Cioloş, Dacian (Romania)

Reference work entry


Dacian Cioloş became prime minister on 17 Nov. 2015. A former European Union commissioner, he was appointed after his predecessor, Victor Ponta, resigned in the wake of protests over the circumstances of a nightclub fire that left 63 dead. Cioloş, a political independent who specializes in agriculture, leads a technocrat government tasked with restoring public confidence in the state.

Early Life

Dacian Cioloş was born on 27 July 1969 in Zalău, in the northwest of Romania, and graduated in horticultural engineering from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Cluj-Napoca. He undertook postgraduate studies in France at the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique in Rennes and later at the University of Montpellier, where he gained a doctorate.

Before entering politics, Cioloş worked as a consultant on several rural development projects as Romania transitioned to a market economy. In 2002 he was tasked with managing an agricultural programme designed by the European Commission to assist countries preparing to join the EU. In Jan. 2005 he was made an adviser to Romania’s agriculture minister, and also served as the country’s spokesman on the EU Council’s special committee on agriculture. He was appointed minister of agriculture in Oct. 2007, after Decebal Traian Remeș resigned over a corruption scandal, serving in the post until the parliamentary elections of Dec. 2008.

In Feb. 2010 Cioloş was approved as the commissioner for agriculture under European Commission president José Manuel Barroso. In the course of his 4 year term he led a major reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, as well as negotiating a series of international trade agreements on behalf of the EU. In July 2015 he was named special adviser on food security to the new European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The high death toll resulting from a fire at a Bucharest nightclub on 30 Oct. 2015 prompted thousands of people throughout Romania to protest against civic corruption. Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who was under investigation at the time for alleged corruption, was forced to step down. With public opinion ranged against the political classes, President Klaus Iohannis appointed Cioloş as his successor.

Career Peak

Although a political independent, Cioloş was often been aligned with the centre-right European People’s Party, which first nominated him for a job at the European Commission. His appointment as prime minister was supported by both the ruling Social Democrats and opposition conservative parties, and his cabinet won parliamentary approval by 389 votes to 115 on 16 Nov. 2015.

Cioloş led a cabinet of 21 technocrats, which included experts on the EU and leaders from the private sector. He was charged with restoring public confidence in the government by implementing institutional reform and measures against corruption.

Following parliamentary elections in Dec. 2016 in which the Social Democratic Party won a convincing victory Cioloş was succeeded as prime minister by Sorin Grindeanu.

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