A short notice in Romanian newspapers went almost unnoticed. Undeservingly. The National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS), the Romanian transitional justice institution, declared Andrei Marga “clean.” A philosopher by training, Marga served as Minister of Education in the Victor Ciorbea, Radu Vasile and Mugur Isarescu cabinets (1997-2000), during which time he implemented some reforms but not enough to rid the Romanian education system of its many endemic flaws. He then became known for unceremoniously faxing in his resignation as leader of the ‘historic’ Christian Democrat Peasant Party, months after that formation was literally obliterated by the 2000 parliamentary elections. After putting such an abrupt end to his political career, Marga returned to the University of Cluj, where he acted as its eminence grise. This year Marga served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Victor Ponta cabinet supported by the Social Democrats, heirs to the Communist Party that persecuted the Christian Democrats from 1945 to 1989. His ministerial stint was short (May to August) but memorable, leaving behind a mess that is still to be sorted out. Today he is president of the Romanian Cultural Institute, where he single-handedly and rapidly foiled all programs designed to promote Romanian culture abroad.

According to the so-called Ticu Law of December 1999, Romanian state dignitaries and presidents of public universities must undergo vetting procedures designed to uncover their former ties to the communist secret political police, the Securitate. Even before the Ticu Law came in effect, the Democratic Convention of Romania (which appointed the Ciorbea, Vasile and Isarescu cabinets) informally vetted their candidates for elected and nominated state positions. It is thus very likely that Marga was vetted several times by now, each time being declared fit to occupy public office and represent ordinary Romanians. It is, to my knowledge, the first time when the public is offered a reason for why Marga is “clean” of any former collaboration with the Securitate. He fulfils only one of the two conditions needed for somebody to be branded a securist – he spied on others (composing, writing down with his own hand, and signing information notes on other people), but he did not promise to become a Securitate agent (by signing a collaboration pledge, although he assumed the code name ‘Horia’). In the eyes of the CNSAS and the law, Marga is clean as long as the pledge is not discovered. But the fact remains that he did what all other secret informers did – provided information secretly and knowingly to the Securitate case officer, who then archived it in Marga’s secret file.

Meanwhile, Evenimentul Zilei published the CNSAS decision in the Marga case. It is available here – an interesting reading.