PM Ponta: Gov’t reshuffle possible only in July

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said at the Palace of Parliament on Thursday that Conservative leader Daniel Constantin had been right when saying that should there be the idea of broader government reshuffle after Minister-delegate for Budget Liviu Voinea leaves to take up as National Bank of Romania’s Board member, it would have to be made in July.

‘Daniel Constantin was right. He is one of the (ruling) coalition leaders, alongside the (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania president) Hunor Kelemen and (the National Union for the Progress of Romania head) Gabriel Oprea and as soon as we wish to make changes to the government, we discuss them all four of us and then I propose them to the president. I think Mr. Daniel Constantin answered you a question relating Mr Liviu Voinea’s leaving. I paid attention to what he said and he said a very correct thing,’ said Ponta, leader of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD).

When asked whether there is dissatisfaction in the party over Transport Minister Dan Sova’s activity, Ponta replied: ‘I am not dissatisfied. When I make changes, I’ll discuss them with the ministers and will propose them to the president. I am satisfied with the activity of all the ministers and when I am not, I tell them, not you. This is the way a team works’, the prime minister told reporters.

A day before, Vice Prime Minister Daniel Constantin, also a minister of agriculture and rural development said that a possible government reshuffle should be made as soon as possible, possible in July. When asked whether broader reshuffle of the government might take place in summer, he answered: ‘I cannot pronounce, it is for the prime minister to say.’

On the other hand, Prime Minister Ponta stated yesterday that he would rehire the demoted Gov’t inspectors, in accordance with the court’s decision which has earned them the right to re-occupy their previous positions. However, he explained they were demoted because there was no use for them, not even for mowing the Government lawn. “We had 30 Government employees who did nothing. I have no tasks to give them and I have no use for them; they are called Government inspectors. I thanked them, we shook hands, and I told them, ‘Go on the labour market!’ And so they went, after which they sued me and won, so I now have to hire them back. I don’t know what to do with them, I can’t assign them to anything, not even to mowing the Government lawn. Of course, I will respect the court’s decision and rehire them, although I have no use for them. I didn’t fire them in order to hire friends of mine; I simply didn’t know what to do with them (…),” Ponta said at an economic conference. He called attention to the fact that these inspectors are paid wages as high as the Prime Minister’s from public money, thus underlining that even if certain decisions of the court are difficult to understand, the Government is compelled to uphold and apply them. In addition, the PM warned the state will never be able to implement staff cutbacks in the context of such decisions and he emphasized that the private sector is faced with the same problem because employees can sue the company for wrongful dismissal. A partnership between the private and public sectors is necessary to find a solution in this respect, Ponta continued.

We remind our readers that the Bucharest Court of Law ruled that the Gov’t must rehire the 23 Gov’t inspectors laid off last summer and pay compensations equal to the indexed wages plus other due benefits. The decision is not final.

State to apply court ruling on free drugs for cancer patients


According to Ponta, the State will abide to a court ruling compelling the Ministry of Health and the National Healthcare Insurance House (CNAS) to provide free new drugs to seven cancer patients. Asked when and how the issue of cancer medication will be solved, with the list of subsidized drugs not updated, Ponta answered, ‘When the insolvency law is signed; when we fight tax avoidance that devastates all the matters of life. (…) We need money. With more money for the budget, we can subsidize more drugs. Where do you think the [funding of the] drugs list comes from?’ The Court of Appeal of Bucharest ruled on Wednesday that the Ministry of Health and CNAS must provide free drugs to seven cancer patients, who sued them for quicker access to new treatment and medication. New drugs are not included in the list of subsidized and free medication, as the authorities did not update it.


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