By Daniela Baragan
After the senior Democrat-Liberal leaders’ striking silence this past weekend, while street protests were heating up, Premier Boc showed up at a press conference yesterday to deliver a before hand speech, saying the health minister has been empowered by the coalition to make up a team to draft a new health draft bill including patient association delegates, civil society, trade and employers’ unions, and the Doctors’ College. The PM reiterated that neither the former draft bill, nor the new normative document stipulates the privatization of the emergency system, the disbandment of the Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD), or additional costs to citizens. According to the head of the Executive, former health under secretary Raed Arafat is welcomed to return to the ministry or to take part in the drafting of the new health draft bill as a member of a relevant commission to be set up, if he so wishes. “The health minister will provide all the relevant details, and I personally have anything against him <Arafat>being part of any team,” Mediafax quoted Boc as saying. The PM however would not say what is the deadline by which the health minister must draw up the new document.
A few hours after the PM’s speech, Health Minister Ladislau Ritli (photo) announced he was awaiting Raed Araft to cooperate with the Health Ministry, given he is chairman of the ministerial emergency commission. “I talked to him before he left and asked him to stay because we need to cooperate over the new draft bill,” Ritli, a member of the government’s junior partner Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), added that he is keen to use Arafat’s experience in that respect. Asked whether Arafat could take back the sub-secretary position now occupied by Dr. Andrei Georgescu, Ritli said he didn’t know, as such decision is up to the prime minister. Ritli made the point that State Secretary Vasile Cepoi, also appointed last week, while the scandal surrounding the former health bill was in full swing, being replaced is out of question. “He is a professional, he’s held decision making positions before. We will cooperate on the new health draft bill, with him going to draw up the plan for launching consultations on the new health draft bill,” Ritli said.
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor yesterday said that passing a new heath bill “is not Romania’s priority No 1” this year and the system reform should not be made with the “chainsaw”. “We don’t believe this is Romania’s priority No 1 this year. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to find solutions to certain issues,” Kelemen said, who added that that the ruling coalition is yet to set a date by which the new health bill needs to pass, and the current law will only be adopted or be drafted as a new normative document altogether.
CNCD took note of Becali’s statements on Arafat
MEP and Steaua FC owner George Becali is again getting the attention of the National Council for Combating Discriminations (CNCD), following his statements aimed at Raed Arafat, after the University Square protests attended by Steaua fans too. “Even if Basescu was wrong, you can’t stand up for an Arab,” Mediafax quoted Becali as saying. CNCD President Csaba Ferenc Asztalos described Becali’s statement as “inappropriate” and said that he sanctions it publicly. “Becali’s approach is simplistic and unfortunate. This is serious, given it comes from somebody who is also an MEP,” the CNCD head said.