President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday nominated Liberal MEP Eduard Hellvig at the helm of the Romanian Intelligence Service. SRI director position is vacant after George Maior resigned three weeks ago. The intelligence service’s leadership has been provided by SRI deputy director Florian Coldea.
“As you know, both national intelligence services were not having directors anymore lately, due to various reasons. And SRI has been in the limelight many times in the past weeks, due to some evolutions on the political scene. I considered SRI needed a complete team during this period to install the necessary calmness. This evening I have signed the letter addressed to the speakers of the Parliament chambers and I nominated Mr. Eduard Raul Hellvig. I also met the leaders of the parliamentary parties today and I informed them about my intention. I also talked to the Senate and Chamber speakers and the Parliament will debate this issue most probably next week,” Iohannis said during a press statement at Cotroceni Palace.
Asked what recommends Hellvig for this position, the Romanian President said “he has been searching for a person who can guarantee the Romanian Intelligence Service’s modernization and its complying with the European standards.” Iohannis thinks Hellvig has the necessary education and energy for this position, pointing out he knows the political actors and has enough information about SRI’s activity. “SRI earned a lot when it comes to public image, has notable results and registered significant progress. All these must be carried on and I strongly believe Mr. Hellvig can and will do that,” Iohannis argued.
On the other hand, Iohannis informed he would soon make a nomination also for the Foreign Intelligence Service’s director, as he did not want to make now nominations for both institutions at the same time.
Eduard Hellvig is considered a person closed to Iohannis, who stood by the incumbent president during the presidential campaign. Hellvig was also very close to former PNL President, Crin Antonescu, he was his personal adviser.
Hellvig won a MEP seat in 2013. Before that, he was Minister of Development in the Social Liberal Union’s Cabinet. Yet, he resigned from the minister position soon after he had been appointed, after the National Integrity Agency accused him of conflict of interest.
The High Court of Cassation and Justice ruled in favor of Hellvig in the case against ANI in December 2014.
While all parliamentary parties expressed their endorsement for Hellvig, assessing he is a good option, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the head of the Social Democrat Party, did not jump to any conclusion, only saying his party will discuss in their parliamentary groups the nomination.
However, the most acid reaction came from ex-president Traian Basescu who slammed Hellvig nomination in a Facebook post.
“<Grivco’s premier> (editor note: Klaus Iohannis who was once nominated as premier with the Conservative Party’s endorsement, whose honorary president, Dan Voiculescu owned Grivco group) succeeds to nominate one of Voiculescu’s men for the SRI leadership (the former president refers to the fact that Hellvig, before joining the Liberal Party, was a Conservative Party’s member). This is shocking!,” reads Basescu’s post.
According to Article 23 of Law 14 of February 24 1993, the position of SRI Director is equivalent to a minister’s rank.
The director is nominated in a joint sitting of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, at the suggestion of the President of Romania, after the nominee is heard by the committee in charge of the parliamentary control of the Romanian Intelligence Service; the committee then submits its report to the joint chambers of the Parliament, the law stipulates. The aforementioned law also requires the director to be sworn in by the Parliament.