needs a functioning Government to implement PNRR 

RO PM Citu wins party leadership but is far from restoring majority support in Parliament 

Romanian reformists elect MEP Ciolos as president and rebrand into USR  

European Commission greenlights Romania's EUR 29.2 bln recovery and resilience plan 

Political games and weeks of crisis

With the process of forming a new government came the political games. Which, in turn, translated into a weeks-long crisis with a rather surprising end.

Now the new leader of the Liberals, Florin Citu still hoped to be nominated for PM again despite just being thrown out by Parliament vote. And President Klaus Iohannis seemed to support this idea for a while, especially as he backed Citu in the internal elections in PNL. 

But as it was getting quite clear that USR would no longer work with Florin Citu, and without USR the government would not have the necessary support in Parliament, president Iohannis gave up plans to appoint acting PM Citu for another term. He nominated USR leader Dacian Ciolos instead. A nomination that was somehow unexpected, as USR had little or no support from the other parties. As a result, when it got to the vote in Parliament, Ciolos failed to win parliamentary approval for his government. 

President Iohannis argues he's entitled to designate PM Citu for another term 

Romanian President Iohannis calls parties for consultations but seeks minority cabinet 

Florin Citu remains Romanian Liberals' choice for the PM seat 

President Iohannis steps back from promoting acting PM Citu for another term 

RO President Iohannis nominates reformist leader Ciolos to form a Government 

Romania photo of the day: Parliament votes against Govt. proposed by PM-designate Ciolos 

The president then decided to nominate a Liberal for the PM seat - Nicolae Ciuca, the former defence minister and a retired general. However, Ciuca's cabinet had little chance of getting enough votes in the Parliament, so the Liberals started seeking partners.

The following weeks were sprinkled with ambiguous statements from the PNL, as they oscillated between going ahead with a minority government, trying to restore the alliance with USR or, as very few expected, considering a coalition with their long-time enemies - the Social Democrats. As weeks passed, it became evident that PNL had to find a solution to form a majority. To win some more time and find solutions, PM-designate Nicolae Ciuca gave up on his mandate to form a Government. 

RO president nominates defense minister as PM 

Liberal leader Citu ambiguous about further cooperation with Social Democrats 

Romanian PM-designate increasingly inclined to talk to reformist USR  

Romanian Social Democrats to conditionally support Liberal Government for three months 

RO Liberal leader can't believe PM-designate invites back reformist USR 

RO Liberals change their mind - want reformist USR back in their team again 

Romania's Liberals go ahead with minority cabinet despite lack of support 

Romania's PM-designate gives up mandate as Liberals seek to form majority for new Government 

Next, as it became clear that a minority government was not an option, the Liberals started to seriously seek partners for a new ruling coalition. Again, they were oscillating between their former allies – the reformist party USR – and their former adversaries – the Social Democrats (PSD). But as they were still upset that USR voted the no-confidence motion against Florin Citu (at least that's what the official statements said), PNL took the somewhat surprising decision to team up with the Social Democrats for a new government.

And, after complicated and lengthy negotiations, PNL and PSD decided to govern together, leaving their voters rather confused. Mainly because both PNL leaders and president Iohannis voiced harsh criticism against PSD over the years. Even in the recent weeks of political crisis, they repeatedly said that an alliance with PSD is out of the question. 

Now that a new political majority was formed - PNL-PSD-UDMR, the president nominated Nicolae Ciuca again for PM. On November 25, the Parliament voted the new government, putting an end to the around two-month political crisis in the country. 

RO Liberals seek coalition partner to form new Government 

Romanian Liberals opt to team up with former rival Social Democrats for new Government 

Romanian reformist leader Ciolos "disappointed" by emerging ruling coalition 

RO Liberals, Social Democrats agree on all non-essential topics, but not on power-sharing model 

RO president nominates again defense minister for PM position 

Romania's new government passes Parliament vote 

Romanian Liberals pledge to keep ruling coalition "as long as it pursues reforms" 

Romanian minister resigns over plagiarism allegations 

Romania's former Liberal leader Ludovic Orban announces new party 

Nothing new on the Schengen front

There has been some news this year about Romania's possible Schengen membership, but nothing concrete has happened yet, despite optimistic official statements. More so, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) was not lifted this year either. 

