After two days of protests industry union members affiliated to Cartel Alfa have obtained a meeting with Social Dialogue Minister. A new meeting has been scheduled for next week to jointly prepare a draft ordinance on renewable energy.
Premier Victor Ponta met the representatives of ALRO Slatina company at the government yesterday. According to a communique remitted to the press, the talks centered on the green certificates issue, against the backdrop of public debates on the law approving emergency government ordinance (OUG) 57/2013. Victor Ponta assured the representatives of ALRO that the government supports the law’s coming into force by Wednesday, March 19. “The Prime Minister is asking the Romanian President to urgently promulgate the law approving OUG 57/2013, in order to solve the problem signaled by ALRO representatives and to avoid generating price hikes for the Romanian industry and household consumer,” the communique quoted by realitatea.net shows.
Second day of protests for industry sector unions
Approximately 800 persons from all industry sector unions protested yesterday, for the second consecutive day, outside the government headquarters, demanding a solution to the OUG concerning the production of renewable energy, a stop to the over taxation of electricity and to the rapid liberalization of natural gas prices. “Armed” with flags and whistles, the protesters displayed banners reading “millions of Romanians bring prosperity to energy sector mafia” and “government officials, don’t drive the people into poverty!”
The protest ended after three hours, after union leaders talked with Social Dialogue Minister Aurelia Cristea. Bogdan Hossu, the president of the “Cartel Alfa” National Union Confederacy, stated that the officials he talked to showed openness and invited them back to the government on Tuesday in order to work jointly with the employers’ associations on a draft emergency ordinance on renewable energy. Hossu pointed out that this draft will be approved during the government’s meeting next Wednesday in case the Constitutional Court does not take a decision in what concerns OUG 57/2013 on the production of renewable energy. The union leader also stated that the meeting scheduled on Tuesday will also touch upon the hiking of the methane gas price, an issue that will be discussed with the representatives of the Competition Council, the Economy, Finances and Energy ministries in an attempt to find a solution in order to delay the price hike by six months. Hossu pointed out that an attempt will be made to introduce this hike in stages, since the price of gas should be 2.6 times higher on April 1, and that would represent “a shock.” The day before, over 150 union members from the industry sector protested outside the Constitutional Court headquarters.
Basescu: OUG on green certificates is in force, Ponta lying
Traian Basescu stated on Wednesday evening that the OUG on green certificates is in force, as adopted by the government, pointing out that Premier Victor Ponta is lying when stating otherwise. According to the President, “what the Prime Minister said, that the ordinance is not in force, that it is gridlocked, is either a lie or the evidence of incompetence, or both,” and explained that the emergency ordinance has produced effects even though Parliament introduced some changes that are yet to come into force, changes that nevertheless do not affect the ordinance’s relevant article.
“The lowering of the certificates is exactly the one included in the emergency ordinance,” Basescu said, adding that he sent to the Constitutional Court (CC) the law that approves the emergency ordinance because the article of the Constitution that stipulates that Parliament, the President, the Government and the Judiciary are forced to respect the European Union treaties was disregarded. “Based on Romania’s accession treaty, the European Commission (EC) had to be notified before the emergency government ordinance was issued, something that did not happen. After I sent the ordinance, the law that approves the ordinance, back to Parliament, the government started the process of contacting the Commission and of transmitting the changes brought to the system of offering green certificates. The process was finalized on February 24. So nobody touched the emergency ordinance,” the Head of State explained.
The Head of State also accused the Premier of being guilty for the energy price hike because of the extra fuel tax he introduced: “The price of energy is rising because Mr. Ponta will once again shove his hands in the Romanians’ pockets, on April 1, when he will add another RON 0.42 to the price of every liter of gasoline and diesel oil, against the backdrop in which the budget does not call for such an operation. But he needs the money in order to satisfy his political clientele in view of the elections.”
Moreover, Basescu claims that “the poor union members from ALRO who protested on Wednesday outside the CC were tricked. I want to tell them – “folks, Ponta lied to you.”