Gabriel Oprea came to the Government Tuesday morning on his first day as acting prime-Minister and had brief informal talks with the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service, Eduard Hellvig, and with Romanian Police chief Petre Toba, according to Mediafax.
Afterwards, Oprea attended the plenary debate on the National Defence Strategy and participated in the voting on the act. Actually, the interim-PM being late, the Parliament postponed the meeting one hour, according to Gandul.
President Klaus Iohannis said, on Monday, the decree appointing Gabriel Oprea as acting Prime-Minister of the Government of Romania ‘for the period Victor Ponta has incapacity for discharging his duties as Prime-Minister’.
On Sunday, PM Victor Ponta informed that the Turkish surgeons had decided he could be discharged, but advised that he should resume regular activity in up to 28 days, and that he would therefore ask President Klaus Iohannis to assign his duties as Prime-Minister to Deputy Premier Gabriel Oprea for that duration.
Oprea will also chair Cabinet meetings.
Prime-Minister Victor Ponta was admitted to the Medipol University Hospital in Istanbul on 14 June. A day later he was operated on his left knee.
On Monday evening, Ponta submitted to President Klaus Iohannis medical records attesting to him being unable to carry out his official duties as Romania’s prime minister, official sources told Agerpres.
Issues to be solved by interim Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea
After President Klaus Iohannis signed the decree by which Gabriel Oprea officially adopts the attributions of interim Prime Minister, Oprea is now in the position to seek fast solutions for all the leftover problems abandoned by Victor Ponta by leaving to Turkey, for his knee surgery. Appointing a new Minister of Transportation, the delicate position of the Justice Minister, who might move to UNPR or not, the Government meetings. Another very important problem is establishing an agenda for increasing the price of gas. The tax code and fast solutions to important draft laws, such as the 22 changes to the Criminal Code and the elections law are a few more delayed topics.
Realitatea.net made a short summary of the issues left unsolved by Victor Ponta in the country, requiring fast solutions by Gabriel Oprea during his term as interim Prime Minister.
1. Appointing a new Transports Minister
Ioan Rus’ resignation, after having offended the families of Romanians working abroad leaves a free position in the Government. The favoured successors are Mihai Fifor, President of the Transports Committee in the Senate, and Iulian Matache, state secretary in the respective ministry. Gabriel Oprea will have to select a name and afterwards, the President will establish whether he accepts the appointment.
2. Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc‘s situation. It is yet unclear whether Cazanciuc moves to UNPR
“Minister Cazanciuc’s situation is unclear”, Oprea has declared last week. We remind our readers that rumours have appeared, claiming that Robert Cazanciuc intended to join UNPR thus moving Justice in the yard of the respective union.
Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc declared that he did not have any official discussion with Prime Minister Victor Ponta regarding his resignation from the leadership od the Ministry of Justice, mentioning that an evaluation of his activity may be completed on Wednesday or Thursday.
“Officially, I was not demanded to resign by the Prime Minister. If my term as a Justice Minister went accordingly to the initial agenda established two years ago – to have an improved state report compared to previous ones, to contribute to the increase of trust in the act of justice, if Minister Cazaniuc has done all the law allowed him to do (…), this evaluation may be made by the Prime Minister or by the Government and if my achievements fail to complete initial plans, I am obviously ready to leave, nobody is irreplaceable. I did not have a discussion with the Prime Minister on this topic, at least for the time being. (…) I will probably have this discussion today or tomorrow. I had no concrete discussions with the Prime Minister, I only had principial discussions and they will obviously remain between the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister”, Cazanciuc declared at CSM.
3. Government meetings
4.Establishing an agenda for price rises in gas
The Government approved on June 3 a memorandum regarding the application of a new agenda for the liberalization of prices in internally produced natural gas for domestic consumption, sources within the Government declared for Hotnews.ro. According to them, the agenda was agreed with the representatives of the European Committee and stipulates a gradual increase in the prices of natural gas, from July 2015 to 2018. The price increases were to be made annually, not quarterly, as they were before.
5. The Tax Code
Public Finances Minister Eugen Teodorovici announced that the IMF delegation will come to Bucharest on July 15, after the visit has been initially announced for June 19 – 30. What is the reason of this change in the agenda?
The most delicate discussion topic of international experts and the Ponta Government, the new Tax Code, remained unsolved after the latest direct negotiations; nonetheless, the Parliament controlled by PSD has already started to cut the measures disapproved by IMF.
Now, Finances Minister Teodorovici says that discussions on the new Tax Code may be completed in the Parliament by the end of this month, yet the new law must receive the approval of IMF and the other international creditors.
After the latest evolutions in the Parliament, IMF experts seem to expect new adjustments to the Tax Code in the direction demanded by them.
Some of the facilities included by the Government in the Tax Code have been already “furtively” deleted in the Senate, such as, by example, the decrease of fuel taxes or zero taxes on dividends.
6. The delay of changes to the Criminal Code
The legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies postponed on Monday the discussions referring to the 22 draft laws changing the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, suggested by PSD members of the Parliament, without forwarding any deadline for discussing them. The announcement was made by committee Vice-President Ciprian Nica, PSD Deputy, in the meeting of the committee.
“We will not discuss tomorrow (on Tuesday, editor’s note) the package referring to the changes suggested by the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, due to the fact that the program was changed, at 12 pm we have a reunited plenum and we will announce a later date when they will be approached in the discussions of the Legal Committee”, Ciprian Nica declared, according to Mediafax.
The Committee did not establish a deadline for discussing these projects and, considering that there is one more week left until the end of the Parliament session, discussions concerning changes in the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code cannot be restarted earlier than the autumn session.
Under these circumstances, UNPR leader Gabriel Oprea threatened on Sunday to withdraw from the Government if PSD “furtively changed” the Criminal Code in the Parliament. He mentioned that he had announced PM Victor Ponta and PSD on this decision.
7.Dropping the electoral law for Parliament elections stipulating the decrease in the number of Parliament members and returning on list-based ballots
On Thursday, the electoral draft law was dropped from the agenda.
The Committee for elaborating the changes in electoral law issued a positive report with technical amendments to the draft law on elections. The report was adopted with an unanimity of votes (15) and will be forwarded to discussion and approval in the Wednesday meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, decision makers of this draft law.
8. The Romanian kidnapped in Burkina Faso.
For about two months, there is no new information about the Romanian citizen kidnapped in Burkina Faso by Jihadists. As Gabriel Oprea was the Vice-Prime-Minister on national security, he may now grant additional attention to the issue of the kidnapped Romanian.