PM Citu says Romania could join Schengen this year 

Prime minister Citu says Romania is "fully prepared" to join Schengen 

EC advocates once more for Romania's Schengen membership 

European Parliament recommends Romania, Bulgaria for full Schengen membership 

PM Citu: EC supports the lifting of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Romania 

EC issues "encouraging" report on Romania's reforms under the CVM 

newsroom@romania-insider.com

(Photo source: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)

Normal
Profile picture for user irina.popescu0
Irina Marica
Senior Editor

Irina holds a BA in Journalism and has been part of the Romania-Insider.com team since its early days in 2011. She likes to keep the Romania-insider.com readers informed every day. Irina reports on various topics, on a wide range of areas such as politics, social or entertainment. She also writes travel or leisure articles, as well as interviews. She splits her time between Sinaia, her hometown, and Bucharest. Being born and raised in a mountain town, Irina loves spending time in nature, but she also likes to read, write, listen to music, travel, teach her dog new tricks and listen to other people’s stories (so don’t hesitate to contact her for an interview if you have an interesting story that you want to share with the Romania-insider.com readers). She dreams to visit Iceland one day and maybe get to see the Arctic Monkeys play live.  You can send her press releases or feedback on her stories by emailing irina.marica@romania-insider.com.

 

2021 political year in review: A tough year for Romania, with unexpected power shifts and months of uncertainty

The second pandemic year, 2021, was marked by political tensions and unexpected power changes. Romania started the year with a center-right ruling coalition forged after the parliamentary elections in December 2020 but ended it with a "left-right" coalition, leaving the voters somewhat confused. All while the country still battled the COVID-19 pandemic and economic concerns. This is the 2021 political year in review.

As Romania started 2021 with a fresh government and a center-right ruling coalition with solid parliamentary support, many expected things to run relatively smoothly this year. But things didn't go as planned, and the many internal scandals and disagreements finally broke the ruling alliance, leaving the country without an official government for weeks. Now, at the end of 2021, Romania is governed by a rather unexpected "left-right" coalition made of the Social Democrats (PSD), Liberals (PNL) and ethnic Hungarians (UDMR). Somehow, the rivals have become allies, leaving voters disoriented and putting the future in doubt. (Opening photo: Social Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu and Liberal leader Florin Citu) ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

A new year with a new government & ruling alliance

Following the parliamentary elections in late 2020, Romania started 2021 with a new centre-right ruling coalition made up of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the reformist USR-PLUS alliance, and the Democrat Hungarian Union (UDMR). And, of course, with a new prime minister - Liberal Florin Citu. Minor tensions appeared between the three partners right from the start, but nothing too worrying. Most were small issues related to public budget planning, justice reforms or negotiations for public positions. Plus, they started to sketch the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) - the program of reforms and investments covered by European money.

On the other hand, the Social Democrats (PSD) were getting used to their new place in opposition.

Meanwhile, Romania took the next step in the fight against COVID-19 and started vaccinating the population. And it had quite a good start, with top political officials, such as president Klaus Iohannis and PM Florin Citu, getting vaccinated publicly to boost people's confidence in the vaccine. 

Romanian president plays down tensions within ruling coalition

Romania's new ruling coalition plans to mend justice laws by June

RO opposition launches 2021 alternative budget planning before Government

RO Govt. unveils 2021 budget and promises big reforms 

Opposition to file "thousands" of amendments to RO Govt. 's budget law 

RO Parliament votes 2020 budget law in the form drafted by Govt

Romania's ruling coalition parties agree on sharing prefect seats 

Romanian president promulgates abolition of lawmakers' "special pensions" 

Romanian deputy PM Barna promises Recovery and Resilience Plan will be ready in time  

Romanian opposition urges Govt. to unveil Restructuring and Resilience Plan

RO Govt. moves ahead with allocating Recovery and Resilience money 

Romanian lawmakers close to dismantling controversial special investigation body 

Romania's president gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine: It is a simple procedure, it doesn't hurt 

The first major scandal & other tensions

The first big scandal in the ruling coalition emerged in March when Liberal PM Florin Citu started criticizing the activity of USR-PLUS health minister Vlad Voiculescu. The prime minister was mainly unhappy with how the Health Ministry handled the third wave of the pandemic. 

Things escalated quite quickly, and a few weeks later, the PM decided to dismiss minister Voiculescu. This triggered a big scandal within the ruling alliance, with USR-PLUS leaders accusing the PM of having taken the decision without consulting them. However, although the USR-PLUS party initially said it would no longer support prime minister Citu, the conflict eventually cooled down, and a new USR-PLUS health minister was appointed - Ioana Mihaila.

Rising tensions between Romania's Liberal PM and reformist health minister 

Evacuation of hospital for hosting COVID-19 patients stirs political tensions in Romania 

Romania's prime minister dismisses health minister and secretary of state 

Reformist USR-PLUS alliance says it no longer supports Romania's Liberal PM Florin Citu after health minister's dismissal

Romania's dismissed health minister criticizes PM, talks about system's vulnerabilities  

Conflict between Romanian PM and former health minister continues with dispute over reported COVID-19 death counts 

Political deadlock in Romania avoided for the time being 

New RO health minister outlines priorities of her mandate 

Romanian PM Citu: new coalition protocol brings nothing new 

But the PNL-USR coalition had to deal with challenges and tensions on other topics, too, such as the judiciary.

