Last month we were in the Romanian Cultural Institute New York for a reading of contemporary Romanian plays, an event which sparked an interesting discussion about art and politics on the P Club site.
Next month? The institute may not exist. Not as we know it, anyway.
The Romanian Cultural Institute under the Senate’s control
by Romanian Cultural Institute New York on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 9:11am ·
On June 13 the new Romanian Government issued an urgent ordinance (a law that skips parliament through government responsibility, because of national urgency) in the name of de-politising the Romanian Cultural Institute. The urgency? The feeling of national belonging within Romanian communities abroad is permanently threatened by the current organization of the RCI.
Basically, the law changes the mission of the Institute from representing Romanian culture abroad to serving the Romanian communities abroad. So it’s not bringing Romanian culture to foreign audiences anymore, it’s about bringing Romanian culture to the Romanian communities. The law also changes current management and submits the Institute to the Senate. Until now the Institute has been under the authority of the President of Romania, who only appointed the President of the Institute but couldn’t interfere in the programming or structure. This was considered “political control” by the new government, an urgent matter which couldn’t be delayed. So it decided to make it all political by appointing the board by vote of senate. The majority of Senate present, that is. Vice presidents of RCI can’t be affiliated to political parties, according to the new law, but there is no mention about the RCI president’s status – therefore the president could be a member of a political party.
What follows is not a fragment from Kafka, but the full translation of the new law which organizes the new Romanian Cultural Institute, and will dissolve RCI as it is in less than 15 days.
Ordinance No. 27 of 13.06.2012
regarding some measures in the cultural field
Document issued by: the Government of Romania
Document Published in the Official State Monitor. 400 of June 14, 2012
Given the need to enhance and amplify different forms of cultural relations with Romanian communities abroad, in order to preserve and perpetuate national identity, a goal of particular importance in the context of globalization, including cultural globalization, taking into consideration the fact that reaching this goal requires parliamentary control in the organization and functioning of the Romanian Cultural Institute through the Romanian Senate, in its quality of decisional chamber for adopting draft laws and legislative proposals on foreign policy, and which has permanent commissions specialized in this area such as the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the European Affairs Committee and the Commission for Romanians Everywhere, taking into account the need for spending public money by the Romanian Cultural Institute, in complete legality, by avoiding any financial accounting irregularities, such as those identified, in time, by the reports of the Romanian Court of Accounts, considering the dispositions of art. 116 of the Romanian Constitution, republished, which governs the structure of central government, respectively ministries organized in subordination to the Government and other bodies which may be organized in subordination to the Government or Ministries, or as autonomous administrative authorities, given the general disposition of art. 111. Paragraph 1 of the Constitution, which states government and the other organs of public administration are subject to parliamentary control, taking into consideration the need to respect the constitutional framework through reorganization of the Romanian Cultural Institute as an autonomous administrative authority, with legal personality, submitted to parliamentary control, taking into account that not adopting the measures proposed in this law will lead, on one hand, to the extension of the highly negative effects of some state of affairs that tend to affect, permanently, the sense of belonging to the Romanian nation of those who are already settled, temporarily, in other states, and on the other hand, to maintaining of some dysfunctionalities referring to the organization and functioning of the Romanian Cultural Institute, considering that all evidence presented above concerns the public interest, so by this it consists as an emergency and extraordinary situation, the ruling of which cannot be postponed, according to art. Article 115. (4) of the Romanian Constitution, republished, the Government of Romania adopts this law.
The Romanian Cultural Institute, the national public institution with legal personality under the authority of the President of Romania, is reorganized as an autonomous administrative authority, with legal personality, under parliamentary control.
Law no. 356/2003 on the establishment, organization and functioning of the Romanian Cultural Institute, published in the Official Gazette, Part I, no. 529 of July 23, 2003, as amended and supplemented, is hereby amended as follows:
A. In Article 1 (1) reads as follows:
(1) The Romanian Cultural Institute, hereinafter the Institute, is organized and operates as an autonomous administrative authority, with legal personality, under parliamentary control.
Two. Article 6 (2) read as follows:
(2) The governing board is chaired by the President of the Institute and has the following composition:
- the President Institute;
- One member appointed by the President;
- One member appointed by the Prime Minister;
- A Secretary of State appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by order;
- A Secretary of State appointed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, by order;
- A Secretary of State appointed by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, by order;
- the President of the Romanian Academy or a Vice President designated by him;
- 14 members appointed by the Senate, by the vote of majority of the Senators present at the time of vote, from which 7 members proposed by the creators’ associations and unions and 7 members appointed by the Permanent Bureau of the Senate.
Three. Article 6 (4) is abolished.
Four. Article 8 (3) reads as follows:
(3) Extraordinary Council meetings of the Institute can be called at the request of the Permanent Bureau of the Senate, Senate Standing Bureau, the President of the Institute or a quarter of all members. The meetings shall be called through any means of communication, stating the agenda, date, time and place.
Five. Article 12 (1) reads as follows:
(1) The operative management of the Institute is provided by a president with the rank of Secretary of State, assisted by two vice presidents, with the rank of Secretaries of State, who are appointed to or removed from office by the Senate, through the majority of votes of those present, and at the proposal of the Permanent Bureau of the Senate. The Vice President mandate is four years, with possibility of renewal. The position of Vice-President of the Institute is incompatible with membership of a political party.
6. Article 14 reads as follows:
The maximum number of positions at the Institute is 184, excepting dignitaries.
In term of 15 days after the effective date of this ordinance, the Senate will appoint the operative management of the Institute and its Board members whose appointment to office is the Senate’s responsibility, in accordance to Art. Article 6. (2) of Law no. 356/2003 on the establishment, organization and functioning of the Romanian Cultural Institute, with subsequent amendments and the amendments made by this law.
Minister of Culture and National Heritage,
Secretary General of the Government,
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister