The issues between PM Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu are far from being sorted out. In an interview with Romania TV last week, the head of the Executive said that the president recently opposed the initiative of repaying to pensioners part of the health fund contribution (CASS) illegally withheld from pensions starting 2011, on grounds that such a move would widen the deficit of the Health Fund. “The president (…) said that the magistrates of the Constitutional Court issued several verdicts on this subject, and the latest one did not impose the refund. We pledged to do it and even toppled the Ungureanu Cabinet over this issue, so we will not give up,” Ponta said on RTV, quoted by Mediafax.The PM said that the Executive considers enacting – as of next year – a solidarity tax in the case of civil servants that earn excessive incomes. “If there are incomes – salaries or pensions – that unashamedly exceed the ROL 100 M (RON 10,000) salaries and pensions still existing in this sector, we must find a solutions for 2013, a form of solidarity tax,” Ponta explained.On the other hand, the prime minister accused the former Ungureanu government of having taken out RON 30 M from the budget of Education, in April , and then transferred it to the reserve fund, and later to the local administrations controlled by then ruling party PDL. According to the premier, part of the sums that will be recovered from these local administrations will be used to install video monitoring equipment in the 6,400 classrooms used for exams, as the government will operate no other cut from the Education budget this year.
Participation in the European Council, “a matter of self-pride” for BasescuReferring to Romania’s participation at the European Council, Ponta said that Traian Basescu sees this as a matter of self-pride and, if he does not give up this attitude, a constitutional solution must be found until the summer meeting of the Council. Ponta explained that the Constitution provides nothing about Romania being represented by its president in European summits, and the EU norms rule that either the president or the prime minister may attend the meetings of the Council. Except France, all other member states are represented by their prime ministers, Ponta added.According to the PM, the president of the Constitutional Court, Augustin Zegrean already pronounced himself over the issue before it was sent to the CC, so he will have to abstain from voting if the matter reaches the Court: “Zegrean lost a wonderful opportunity to keep silent, as the judges of the Court are neither political analysts, nor journalists.” At the end of last week, Augustin Zegrean said that the president is the one who should attend the EC meetings, as it happened until now. On the other hand, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Marga considers that, under both the Romanian Constitution and the EC Agenda, “the premier cannot miss from the Council.”
“Boc – first place in a top of Romania’s most ridiculous prime ministers”
Ponta voiced even more criticism against the members of the former government, during the launching event of USL local elections candidates in Cluj-Napoca, describing former PM Emil Boc (PDL) as “first in a top of Romania’s most ridiculous prime ministers.” Moreover, Ponta said that “Boc was the humblest executant of the orders” issued by President Basescu, and his wish to once again become mayor of Cluj-Napoca is an impossible project.