The foreign ministry's attempts at embassy reform have been greeted with some obvious criticisms, from the former members of the PSD and diplomats who feel they were unfairly sacked. But one of the biggest concerns is that this revolution has happened before a proper reconstruction plan is put into place (see Reports).
Foreign minister Ungureanu is probably right that a transformation of the way in which ambassadors are appointed is necessary and that changes in human resources are needed to create a more efficient and professional ministry.
But the reform is continuing to attract bad press, with fired diplomats taking the Government to court for unfair dismissal claims. There are also concerns that the process is being undertaken from the wrong vantage point, by removing those in senior positions, rather than rebuilding the organisation from the bottom-up.
Of course, the retiring of an ambassador to the USA is going to make more headlines than the hiring of a time-and-motion expert in the ministry's secretariat, but the government department may need to make the nature of the reforms more clear and critic-proof.
The Government may also find that its attempts to depoliticise the diplomatic service will prove a hard task to achieve. With a large tranche of its staff now retired, are there really enough senior, professional and qualified ambassadors who have no party allegiance available for the positions? And could attempts to ensure that these appointments are 'non-political' actually keep out some of the best candidates?
The ministry may also find that ambitious statements made today in support of depoliticisation may be used against it in the future by some newspapers as they dig up proof of connections between diplomats and political parties.
There may be some irony in an English language magazine highlighting the importance of a summit of French-speaking nations (see Features), but the Francophonie countries should be celebrated for managing to promote a common language and ties that has allowed Romanians, in particular, to study abroad as well as share business, cultural and scientific knowledge. While the global trend is towards the English language and teenagers in Bucharest now seem to speak every other sentence in English, it is a failure of English-speaking nations that so many of these young people prefer to study in France.