Ilie Sârbu (born May 26, 1950) is a Romanian theologian, economist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), he sat in the Romanian Senate from 2004 to 2015, representing Timiş County. In the Adrian Năstase cabinet, he was Agriculture Minister from 2000 until July 2004, and he held the same position in the Emil Boc cabinet between 2008 and 2009.
He was born in Ciuta, Caraş-Severin County and holds two degrees, one obtained in 1975 from the Sibiu Theological Institute and one in 1998 from the University of Craiova Economics Faculty, with a Management specialty. He also studied Theology in Geneva (1984-1985), English in Birmingham (1989) and Finance in Germany (1994). Sârbu became a professor at the Caransebeş Theological Seminary in 1976 and its director in 1978, remaining until 1981. From 1981 to 1991, he was an economic adviser at the Metropolis of Banat of the Romanian Orthodox Church. During 2006, two accusations were made that Sârbu collaborated with the Securitate during the 1980s. The first came from a former Timiș County agent, who charged that Sârbu had been recruited for a mission to the Vatican; the latter denied this and presented a CNSAS certificate confirming that his name does not figure in existing files as having been an informant or agent. Then, after a second CNSAS certificate again exonerated him, it emerged that Sârbu's name appeared on a list belonging to the former spy Liviu Turcu, and that he had been a domestic agent; Sârbu vehemently denied the new claim (labelling Turcu a "traitor") and said he had in fact been under Securitate surveillance.
Following the 1989 Revolution, Sârbu entered business, working as the director of Fangmeier, a Timişoara-based grain distributor, from 1991 until 2000. In 1992, he helped secure the first McDonald's contract for Romania. He also joined the PDSR (predecessor of the PSD) in 1993. From that year until 2001, he was vice president of the Timiș County party chapter, and also sat on the party's national council. From 2001 to 2004 he was a member of the PSD's central coordinating bureau. Since 2004 he has headed the PSD's Timiș County chapter, and since 2005 he has been a vice president of the national party. During 2000, he was president of the Timiș County Council, and was appointed Agriculture Minister at the end of that year. In this capacity, he led and finalised negotiations with the European Union on the Agriculture chapter of the acquis. Several scandals affected his term: in 2001, he was accused of criminal involvement in the privatisation of a Prahova County company, but later cleared; in 2003, a number of national newspapers alleged that he obtained a spacious central Bucharest villa at far below market value through a shady deal; also, he lost a testicle in a hunting accident that December. He was dismissed in 2004 by Prime Minister Adrian Năstase so he could focus on party work, and stated the move came as "a surprise" to him.
Later in 2004, Sârbu was elected senator, serving as the body's secretary and, from October to December 2008, as its president, being elected to that position following the resignation of Nicolae Văcăroiu. In 2008, he was re-elected senator and named Agriculture Minister once again. In this capacity, he pledged to find new markets for Romanian agricultural products and to obtain additional funds through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Regarding the latter priority, at the April 2009 Council of Ministers meeting, he secured a commitment to raise subsidies by €35 per hectare, benefiting around 1.25 million farmers. Previously, he had fired 60 managers at the agency responsible for distributing the EU funds because of repeated delays in starting payments. Together with his PSD colleagues, Sârbu resigned from the cabinet on October 1, 2009, in protest at the dismissal of vice prime minister and Interior Minister Dan Nica. The following August, he was elected PSD leader in the Senate. In August 2015, he announced his withdrawal from politics, ahead of a planned confirmation to the Court of Accounts; this took place the following month.
- (Romanian) "Elena Băsescu şi Daciana Sârbu, exemple ale 'politicii din tată-n fiică' ("Elena Băsescu and Daciana Sârbu, Examples of 'Father-Daughter Politics'"), Realitatea, 2 March 2009; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Ilie Sârbu deţine o casă în Bucureşti, bijuterii şi tablouri de 45.000 de euro" ("Ilie Sârbu Has a House in Bucharest, Jewellery and Paintings worth 45,000 Euros"), Mediafax, 5 January 2009; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Guvern de regăţeni, cu 'moţ' ardelean" ("Old Kingdom Government, with a Few Transylvanians") Archived 2009-05-22 at the Wayback Machine., Adevărul, 19 December 2008; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Florina Zăinescu, Profile, Jurnalul Național, 18 December 2008; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Profile, impactnews; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Sârbu, acuzat din nou că a colaborat cu Securitatea" ("Sârbu, Accused Anew of Securitate Collaboration"), Evenimentul Zilei, 7 November 2006; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Profile at the Romanian Government site; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Remaniere degeaba" ("Futile Reshuffle"), Adevărul, 12 July 2004; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Marian Sultănoiu, Bogdan Cristea, "Ilie Sârbu, şeful Senatului pentru două săptămâni" ("Ilie Sârbu, Head of the Senate for Two Weeks"), Gândul, 28 October 2008; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Election results, alegeri.tv; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Cristina Stoian, "Ilie Sârbu, noul ministru al agriculturii: Trebuie să găsim nişe de piaţă pentru a echilibra balanţa externă agroalimentară" ("Ilie Sârbu, New Agriculture Minister: We Must Find Market Niches in Order to Balance the Foreign Agro-food Balance"), Ziarul Financiar, 9 January 2009; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Ilie Sârbu: Subvenţia la hectar va creşte cu 35 de euro" ("Ilie Sârbu: The Per-hectare Subsidy Will Rise by 35 Euros"), Mediafax, 25 April 2009; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) Mihaela Radu, "APIA, 'decapitată' de Ilie Sârbu" ("APIA, 'Decapitated' by Ilie Sârbu"), Cotidianul, 19 March 2009; retrieved May 18, 2009
- (Romanian) "Miniştrii PSD şi-au depus demisiile la cabinetul premierului Emil Boc" ("PSD Ministers Submit Their Resignations in the Office of Prime Minister Emil Boc"), Mediafax, 1 October 2009; accessed October 1, 2009
- (Romanian) "Ilie Sârbu, socrul lui Ponta, liderul senatorilor PSD" ("Ilie Sârbu, Ponta's Father-in-Law, PSD Senate Leader"), Evenimentul Zilei, 31 August 2010; accessed August 31, 2010
- (Romanian) Ștefan Pană, "Ilie Sârbu se retrage din politică" ("Ilie Sârbu Leaving Politics"), Mediafax, 30 August 2015; accessed August 30, 2015
- (Romanian) Mircea Marian, "Ilie Sârbu, ales de Parlament consilier la Curtea de Conturi" ("Ilie Sârbu, Chosen by Parliament as Court of Accounts Member"), Evenimentul Zilei, 16 March 2015; retrieved September 26, 2015