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June 21, 2021

Cabinet passes retrocession law

The government will ask Parliament for a vote of confidence.

Government adoptedthe draft law for the retrocession of properties seised by the Communists. The cabibet debated the text for several hours before reaching a consensus.

Ahead of the cabinet sitting, Premier Victor Ponta stated at the start of the government meeting on Wednesday that a new government meeting could take place next week when amendments to the draft law on the retrocession of buildings that were nationalized during the communist era could be included. “At any rate we will have a new meeting probably next Tuesday in order to see what amendments there are and basically whether we missed something, whether we are talking about the rights of religious denominations or about other special situations, in order to be able to include them. The moment we have ECHR’s agreement, the moment we have respected all procedures, there will still be a few populists and speculators’ friends in Parliament who will scream that they disagree, however I believe that we paid for what happened seventy years ago and we are paying enough, however we have to put a stop to it at some point,” the Premier stated.

In this context it has to be pointed out that on Tuesday cardinal Lucian Muresan sent to Premier Victor Ponta a letter in which he asks, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Catholic Church in Romania, for the postponement of assuming responsibility until the end of April, in order to have the necessary time to file amendments to the articles that concern the two Churches. The Premier also pointed out that although “everyone wants a public debate” when drafts are subjected to this procedure “nobody debates them anymore.” “I will ask you, if we adopt the draft law today and send it to Parliament for the assumption of responsibility procedure, to continue the dialogue, even the dialogue that appeared later. I have a lot of respect (…) for all religious denominations in Romania, I believe that through this law we have to give back everything that can be given back, I saw that last evening they found out we are adopting a law. The law is on the website for over a month. (…) For the past two months we have been talking and contradicting each other and repairing and adding,” Ponta stated.

At the start of the government meeting Ponta presented the conclusions of the talks that the government had with ECHR specialists in what concerns the new law on the payment of damages for nationalized properties. Thus, the European Court of Human Rights accepted the 85 per cent tax on litigation rights bought from the former owners of nationalized properties, but recommended the lowering of the period in which buildings have to maintain their current use (such as buildings that are currently schools and hospitals) from 20 to 7-10 years. As a consequence, he pointed out that a programme according to which the schools and hospitals whose buildings should be returned will benefit from new headquarters is needed. “This is not easy. It seems easy now… ten years from now, but that period will pass quickly,” the Premier pointed out.

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