President Traian Basescu has resumed his attacks on the governing coalition, this time by accusing the National Bank of supporting the policies of a government he characterized as “corrupt,” while warning that if the Government goes through with increasing the fuel excise tax, he will personally urge citizens “to defend themselves in the streets” against this unjustified measure.
Invited to speak at a talk show on B1TV, the head of state stressed the National Bank of Romania should “immediately take a step back before it is under the control of a corrupt government.” He accused BNR of taking part in devising two of the measures proposed by Victor Ponta in the negotiations with the IMF: increasing the fuel excise tax, and the so called ‘ElectoRate’ (editor’s note – measure aimed at introducing phased bank installments for people whose monthly incomes do not exceed RON 1,610). “I have learned about Victor Ponta’s statement, by which he thanked the governor of BNR for this team effort to devise ElectoRate. I was amazed that BNR would take part in this fake electoral project, which will make fools out of its beneficiaries,” Basescu stated, as cited by Mediafax.
According to the President, this idea was brought up after his meeting with the IMF, at a meeting between IMF representatives and the National Bank, which was also attended by Liviu Voinea, Minister of Budget. Basescu reiterated that the sole reason for his refusal to sign the new IMF agreement will be this ‘ElectoRate,’ which he described as “so immoral it will be unmanageable.” Commenting on the IMF’s decision to accept “this solution,” the head of state said “the Fund team made a mistake as well.”
“I saw the leader of the delegation, and perhaps due to her fewer years of experience, she seemed pleased she had found an innovative solution. No, Mrs. Fund Representative, as President of the country your mission is visiting, I can tell you from personal experience that it is wrong.”
Regarding the Government’s intention to raise the gasoline and Diesel fuel excise tax, Basescu underlined “he will do something he has not done before – call Romanians to defend themselves in the streets” if necessary. The President stated the measure was unjustified and he would prove it.
Another slam against USL
In response to the Prime Minister’s statement that Gigi Becali, owner of football club Steaua and currently in prison, should be released, Basescu said the Government has behaved incoherently. Live on television, he presented a document signed by the Ministry of Justice, which proves the ministry denied the request to pardon George Becali. “Here is the request denial issued by the Ministry of Justice (Robert Cazanciuc) and signed by the PM’s cousin-in-law. But he (Ponta) says he should be released. What can you think of such a person?” Basescu asked rhetorically.
According to the head of state, the Prime Minister “wanted to put a lid” on the situation in Prahova (editor’s note – where County Council chairman Mircea Cosma was detained by DNA prosecutors for corruption) by deploying Minister Robert Cazanciuc himself to the local PSD headquarters, “in the hope prosecutors will be intimidated by the Minister of Justice.” “Investigations into this matter were initiated some time ago, not just the other day. (…) I have had information that something was going on there for about two years.”
Eugen Nicolaescu, Minister of Health, did not escape Basescu’s critique. The President stated the Liberal should address the Prosecutor’s Office in the matter involving the flu vaccines produced by the Cantacuzino Institute, which were withdrawn from the market by the National Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices (ANM), after test results showed high concentrations of endotoxins that can cause adverse side-effects like fever, rigors, and very rarely anaphylactic shock. “Suddenly, they realized the vaccines were not compliant. If you leaned on them, in your capacity as minister you should not consider yourself blameless and not responsible, since you had political power,” Basescu noted. He also criticized Nicolaescu’s notification submitted to the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in this respect. “No, Mr. Nicolaescu. Shouldn’t you call the Prosecutor’s Office instead? Why does this concern SRI? It was not a subversive issue – you giving the order and the Cantacuzino Institute acting to the best of its abilities.” In the President’s opinion, “before taking charge of another ministry (editor’s note – the Finance Ministry), he (Nicolaescu) should recall his accomplishments at the helm of the Health Ministry. Let us remember the feasibility studies for emergency hospitals, which cost millions of euros. The studies were conducted, the companies got paid, Mr. Nicoleascu is alive and well, but no hospital was built.” Referring to the anti-cancer vaccine program for young girls, he remarked “Nicolaescu bought the vaccines,” several vaccines were administered, and then the program was shut down. “Many of those vaccines, worth millions of dollars, must have expired by now,” the head of state explained.
Transfer of STS from CSAT – suspicious
Basescu also commented on USL’s initiative to transfer the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) from CSAT to the Internal Affairs Ministry by saying the true objective of this decision was to fix the election race. He explained the Service owns both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor’s databases. “Just imagine how many personal identification numbers you would have access to… It would be heaven on earth for Dragnea (editor’s note – Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea).”
With regard to Sorin Oprescu potentially running for president, the head of state ironically remarked the latter had won 2 per cent before, “when people were not sure what to make of him,” adding that the capital city mayor is best known by stray dogs.
On the other hand, referring to the fines issued recently by the National Audiovisual Council of Romania (CNA) to certain television stations, including B1 TV, Basescu pointed out it was very difficult to explain “why the despicable actions of informant Voiculescu’s trust” are supported by people who had worked for the BBC or for Radio Free Europe. “I’ll tell you why – because of the coup d’état from the summer of 2012, and the attempts to weaken the state’s ability to fight against corruption from Black Tuesday.”