A group of famous Romanian artists accused the new centre-left government Thursday of trying to destroy the Romanian Cultural Institute, the main promoter of the country's culture abroad.
The government of Prime Minister Victor Ponta passed an emergency order Wednesday putting the cultural institute, known as the ICR, under the control of the senate, a decision slammed by artists and staff members as an attempt to take political control of the institute.
"The ICR works very, very well. There is absolutely no reason to change anything in its structure", said movie director Cristi Puiu, a darling of the Cannes Film Festival.
The ICR has 17 offices abroad including in New York, Tel Aviv and Paris.
Ponta defended the move, saying the institute would be less politicised under senate control, whereas it had until now been under the control of the Romanian presidency.
President Traian Basescu is one of Ponta's political rivals.
The ICR management denied ever coming under any kind of political pressure.
Puiu is a leading member of a new wave of Romanian directors that emerged after the country's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu fell in 1989.