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August 10, 2022

Liberals, caught in the middle: Between the Fiscal Code they voted for, and the President

The Fiscal Code has left the Liberals in an offside position. After initially praising the project, considering it a PNL’s success, the Liberals changed their tack after the President criticized the law. The leaders of the opposition party criticized Premier Victor Ponta for not explaining how the tax cuts included in the new Fiscal Code will be compensated. And now, after the Head of State sent the law back for re-examination, the Liberals who voted for the project claim that the President’s dissatisfaction is legitimate.

Ever since the Fiscal Code entered Parliament, the Liberals claimed that the Government had copied most of the economic proposals included in PNL’s platform. This was in fact the reason they supported the law.

“Draft Fiscal Code law: 306 votes in favour, one abstention, 2 votes against. Adopted,” Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea announced on June 24.

“The most important amendment included in this ample fiscal reform belongs to the National Liberal Party: lowering the VAT to 19 per cent. 140 years since the establishment of the National Liberal Party, since the education system reform, today we leave our final mark on fiscal reform,” PNL MP Andreea Paul Vass stated after the adoption of the Fiscal Code.

Almost a month has passed since the vote in Parliament, a period in which politicians did not attack the new Fiscal Code. That is precisely why the President’s criticism was a surprise.

“I don’t know how the opinion that this Fiscal Code allegedly revolutionizes Romania’s finances through the simple cutting of some taxes slipped in. We cannot afford economic experiments. Being on the brink of an elections year, we have to understand the distance between political temptation and economic reality,” Klaus Iohannis stated three days ago.

The Premier asked the President to promulgate the law.

“I didn’t write the Fiscal Code. It was written by the Finance Ministry along with the consultants and was voted unanimously, by PNL too,” Victor Ponta reacted.

After the President’s objections, the Liberals repositioned themselves rapidly. PNL now says that the Government should have prepared the implementation of the law.

“We, PNL, were happy and we said that Ponta had read our governing programme. We warned that its implementation entails the adoption of serious preparatory measures… Have you seen any measure to restructure state-owned companies? Have you seen any measure to resume public investment first of all?” PNL co-president Vasile Blaga stated.

After the Head of State announced that he is sending the Code back for re-examination, PNL seems to have forgotten that the law went through Parliament including with the help of the Liberals’ votes.

“If there will be problems with the implementation of the Fiscal Code, the whole responsibility belongs exclusively to the Government led by Victor Ponta,” PNL MP Eugen Nicolaescu stated.

“You cannot launch a boat if there is no water underneath. It won’t float, it doesn’t work. The Ponta Government hasn’t irrigated the economy with investments. The Fiscal Code boat cannot float on this economy because the economy is stalled at this moment,” PNL First Vice President Catalin Predoiu stated, according to Digi24.


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