In the meantime, preparing for the internal elections and hoping to get another term as president of PNL, Ludovic Orban tried to secure support from party leaders. But PM Citu was already becoming a more popular option within the party, rising as a strong opponent to Orban for the PNL leader seat.

On the economic side, further steps were taken towards drafting the final form of the National Resilience Plan.

Head of RO ruling coalition says Justice Ministry rushed justice laws amendments

RO minister: new justice laws not promulgated before year end 

Tensions within RO ruling coalition linked to justice laws continue 

RO Deputies vote to abolish controversial prosecution office 

Romanian Liberal leader secures support from several local organizations 

Ludovic Orban to run for another term at top of Romania's Liberal Party  

Romanian PM Citu runs for president of the Liberal Party against Ludovic Orban 

Romania's PM Citu seeks support from president Iohannis for Liberal Party elections 

Romania's PM discusses Recovery and Resilience Plan with the EC president during "very constructive meeting"  

Romania's Resilience Plan is published, but fails to answer key questions 

Romanian Social Democrat opposition begins scrutiny of Resilience Plan 

Government survives first no-confidence motion + another minister dismissed

In June, the Social Democrats filed a no-confidence motion against the government led by Liberal Florin Citu, criticizing the Executive's economic measures and plans, including the PNRR. However, although the move was also backed by the radical party AUR, the government survived the no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Then, a few days later, PM Florin Citu decided to make another change in his cabinet and dismissed finance minister Alexandru Nazare, quoting "delayed projects at the Ministry of Finance." 

Meanwhile, new disagreements emerged within the ruling coalition, this time between USR-PLUS and UDMR. The topic: the dismantling of the controversial prosecution office SIIJ dedicated to investigating prosecutors.

Another story that made the headlines around the same period was that Liviu Dragnea, the former leader of PSD, was released from prison on parole. 

Romanian opposition files no-confidence motion against Government 

Romanian Social Democrats file motion in Parliament against Government 

Romanian PM Citu survives no-confidence motion 

Romania's PM dismisses finance minister  

Romania has new finance minister  

Romania's justice minister moves to dismantle Special Section after Venice Commission comments 

RO ruling coalition at risk due to Special Section for prosecutors 

Romania's junior ruling partner UDMR says Special Section dismantling still not settled 

Romania's former Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea released on parole 

The fall of the centre-right ruling coalition

The entire year was rather complicated for the PNL-USR-UDMR ruling alliance, but things really started to get bad at the end of summer. The first strong disagreements appeared over a EUR 10 bln public investment program promoted by PM Florin Citu but opposed by the USR-PLUS party due to a lack of accountability. 

Then, the tensions within the governing alliance skyrocketed when PM Citu decided to dismiss justice minister Stelian Ion, a member of USR-PLUS. This led to the fall of the ruling coalition, as USR-PLUS chose to withdraw its support for the PM and, days later, pull out its ministers from the government. 

The junior ruling partner said it would continue as part of the coalition with PNL, but it could no longer work with Florin Citu as head of government and asked him to take a step back. But this was out of the question for the Liberal PM, especially as he was running for the PNL president seat against Ludovic Orban. Thus, USR-PLUS decided to file a no-confidence motion, hoping this would lead to the change they wanted. However, the motion got stuck in procedures and never reached the vote in Parliament. 

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats filed their own no-confidence motion against the Liberal government. This time, the motion passed the Parliament vote, leaving Romania without a fully functional government. 

In the meantime, both PNL and USR-PLUS elected new presidents. Florin Citu managed to secure the PNL leadership, while Dacian Ciolos was elected president of USR-PLUS (which also rebranded as USR).

But a piece of positive news also arrived around the same time: the European Commission green-lighted Romania's Resilience Plan.

Romania's ruling coalition on the brink of break due to dispute on EUR 10 bln development program 

Romania's PM dismisses justice minister and loses support from coalition partner USR-PLUS 

Romania's Govt. endorses controversial EUR 10 bln public investment project 

Reformist USR-PLUS pulls out of Romania's Government 

Reformists' motion against Romania's Govt. still stuck in procedures 

RO Social Democrats boycott no-confidence motion, buy time for Liberal PM Citu 

Romania's Social Democrats bury reformists' no-confidence motion against Govt. to file "better one" 

Romania's Govt. falls after no-confidence vote 

EU officials: Romania needs a functioning Government to implement PNRR 

RO PM Citu wins party leadership but is far from restoring majority support in Parliament 

Romanian reformists elect MEP Ciolos as president and rebrand into USR  

European Commission greenlights Romania's EUR 29.2 bln recovery and resilience plan 

Political games and weeks of crisis

With the process of forming a new government came the political games. Which, in turn, translated into a weeks-long crisis with a rather surprising end.

