In a statement at the Cotroceni Palace on Monday evening Traian Basescu attacked the USL
government again, especially on the issue of unemployment and investments. USL leaders Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu downplayed the importance of the President’s statements.
Traian Basescu started his press statement on a sarcastic note, stating that the USL leaders seem to have returned from their vacation nervous and that he hopes they will calm down when he will offer them “serious” information about the country, such as the rise in unemployment and the drop in investments.
The President stated that he is issuing a warning signal for the government, concerning the fact that unemployment rate grew to 7.6 per cent in June, and by 29,000 persons in July, and foreign direct investments dropped by 19.4 per cent in the first half of the year. “Unemployment is on the rise, Romanians are increasingly preoccupied with their jobs and an ever-increasing number of them are wondering whether they will lose their jobs. When this government came to power the unemployment rate stood at 6.7 per cent according to ESA. In June, also according to ESA measurements, the unemployment rate had reached 7.6 per cent. Hence economic growth generated by the exports made by Dacia, Lufkin or other companies does not mean a rise in jobs too, and this is one effect of cutting state investments,” the President said. He added that the unemployment rate could reach 8 per cent, a threshold reached not even when the economic crisis was at its peak. “It’s a highly risky threshold and the creation of jobs is essential, the re-launching of investments from European funds and from the state budget has to be the government’s major priority. It’s not possible to look at a rise in unemployment by 29,000 persons during the summer, when there are a lot of jobs in the area of seasonal services, a drop in unemployment should have been expected at least during the summer,” the President said.
Another reproach concerned the 19.4 per cent drop in foreign direct investments in the first half of the year. He referred to the fact that “we risk slipping once again in an economically difficult situation,” considering that this year Romania registers an economic growth generated by a very good agricultural production, not by the growth in jobs, a fact that reveals “problems in the macroeconomic management of the country.”
The Head of State also reiterated his warnings concerning the fact that the government did not finalize “an acceptable form” of the partnership agreement with the European Union concerning the use of European funds earmarked for Romania in the 2014-2020 multiannual framework. He also stated that the projects on accessing the funds earmarked for Romania for the lowering of unemployment among youths were not prepared, the money coming from the EUR 8 bln sum established at EU level for this purpose being usable solely in 2014-2015. He also pointed out that the loans offered by the EIB for the co-financing of projects funded from cohesion funds and meant to lower unemployment among youths were not accessed either.
“Ponta should govern, not appear on TV”
Basescu also launched a direct attack against the Head of Government, stating that “it’s time for Premier Victor Viorel Ponta to govern, not to appear on TV.” Another accusation concerned Ponta’s friendship with Romania TV owner Sebastian Ghita (PSD MP). When asked by a Romania TV journalist what the point of the co-habitation between the President and the Premier is, Traian Basescu replied that the answer to that question should be given by Sebastian Ghita. “Wouldn’t you like to ask your boss, who pays for Ponta’s holidays and flights from time to time, to tell you how he sees this issue, the fact that RTV is a television channel at his disposal,” Basescu said.
The President said that “the road the country is on is a dangerous one” and that he no longer trusts the government because its members turn out to be incompetent. “He is USL’s co-president, but before anything he is the Prime Minister of Romania’s government and I believe Romanians are less interested in what Victor Viorel Ponta thinks about the President and instead want to hear how he lowers unemployment, how he creates jobs, how he relaxes investments, how the European funds are used in the current fiscal year and in the future fiscal year,” Basescu said. The President pointed out that he is no longer on campaign and the percentages he has, although “on the rise,” do not help him at all from an electoral point of view.
One of the attacks targeted PNL President Crin Antonescu. Asked for his opinion on the fact that Crin Antonescu left the Cotroceni Palace before the end of the investiture ceremony in which Ramona Manescu took the oath of office, Traian Basescu said: “He will never be President, he doesn’t know what being a President means.”
Basescu also stated that Victor Ponta, Crin Antonescu and Vasile Blaga “should take care of the criminals they have in their parties, not to pick at state institutions that are trying to protect the citizens from criminals.” He also stated that he does not accept the lies of USL leaders Crin Antonescu and Victor Ponta in what concerns his control of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), adding that they should understand that the DNA fights against criminals, not against them. He added that this is one of the reasons why his confidence in the USL government is diminishing. The Head of State said that Victor Ponta’s statement according to which the President concocted a dossier for Dr. Bradisteanu proves that the Prime Minister is “a person with an extremely limited capacity to understand how the state functions.” On the other hand, Basescu stated that the co-habitation pact signed with Premier Victor Ponta “stands” because it relies on Constitutional provisions, pointing out however that he lost his confidence in the government’s capacity to create jobs.
Antonescu: Basescu’s speech lacked legitimacy
In reply to the President’s accusations, PNL President Crin Antonescu admitted that his gesture of leaving the ceremony in which Ramona Manescu was invested at the helm of the Transportation Ministry was rude, but its purpose was to show that Traian Basescu’s speech lacked legitimacy.
Antonescu also stated on Monday evening on Antena 3 that the economic issues invoked by President Traian Basescu are “real,” however he does not agree with his evaluation of the Ponta Government’s activity, although “that’s far from saying the government did everything that had to be done.” The PNL President also stated that there are no “criminals” in the party he leads, however at the start of the Parliamentary sitting he will call on the Justice Ministry in order for the DNA to present a status report on the investigations concerning the “previous government.”
While on a visit to Chisinau, Premier Victor Ponta stated that Romania’s image, an image he is trying to present abroad, is that of a civilized country, not the one that is created by President Basescu’s latest criticism.
In a statement yesterday at the annual reunion of Romanian diplomats, the PNL leader openly accused the DNA of “protecting” the people close to President Traian Basescu: “DNA is protecting the people that are close to Traian Basescu. I did not ask the DNA to stop investigating Liberals, I asked it to investigate all those liable to be investigated,” Antonescu stated.