Newspaper CORRIERE DEL TICINO – Special Edition (Part II)


Sandra Pralong is in the Presidential Administration staff, at the leadership of the Department of Romanians from abroad.

 Twenty-six years after the fall of the most bloody communist regime in Europe, Romania is today, in all respects, a country belonging to the EU that implements deep reforms in order to modernize and relaunch his own role. The special envoy of the newspaper “Corriere del Ticino” has travelled to Bucharest to take the pulse of the profound changes that are taking place. During five episodes (today we will publish the third one), we will present some topical issues, without excluding the inklings with Switzerland.

 BUCHAREST – Romania is a country that never ceases to amaze and it does so, from several points of view. At its helm, from December 2014, there is a chairman of German origin, Klaus Iohannis, who is faithful till the end to its origin (minority in this country), and who deals with the reform of the state with a very pragmatic approach based more on facts than words. It is enough to think of his uncompromising line of fighting against corruption. Recently, Iohannis has used the Facebook site again, to defend legality (defying the unpopularity after all parties attacked him after some initial contrary statements) in relation to the eviction of the popular Antena 3 TV from her historical buildings, which are owned by the public administration, and he declared that he will no longer want to give it up on them, after years of neglect.

The surprise, even for those who are following the political events in this country, is even greater when they discover that among the closest collaborators of Iohannis, acting as counsellor to the State Department for Relations with Romanians from abroad, there is a person of great experience – even internationally – who has a Swiss passport and a strong emotional bond with the Confederation: Sandra Pralong. The fact that a senior representative of the Romanian state also has a Swiss citizenship, we confess, has made us a bit curious. In order to have a dialogue with her, on the conference that she has organized and that was emblematic entitled “Romanian diaspora, vector of development” (see SUGGESTED), we waited more than an hour in the sumptuous hall of  Cotroceni Palace. Many guests were staying in line to known her or simply to shake her hand.

When the state counsellor received us – we underlined that she is a Swiss citizen – she said  ” I was proud to spend a significant period of my life” in our country, particularly in Lausanne, where during 1974 – 1981 I have graduated my studies (in economics and political science) and I have married “a fantastic colleague from Vallese: Christophe Pralong”.

Which are her memories about Switzerland? “I have wonderful memories – explained – and above all, what I have always appreciated about the Confederacy, is the simplicity of the relationship between higher institutions and citizens. Availability and humility, a sign of a real and deep democracy. “These virtues mentioned by the High Representative of the State, also appear quite clear in the curriculum of Sandra Pralong, who is already at her second term as counsellor of the Presidency, after she has already performed this role at the side of President Emil Constantinescu between 1998 and 2000 (the last time she was appointed to this position on  September 1, 2015 by the President Klaus Iohannis, himself). Due to her experience as a professor, the time spent abroad in humanitarian aid (significant experience gained within the UN) and as a counsellor, Sandra Pralong recalls how, in the context of his work as a presidential counsellor, in memory of her husband who died in Africa, she has already established the Christophe Pralong Award. A recognition for the Swiss students from Lausanne University, who have developed a social, business or academic project, for a developing country or for one of the new EU Member States (Bucharest is member since 2007). What can she tell us about her work at the Department of the Diaspora? “Romania – concludes Pralong – needs its best forces, we must work for those who are abroad to understand that we are seriously active in the development of our country and that we are determined to achieve this.”

Upon my Swiss word.

Source: CDT