Now the new leader of the Liberals, Florin Citu still hoped to be nominated for PM again despite just being thrown out by Parliament vote. And President Klaus Iohannis seemed to support this idea for a while, especially as he backed Citu in the internal elections in PNL. 

But as it was getting quite clear that USR would no longer work with Florin Citu, and without USR the government would not have the necessary support in Parliament, president Iohannis gave up plans to appoint acting PM Citu for another term. He nominated USR leader Dacian Ciolos instead. A nomination that was somehow unexpected, as USR had little or no support from the other parties. As a result, when it got to the vote in Parliament, Ciolos failed to win parliamentary approval for his government. 

President Iohannis argues he's entitled to designate PM Citu for another term 

Romanian President Iohannis calls parties for consultations but seeks minority cabinet 

Florin Citu remains Romanian Liberals' choice for the PM seat 

President Iohannis steps back from promoting acting PM Citu for another term 

RO President Iohannis nominates reformist leader Ciolos to form a Government 

Romania photo of the day: Parliament votes against Govt. proposed by PM-designate Ciolos 

The president then decided to nominate a Liberal for the PM seat - Nicolae Ciuca, the former defence minister and a retired general. However, Ciuca's cabinet had little chance of getting enough votes in the Parliament, so the Liberals started seeking partners.

The following weeks were sprinkled with ambiguous statements from the PNL, as they oscillated between going ahead with a minority government, trying to restore the alliance with USR or, as very few expected, considering a coalition with their long-time enemies - the Social Democrats. As weeks passed, it became evident that PNL had to find a solution to form a majority. To win some more time and find solutions, PM-designate Nicolae Ciuca gave up on his mandate to form a Government. 

RO president nominates defense minister as PM 

Liberal leader Citu ambiguous about further cooperation with Social Democrats 

Romanian PM-designate increasingly inclined to talk to reformist USR  

Romanian Social Democrats to conditionally support Liberal Government for three months 

RO Liberal leader can't believe PM-designate invites back reformist USR 

RO Liberals change their mind - want reformist USR back in their team again 

Romania's Liberals go ahead with minority cabinet despite lack of support 

Romania's PM-designate gives up mandate as Liberals seek to form majority for new Government 

Next, as it became clear that a minority government was not an option, the Liberals started to seriously seek partners for a new ruling coalition. Again, they were oscillating between their former allies – the reformist party USR – and their former adversaries – the Social Democrats (PSD). But as they were still upset that USR voted the no-confidence motion against Florin Citu (at least that's what the official statements said), PNL took the somewhat surprising decision to team up with the Social Democrats for a new government.

And, after complicated and lengthy negotiations, PNL and PSD decided to govern together, leaving their voters rather confused. Mainly because both PNL leaders and president Iohannis voiced harsh criticism against PSD over the years. Even in the recent weeks of political crisis, they repeatedly said that an alliance with PSD is out of the question. 

Now that a new political majority was formed - PNL-PSD-UDMR, the president nominated Nicolae Ciuca again for PM. On November 25, the Parliament voted the new government, putting an end to the around two-month political crisis in the country. 

RO Liberals seek coalition partner to form new Government 

Romanian Liberals opt to team up with former rival Social Democrats for new Government 

Romanian reformist leader Ciolos "disappointed" by emerging ruling coalition 

RO Liberals, Social Democrats agree on all non-essential topics, but not on power-sharing model 

RO president nominates again defense minister for PM position 

Romania's new government passes Parliament vote 

Romanian Liberals pledge to keep ruling coalition "as long as it pursues reforms" 

Romanian minister resigns over plagiarism allegations 

Romania's former Liberal leader Ludovic Orban announces new party 

Nothing new on the Schengen front

There has been some news this year about Romania's possible Schengen membership, but nothing concrete has happened yet, despite optimistic official statements. More so, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) was not lifted this year either. 

PM Citu says Romania could join Schengen this year 

Prime minister Citu says Romania is "fully prepared" to join Schengen 

EC advocates once more for Romania's Schengen membership 

European Parliament recommends Romania, Bulgaria for full Schengen membership 

PM Citu: EC supports the lifting of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Romania 

EC issues "encouraging" report on Romania's reforms under the CVM 

newsroom@romania-insider.com

(Photo source: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)

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