Romanian President Traian Basescu put forward the name of former Foreign minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu to lead the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) of the country. Last week several newspapers informed that the President planned to nominate Ungureanu for SIE. Sources argue that Ungureanu accepted the proposal on the grounds that Romania has no coherent foreign representation.

Basescu chose Ungureanu because, as a Liberal Party member, he has the support of the governing Liberals (PNL) as well as of many from the main opposition party, the Social Democrats (PSD). Thus, he is hardly expected to face any trouble being approved in the Parliament when a vote takes place in early December.

According to legal procedures, Ungureanu needs to be heard by the special commissions and then voted by the Parliament. He replaces former SIE chief Claudiu Saftoiu, a former presidential aide named head of the Service only to resign in April this year.

Two former SIE directors told that while Ungureanu may not face difficulties in getting the approval of the Parliament, hard times are waiting for him when he takes over the job effectively.

Saftoiu told that Ungureanu should make serious changes at the level of SIE leadership, but that would have to gain the trust of the people in order to do so. That is because the generals leading the institution are known for their strong resistance towards change.

For his part, Catalin Harnagea, who led SIE between 1997 and 2000, said he would not expect many pleasant things for Ungureanu, given the strength of the generals and their connections to political circles.