PM Emil Boc accused the opposition of filing amendments which were nothing else but “electoral alms”. “By our amendments we proposed the cutting of funds allotted to the Democratic-Liberal Party (PDL)’s criminal mayor’s offices,” opposition representatives replied.
By Daniela Baragan
After prolonged arguments and thousands of amendments filed by the opposition, the Parliament adopted yesterday, with 239 votes “in favour” and 168 “against”, the 2012 public budget bill.
The 2012 public social security bill was also adopted yesterday, with 237 votes “in favour” and 168 “against”. The representatives of the opposition took part in the vote, although the parliamentary groups of the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Social-Democrat Party (PSD) had initially left the joint assembly meeting on the grounds that the voting of members for the Private Pensions System Supervisory Commission’s Council had not been included on the agenda.
In his speech on this occasion, Prime Minister Emil Boc told the MPs they have voted in favour of a “responsible” budget, meant “to consolidate economic growth”, while accusing that the amendments filed by the opposition were in fact “electoral alms”, which would have hiked the budget deficit by EUR 5.2 bln, funds which Romania could not cover.
According to Emil Boc, next year’s budget was the only one voted in the past 20 years which had no electoral motivations behind it. “I take it as a token of the coalition’s strength that it has managed to vote this, without giving in to populist and electoral temptations,” the head of the Cabinet stated, quoted by Mediafax. He meant this as a message for the Social-Liberal Union (USL) leaders Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu, arguing that “no one in Europe is still allotting funds to electoral alms”. Boc went even further, mocking the opposition leaders by arguing that, since they had proposed a +4 pc deficit for next year, Ponta and Antonescu must have a stash of money “in a secret closet”.
On the other hand, the premier reiterated his argument that in 2008 the Cabinet led at the time by Calin Popescu Tariceanu had allotted RON 39 bln to investments, but had spent only RON 31 bln, claiming that the remaining amount had gone to “electoral alms.” Boc added that he was basing his claim on the report drafted by the Fiscal Council.
Former PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu promptly replied to the accusations, stirring quite a commotion in the Parliament assembly. “I am ready to admit that our failing to spend all the funds allotted to investments in 2008 was a negative thing. However, foreign investments in Romania amounted to nearly EUR 10 bln in 2008, whereas this year they amount to a tenth of this sum. This makes for very poor prospects,” the ex-premier stated, quoted by realitatea.net. Booed by the ruling coalition MPs, Tariceanu appealed to senators and deputies to act “as befits a Parliament assembly, rather than a football crowd”.
PSD leader Victor Ponta was quick to reply, in turn, to Emil Boc’s ironical comments targeted at him and the other representatives of the opposition: “Comrade prime-minister Emil Bobu, I have this to ask of you, whatever debates PM Emil Bobu chooses to engage in with PNL on the topic of 2008, I ask him to address to deputy prime-minister Marko Bela and minister Laszlo Borbely, both members of the 2008 Cabinet. I think we are sick and tired of this sham. What we proposed by our amendments was the cutting of funds allotted to the Democratic-Liberal Party (PDL)’s criminal mayor’s offices,” Ponta told Boc.