President: ‘The Gov’t team was not prepared to talks on CAS’

“I had no success, due to the government incompetency to prove that the increased deficit – due to cutting the social security contributions (CAS) by 5 percent – of some RON 5.5 bn is to be covered. The government presented me only unfounded figures,” President Traian Basescu said Monday evening during a briefing at Cotroceni Palace after the meeting with PM Victor Ponta and Finance Minister Ioana Petrescu. Basescu said Ponta’s approach was only political. “Even the government analysis is pointing to the deficit – RON 6.5 bn, while expenditures cut will be RON 1.5 bn,” Basescu said.

The president concluded that the talks with the Premier and the Finance Minister were a failure. “I believe the CAS cut is a hasty electoral measure for 2015,” the president added. Most certainly the agreement with the IMF and the WB will not be prolonged unless solid figures regarding the budget are presented, the head of state underscored. President Basescu said he is going to make public the talks with PM Ponta, so that rumours about the talks are clarified.

President Traian Basescu and Premier Victor Ponta did not reach a conclusion over the CAS reduction, after talks at the Cotroceni Palace that lasted approximately 30 minutes, official sources announced, before the address of President Basescu. “The premier presented the arguments of the government for maintaining the contributions to the social insurances system at a low level in the coming years, and the president expressed his reluctance regarding the sustainability of the measure. The two have not reached a common denominator and the president’s decision is expected now,” said the sources. The information was confirmed by PM Ponta, who mentioned briefly, after the discussion with Traian Basescu: “We had an argument!” President Traian Basescu might challenge at the Constitutional Court the CAS draft, Premier Victor Ponta said, adding that the talks at Cotroceni were pointless because the head of state only wanted to use them as political propaganda and spoke to the minister of Finance in “a rude tone.” The talks at Cotroceni were also attended by the minister of Finance, Ioana Petrescu.The consultations between President Basescu and the government referred to the modification of Law 571/2003 on the Fiscal Code, a draft change that would lower the CAS paid by employers by 5 pc, starting October 1st. The draft act was approved in June by the government and later by the Parliament. Last week, Traian Basescu declared that he wants to promulgate the reduction of the CAS and he will have a consultation with the IMF over this matter, but if the government will not come with credible solutions to cover the deficit, then he will return the law in Parliament.

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