POLITICS

President, Premier meet on IMF, CVM, 2013 budget and European funds

PM Victor Ponta described the talks as “thorough, technical and institutional.”  The two agreed to postpone the privatisation of CFR Marfa and the listing of Transgaz shares.

President Traian Basescu and Premier Victor Ponta had a meeting dedicated to the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “general topics” related to the budget for next year, the absorption rate of European funds and the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification in justice (CVM), but without approaching the issue of who will represent Romania in the next European Council. The two officials will have a new discussion after Ponta goes to Brussels (November 13), for a meeting with the prime ministers of the EU states that belong to the group ‘Friends of cohesion.’ On the same occasion, after Ponta’s trip to Brussels, the two dignitaries will also talk about the 2014-2020 budgetary exercise of the EU.Also yesterday, the president and the premier agreed to postpone the privatisation of CFR Marfa and the listing of Transgaz (TGN) shares, because this is not a moment favourable for such operations, and to wait for the nomination of private managers that will increase the value of the two companies. In a press statement delivered after the meeting with the president, Ponta said that the talks were “thorough, technical and institutional.”  “I wish that – before and after these elections – these talks follow the same institutional line. Romania succeeded a good economic and budgetary macrostabilisation during these 6 months, leaving the dangerous zone and moving away from recession, from a technical point of view. Above all, this is the merit of the minister of Finance, Florin Georgescu,” Ponta said. The premier explained that the budget deficit will range “within 2.2 pc on cash and under 3 pc according to the European system,” which actually represents a drop to half the deficit registered by Romania in 2011.

“This is not just a figure; it means a decrease of budget expenses by RON 10 bln,” the PM mentioned, adding that a new visit of the IMF will likely occur in December or January, in view of signing the letter of intent.During the meeting at the Cotroceni Palace, Victor Ponta was accompanied only by Eugen Teodorovici, state counsellor with the prime minister’s own working apparatus, while Traian Basescu came with part of his presidential advisors and the spokesman of the Presidency, Bogdan Oprea. The previous day, Ponta had announced that he would go to Cotroceni alone, without the ministers of his cabinet, as announced by the Presidency earlier, in a press release. “Cabinet meetings are not held at Cotroceni, as it happened during the mandate of Boc; they are held at the Victoria Palace,” the premier stated. During his press conference after the meeting, PM Victor Ponta mentioned that he has agreed with the EC President Jose Manuel Barroso to the idea that the CVM report should not be made public during the electoral campaign for general elections in Romania.

Lazaroiu: The invitation to Gov’t was sent for Monday, Ponta asked for a delay

Presidential adviser Sebastian Lazaroiu wrote on Facebook that the invitation for consultations with government was sent on November 1 for this past Monday, yet the PM asked for a delay, as some of the topics concerned were to be discussed at the government session November 6, delayed granted.  Lazaroiu, speaking on gandul.live Tuesday evening, said he didn’t believe Victor Ponta would stay on as premier after the December 6 election, explaining that, under Romania’s Constitution, the head of state can appoint a different person from the USL. “Granted I also know what the mood is in the PSD, I give it as 100 pc sure. You may make him a premier, yet, he wouldn’t find an open hand in Brussels for four years. Socialists either aren’t happy about his plagiarism. They, too, realize he is a burden image wise,” Lazaroiu said, who considers that the head of state “has very many reasons” not to appoint as premier the person delivered by the USL on December 10. Asked whether he identified in the PSD camp another potential premier to be forwarded to Cotroceni, Lazaroiu said that Mircea Geoana could be a better alternative than Ponta, since, even though “he made mistakes”, he does not have the credibility problems Victor Ponta has.Other voices, too, have been heard commenting on the prime minister after the legislative election December 9.  Elena Udrea wrote on her personal blog that the Right Romania Alliance (ARD) is ready to join the government after December 9 election, even if it would not play the first fiddle in a coalition government. Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) President Vasile Blaga on Tuesday spoke of a potential ARD premier, saying that Adriean Videanu could be one of the Alliance’s nominees for this post, adding that, however, the ARD was yet to reach a decision on the issue, as it “wouldn’t sell the bear’s skin before it has caught the bear”.  In his turn, Ponta considered that ARD leader Vasile Blaga made a joke when he said Videanu were a potential prime minister, saying Videanu could only be proposed as premier “in the thieves’ country”. Upon hearing Ponta’s words, Videanu challenged the premier to prove he is “a political” man and accept a “one-on-one” debate over the electoral offer of ARD and USL respectively. “For more than six months, personal attacks are Mr. Victor Ponta’s only solution. (…) Let’s have people exactly understand what our solutions are, let’s have a direct meeting Mr. Ponta, you, with the solutions you put forth, you, with the solutions proposed by the Right Romania Alliance, so that people could pinpoint and understand which are the right solutions for them, so they could give their vote aware knowing why they do it,” Videanu wrote on Facebook.


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