Canada’s ambassador in Bucharest, Kevin Hamilton, has stated during a meeting with the representatives of the Technical University in Iasi that, during his mandate in Romania, his goal is to correct the wrong image that Romania has in the West.
“Although it has made remarkable progress in the past 30 years, Romania still has an image issue in Western Europe, Canada and USA and it’s not fair (…) The image is the one of a post-communist country which is mostly based on agriculture, when the reality is the one in your institution, which is taking part in the most innovative research projects in Europe and in the world, in such fields as robotics, chemistry engineering, artificial intelligence and many others. This is the new and real Romania,” the Canadian ambassador said, according to the university’s press release.
Ambassador Kevin Hamilton has met several members of the university’s leadership and has visited some of the cutting-edge labs of the institution. A collaboration protocol between the University of Iasi and the University of Ottawa was also signed in the presence of the ambassador.
The Canadian diplomat had also met Iasi mayor Mihai Chirica on Tuesday, with local media reporting that Hamilton told the journalists after meeting the mayor that the fact people are taking to the streets for peaceful protests prove that Romania has a strong democracy.
According to the local media, ambassador Hamilton said that Canada, like many other international partners, is concerned, sharing the same concern as many protesters, regarding the justice reform and the justice laws package that is currently in parliamentary procedure. “Romania has made remarkable progress on anti-corruption fight since 2007 up to present. Many parts of this law package seem to reverse this process. That’s why we fully understand the protesters’ discontent,” the Canadian ambassador said.
In retort, the minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Ilan Laufer, accused ambassador Hamilton of interference in Romania’s home affairs.
“I am also concerned about the way you go beyond your duties for which you have been accredited to represent your country, Canada, in Romania. By your statement and conduct, you are interfering in Romania’s domestic policy, which is strictly forbidden under the Vienna Convention, the Romanian Constitution and law 296/2003, article 50, line f, which bans the members of the Romanian diplomatic corps, and I presume it goes both ways, from declaring or taking part in strikes, demonstrations, rallies, processions or other political meetings, which is, obviously, outside your diplomat statute,” minister Laufer posted on Facebook.