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Bucharest
June 13, 2021
POLITICS

Premier avoids giving timetable for lowering CAS and hiking salaries

Taking part in an Antena 3 talk show on Tuesday evening, PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu stated that the health law is one of his main goals.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the health law can be reconstructed and adapted to a formula that would be publicly accepted, being capable of preventing situations such as a shortage of pharmaceutical drugs on the market. In his opinion, today’s public health system is profoundly corrupt and a huge consumer of resources and these problems can be solved only through a profound reform. Ungureanu added that he brought up the issue of lowering the health insurance contributions (CAS) as a signal of encouragement for the private sector, but that a change “cannot be done overnight.” “I felt the need of issuing a message of encouragement for the private sector, without saying that it will happen overnight. I said I’m interested in doing that, but I didn’t give a timetable,” the Premier said, pointing out that lowering the CAS would have a severe impact on the pension budget’s “serious” structural deficit. “However we are interested in the opportunity, the capacity of applying it depending on the fiscal room and the economy’s recovery through consumption,” he argued. Nothing is certain about public sector salaries returning to their pre-2012 level either, Ungureanu pointing out that at this moment the government has only working hypotheses on hiking salaries because such a measure cannot be applied in the absence of funds. “The cautious hiking of salaries in the public sector is the first item in the government’s economic programme. In a month’s time we will have all economic data and we will give a clear date,” the Premier stated. Ungureanu also stated that Romania urgently needs to tap EUR 6 bln from European funds and were he to have that money he could set the country rolling in 8 months’ time. “We need EUR 6 bln from European funds: EUR 2.5 bln for agriculture and EUR 3.5 bln from cohesion and structural funds… The economy is not moving just by hiking salaries. We have to give an impulse now to the stagnating economy and I believe an 8-month term is enough to do that,” the Premier stated.

Central administration corrupt, but its heads far from being sacked

 

Ungureanu criticized the fact that the central administration has a lot of vices and diseases, having both competent employees and employees that cannot do the job they are expected to do and are over-politicized, however when it comes to the heads of some institutions whose activities were brought under the media’s intense scrutiny the Premier did not rush in holding them responsible. Thus, he pointed out that the heads of various state institutions such as the National Health Insurance House (CNAS) and the National Fiscal Administration Agency (ANAF) will not be sacked as a response to media pressure, they will be sacked only if they fail to meet the deadlines. “There is a difference between passing judgment and pointing fingers from the sidelines and reforming the administration from within,” Ungureanu said.

 

Presidential race taken into account

Ungureanu reiterated the idea of running for President, but conditioned his Presidential race on having results as Head of Government. “I can think further if I have results. (…) First I have to show results in what I’m doing now. It would be lack of common sense and realism to say I see myself there,” he stated. In what concerns his status as former head of an intelligence service (Foreign Intelligence Service – SIE), Ungureanu pointed out that former heads of intelligence services can get involved in politics because the law does not allow them to use the information obtained while in office, the problems being generated by a still mythical view on SRI and SIE. At the same time he also addressed the conflict of interests accusation generated by the fact that his wife is a board member of one company that has ties with OMV-Petrom. Ungureanu reiterated that there is no conflict of interests. “It seems to me that the judgment has already become tendentious. From my point of view the problem is solved,” Ungureanu concluded.

EC: Romanian government need to consult us on salary hikes

The announcement concerning the possibility of hiking public sector salaries on June 1 has stirred a wave of criticism from European officials who claim that Romanian authorities have not consulted them.“Romanian authorities have taken the commitment (in the memorandum of understanding that forms the basis of the assistance programme – editor’s note) to consult the Commission in due time before the adoption of any new measure that can have implications in what concerns the programme’s goals. Moreover, through the agreement reached they are forced to give us all needed information on any kind of measures or reforms that have a fiscal impact. Until now we have received no official information on hiking public sector salaries by 16 per cent, nor were we consulted on this extremely important aspect,” the representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs stated, being quoted by HotNews.  They claim they will conduct the necessary evaluation and will carefully estimate this measure’s impact on the budget as soon as they receive relevant information from the Romanian authorities.

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