The head of Senate’s defence committee, Teodor Melescanu, and the vice president of the counterpart panel in the Chamber of Deputies, Marian Saniuta, said that about 18,000 people will be sacked from the Interior Ministry next year, Realitatea TV reports. Interior Minister however refused to confirm the information, saying that the figure was ‘too big.’ Both Melescanu and Saniuta said during debates on the Interior Ministry’s next year budget that information included in the draft indicates that 7,960 positions will be vacated in the first quarter and 10,000 more in the second quarter. The two said that the layoffs provided in the draft “makes it impossible for us to support the budget.” During debates Minister Igas acknowledged that more policemen and gendarmes could be sacked, but didn’t put forth any figures. Talking about the number mentioned by Melescanu and Saniuta, the minister said, “This figure was misinterpreted, there is no way it could be right.” The minister added that one of the ministry’s objectives in the new year will be to “send more policemen on the street, have them serve the citizens’ interest.” “People need to know they have protection from law enforcement employees. Policemen mustn’t hide inside their offices all day long, they should go out in the street,” he told Agerpres.