Barroso designated the roles in the European Commission on Friday. German Gunther Oettinger (56) will be energy commissioner. He is currently mayor of the Baden-Wurttemberg land. Starting with February 1st 2010, his well-defined voice will be heard in Brussels.

Gossips go that "Germany sold itself cheap", because the role is not near as far as important as it seems. The positive rumours whisper that the premier of the Swabian land in Germany has a history with Romania.

Pride, modesty, funny business

Gunther Oettinger (CDU) praised the Swabians and the Saxons from Romania any times for their "industry, their community spirit, exemplary integration in the German society", for the "pride in modesty" they have shown. The Baden-Wurttemberg land supported, under Oettinger's mandate, Romania's accession to the EU. This was encouraged by the fact that Romania allowed, especially after 1990, for 400,000 German ethnics to return to Germany.

In June last year, Gunther Oettinger visited Romania, accompanied by a delegation of 30 German officials and investors. His work agenda featured the four Romanian cities in full economic bloom: Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj and Sibiu. There were contracts of cooperation signed: to extend the professional training network in Romania (with German financing), in the research and the car projections departments, in consultancy for European funds absorption, insured by the German state administration retired staff.

There have been talks about the "Rhine - Danube fluvial axe", which would see the floating transport between the two countries intensifying. The German land PM visited Bucharest in 2008 as well, when he saw LBBW development agent's project. Under the "German Neighbourhood" name, the Baden-Württemberg land state bank, alongside Herberger Bau AG and a Tiriac Group company, started to build 500 homes and offices.

The LBBW issue

LBBW from Stuttgart is the biggest bank with German state capital and has been strongly affected by the financial crisis. In August 2009, its building division attracted the attention of the Stuttgart prosecutors. Projects in Germany worth tens of million euros were suspected of mismanagement and corruption. They have been monitored by the German prosecutors, alongside several LBBW projects from Romania.

Sttutgarter Zeitung reads about the "neighbourhood from Chitila", where buyers who have cancelled their contract due to construction delays, got back double the deposit paid. In the case of one real estate project from Cluj (Central-West), which has been stopped, the land owners allegedly got 200,000 euros before signing the contract. The money would have been lost were they not to sign the contract.

The German prosecutors also investigate the full price for the land, namely 18.5 million euros, which has been carried out before receiving building authorisation. Through these unjustified payments and loss of interests, LBBW would have ended up with a negative balance sheet, the German daily concludes.

Land premier Gunther Oettinger will soon lose the state bank's worries. Starting with February next year in Brussels, his competency will cover economic light bulbs. A Swabian, economising for energy will not be a problem for him.

And, by shaking colleague Dacian Cilos' hand, he will probably remember the other Swabians, the ones from Romania.