Interview with Mr. Șerban Nicolae
Senator, first I would like to tell us something about you
I was born in Bucharest, on 5 April 1968 and grew up in a little mountain resort city, Azuga. My family moved out in Bucharest where I studied and graduated High School, in 1986 and I started working at the Mechanics Plant – my father worked here from 1975 until 1985 – and then I joined the army. Returned from this service, I worked in the department of measurement and control devices, a team that achieved prototypes. The Revolution caught me as a worker at the plant.
When the Revolution started, on December 22, being part of a group of workers, I was leading and heading this people towards the center of the city and even confronting the barricades that controlled the military in the front of the Ministry of Agriculture. Back to work, I was really intimidated by the fact that my opinion was required in nearly everything from the changes of the company’s security system to a variety of actions and issues.
In 1992, facing unemployment and being a student of the Faculty of Law, this tough situation affected me just for a short term.
In order to sustain myself, I worked in a bar and in February 1993, participating in a contest; I won a position for a Reviewer (referent) in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Youth Department. It was a new field which offered many challenges and opportunities for accumulating experience in the four years, both in terms of work bureaucratic administration and in terms of working with civil society, international organizations – mainly European – and other public authorities.
In 1997, I went straight to the profession and practicing law. Thanks to my three professionals: Vlad Manoliu, Mariana Negoita and Stephen Roman, I accumulated a lot of knowledge in practicing this great job. They were not only prestigious lawyers, but also with exceptional behaviour patterns from which I learned a lot about honesty, professionalism, decency and rigor.
In 2001, Romanian President Ion Iliescu gave me an unexpected chance – the position of State Counselor (Adviser) for legal problems and allowed me to become known in media decision at the highest level, both politically and professionally.
This position was one of great responsibility. All acts of the President, decrees were made by the legal department. I’ve coordinated the Special Committee on the prosecution of crimes committed by ministers and cases „Basescu – Fleet” and „Muresan – Sunoil” have long been in the forefront of media.
In June of 2004 I was proposed by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and President Ion Iliescu and then being appointed as Minister for Relations with the Parliament.
At the November 2004 elections, I was elected senator in Ialomita, from P.S.D. and the new government; I became Quaestor of the Senate. From September 2005 until April 2006 I have been an MEP, the European Parliament observer. It was undoubtedly a great opportunity for gaining experience. I resigned, considering that eight months was sufficient to understand the main landmarks in the functioning of this institution and we preferred to try to become a senator home among 137 senators important than be anonymous from about 750 MEPs. Remain with the satisfaction of being the first Romanian lawmaker whose proposal was included in a resolution of the
European Parliament. I was a member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee.
After resigning from Parliament, I became deputy leader of the largest group senatorial, P.S.D. and deputy Senate’s Legal Committee. I have signed on 38 bills and about half have become law, even though I was senator of the opposition.
I spoke in Parliament a few hundreds of times.
This public career has given me great satisfaction. I became known not only as a politician, but most
importantly, receiving professional recognition. Many lawyers are undoubtedly incomparably better prepared professionally than me, but among professionals who make law and political opinion, my expertise is taken into an account.
In 2003, I married Adriana and in 2004, Maria was born, our daughter.
I received a Ph.D. in international relations, with proposal for „Magna cum laude” in 2009.
Between 2002 and 2006, I experienced teaching, being an assistant and then lecturer at the Faculty of International Relation at the Faculty of Law of the „Spiru Haret” University Bucharest.
In 2008, I was elected president of the Federation of Credit Union Central of Romania – FEDCAR. Our organization, representing the interests of tens of thousands of members, managing assets worth millions of euro is the only such international affiliated to the World Council of Credit Unions – WOCCU.
In 2009, I was for six months, the Head of the Schengen Department of the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs.
We renegotiated agreement on border security signed with EADS, Europe’s largest corporation, I attended meetings of the European Council of Justice and Home Affairs and I put my signature on the management of hundreds of millions of euros. Bottom line was perhaps the most intense activity in a public dignity. However, even here I have not gone unnoticed and are remembered by the workers of this complex system. My name has never been involved in any public scandal and have not been targeted by criminal investigations for corruption or fraud.
After the resignation from Ministry of Internal Affairs, I have returned to the Bar Association, in 2010. I am a lawyer, associate member of Law association, „Serban Nicolae and Associates” and practicing the insolvency law as sole shareholder of TEMPUS IPURL Group.
Since 2012, I am senator elected in college Mehedinti, from PSD
What prompted you to enter politics?
It happened immediately after the 1989 revolution, in early 1990, when I was almost 22 years old.
I had the occasion to meet face to face with Ion Iliescu, Corneliu Manescu and other leaders of the new Democratic powers. I got into a discussion with them about politics, democracy, freedom of opinion and elections. The natural behavior of these new rulers of the country, dealing with people, being open for dialogue with ordinary citizens and willing to learn my opinions, to explain me some issues, impressed me and drew me irresistibly to policy. Social democracy was the natural choice. I did not even know at that moment that my maternal grandfather was a member of the Romanian Social Democratic Party before World War II.
Always interested about the society I live in, the problems of many, combating social injustice and obligations which the State must assume their responsibilities to their citizens. After 26 years, still believe in freedom and democracy, in social justice, the justice and the rule of law, the respect of everyone’s dignity.
What do the Romanian Government and financial institutions in Romania to attract US investment?
Most credible advocates of American investments in Romania are the Americans already present here. They can confirm that Romania has a functional economy that meets all the market rules. Effectively fight corruption, simplified legislation, transparency and predictability of tax rules and trade, are constant concerns of Romanian parliamentary and governmental authorities. Authorities have to ensure that this framework remains functional, that any corruption and abuse are preventable and, if they occur, are severely repressed with no exceptions. Romanians believe in the Romanian-American partnership and sincere cooperation. As our troops fight shoulder to shoulder in the fields of operations, civilians can join entrepreneurship and investment initiative. It’s all about mutual trust, one that is hard to win but lost so easily. Success stories of American investments in Romania say we are on the right track and encouraging us to continue this way.
Romanian partnership with the US is a very special one. US investments are the best guarantee of a
functioning market economy. The significant presence of American investments in Romania is safer and more important than rating agencies classifications.
What would you do if you were President of Romania?
I have the advantage of being familiar with all the rigors of the presidential office. On the first day of the mandate of President of Romania, I would request the convening of Parliament to speak to deputies and senators with a message that sets international benchmarks and domestic policy mandate. I would summon a meeting of the Government to be present to analyze the main issues of
national interest. I would also request the participation in the meeting of the Superior Council of Magistracy to reconcile the functional elements of the judiciary in Romania with the obligations of the executive authority in this area. Also on the first day, would convene an informal meeting of the Supreme Council of National Defense. I would not finish the first day in office, without scheduling
receiving ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Bucharest belonging Member N.A.T.O. and the European Union.
Romania must clarify and to depoliticize analyze their past. I think we can look clearly and honestly to the recent past towards the interwar period, World War II, the Holocaust and communist totalitarianism, assuming our mistakes and the bad consequences. It is the obligation of any president of Romania, as past tragedies do not happen again.