Romanian MEP Dacian Cioloş has announced that he will resign as president of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, pending confirmation of his victory in a national contest for the party’s leadership.
“I will step down as President of Renew Europe. I will go to inform my colleagues next week ”, Cioloș said to the Romanian press on Friday night.
He will officially assume leadership of Romania’s liberal Union to Save Romania-PLUS (USR-PLUS) once the decision is finalized at a party congress this weekend.
He also used his statements to the media on Friday to offer condolences to the families of the victims of a hospital fire who killed seven in the city of Constanța that same day. The legislator added that his new focus will be a new political role in Bucharest.
“I don’t want to join the government, I want to run the party,” Cioloş said. “As things are now, USR-PLUS will have an important role to play…. We must aspire to win the presidential, local and parliamentary elections ”.
The leadership change comes ahead of a no-confidence vote in the Romanian government, which could occur as early as Tuesday, according to local media.
The USR-PLUS will vote to overthrow the government it helped form in December 2020. left the coalition in September amid disagreements with Prime Minister Florin Cîțu of the National Liberal Party (PNL).
“We cannot take risks with an unpredictable prime minister who does not appreciate his partners”, Cioloș said, repeating his call for Cîțu’s resignation as the price for USR-PLUS’s return to the negotiating table to avoid a collapse of the government.
Cioloș, a former prime minister, has led the centrist group Renew Europe, the third-largest force in the European Parliament, since its inception in 2019.
The race to replace Cioloș started on Saturday, with liberal Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld announcing that she would run. She is a veteran liberal MEP and one of the most influential legislators in Parliament.
“Europe urgently needs a boost, and I believe that strong leadership can make Renew the leading force for change,” he told POLITICO. “I bring to the table a long experience in European politics and many years of deep involvement in the construction, union and direction of this political family.”
“It would be an incredible honor to have the opportunity to lead the most pro-European group in Parliament, a group brimming with energy and ideals, and to unleash its full potential,” he added.