Iohannis recalls 26 Romanian ambassadors – is a paradigm shift on the horizon?

The wind of change is blowing in Romanian politics, as President Klaus Iohannis has recalled more than two dozen ambassadors in the past few days. In total, 26 ambassadors received the “we need you back home ASAP” phone call from Iohannis, some in key countries such as Russia, Turkey, the Netherlands and Hungary. It is possible that George Maior, the Romanian ambassador to the United States, will also receive the call.

Among the possible explanations for the change is that their mandates expired, but Romanian media outlets are claiming there is much more to it: Romania is preparing for a paradigm shift in its external politics. Alongside pouring fresh blood into its diplomatic corps, another target allegedly set by the Romanian government is to make the Ministry of External Affairs (MFA) politics-free, which wasn’t possible in the PSD-era.

The process of reducing the required age to be an ambassador started last November 2019, when expertise became the main criterion. Now, according to anonymous sources cited by Digi24, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu has a list of 31 potential ambassadors, out of which 17 are men and 14 women. The average age of the candidates has dropped to 46 from 51.

The candidate for the ambassador to Russia is an expert in security policy and arms control; Romania’s relationship with Russia is expected to undergo a significant change. Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told Digi24 that as ambassador to Vietnam, a 42-year-old female diplomat with long-term expertise in the Asia Pacific region will be named; for North Macedonia, a 43-year-old female diplomat, currently director of the MFA and previously a specialist in international relations via several positions abroad, will be appointed; and for the Czech Republic, a 44-year-old female diplomat, currently director-general at the MFA and a European bilateral relations specialist, will be named.

Title image: President Iohannis makes a phone call. Image source: EZV.ro

Author: István Fekete