The Deputy Prime-Minister and National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) leader Gabriel Oprea (photo) proposes consultations among political parties on the theme of the controversial Fiscal Code, ahead of the extraordinary parliamentary session at the end of August when the law is set to undergo an extensive debate.
Gabriel Oprea said during a press conference on Thursday that ‘Romanian parties have started a polemic’ on the Fiscal Code, therefore UNPR decided ‘to launch an invitation to dialogue to all political parties to try obtain a shared position’.
Oprea is therefore proposing a meeting of parties in Parliament before the extraordinary parliamentary session, seeking the best result for the welfare of Romanians.
‘UNPR launches an invitation to dialogue for shaping a common vision of the new Fiscal Code. UNPR can act as a bridge between the Presidency, the Government, and now Parliament too. We will do our best to come out of the logic of political conflict, we will bring all opinions to the same table to get the best result for Romania and the Romanians. This decision is an attempt to achieve the best possible result. (…) We will send a letter to all the political parties (…) to harmonize views, to achieve what is best for our country. Opinions on the subject vary, it is important that we meet and, before casting our vote, comprehensively consider the experts’ opinions. We seek dialogue on the Tax Code,” said the progressive party’s leader.
‘Romanian economy, hundreds of entrepreneurs are waiting for a wise decision. We will so all that we can to leave behind this logic of political conflict and enter one of welfare for all Romanians. The UNPR decision to propose a dialogue before the re-discussion of the Fiscal Code is an attempt to obtain the best result for the interest of Romanians not to be hurt’, the head of UNPR further said.
Oprea noted that he had had informal talks with the leaders of parties, including the Liberals, but he could not disclose what they had talked about. He nonetheless assured that, during all discussions, the idea had been to find the best option for Romania regarding the Fiscal Code.
Ludovic Orban: ‘Oprea plagiarises!’
The First Vice-President of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Ludovic Orban, has had an extremely decisive reaction to Gabriel Oprea’s announcement, on Thursday, that UNPR was making an invitation for negotiation to all parliamentary parties in order to achieve consensus on the new Fiscal Code.
Orban denounced general Oprea’s move, saying that it was ‘plagiarism’ as ‘those who initiated the important debate for Romania are the PNL MPs’.
‘Mr. Oprea forgets that the first political party to announce serious talks with the parliamentary parties is PNL. He plagiarises, counting on the fact that Romanians are not alert to the public agenda. Those who have initiated important debates for Romania are the PNL MPs. But I believe that everybody knows that those who have shown the maximum openness for debates in Romania are from PNL. The opposition has the initiative to bring to negotiations all political parties, we want to find the ideal formula for the new Fiscal Code. It’s a signal of individualisation of the positions of UNPR, obviously, but UNPR is not the only one that has answered PNL’s offer let’s say, favourable. The first answer came from the interim President of PSD, Liviu Dragnea, who said that, if our intentions were serious, he was willing to sit down at the table. I want to note that it is not a debate strictly on the Fiscal Code, we are also interested in addressing other topics such as the law on the remuneration of the public sector employees or absorption of European funds (…)’ Ludovic Orban said.
Asked if we should see in this new initiation for negotiation UNPR made to political parties a distancing from PSD, Orban answered: ‘I don’t believe this is a distancing from PSD, I believe it’s a distancing from Victor Ponta, because the only one who had a hostile position regarding the negotiations was Victor Ponta. The message sent by the interim premier’.
Catalin Predoiu: ‘UNPR, PNL meet halfway, prefigure critical mass for Fiscal Code consensus’
PNL first deputy chairman Catalin Predoiu considers that the invitation to dialogue on the Fiscal Code adds to the one previously made by the Liberals, prefiguring the build-up of “critical mass” in Parliament for consensus to be reached on this topic.
“With the statement of the UNPR leader, which adds to PNL’s call for a consensus on the Fiscal Code revision, critical mass is slowly building for an agreement to be reached. So I take this statement in a positive key and am relatively optimistic that together, all parties, we’ll be able to find the best formula for Romania’s business environment,” the PNL first deputy chairman told Agerpres on Thursday.
Alina Gorghiu hails invitation to dialogue
PNL Co-president Alina Gorghiu has also responded to Gabriel Oprea’s invitation. In a public message on Facebook, Gorghiu hails UNPR’s openness to dialogue on ‘important themes for the future of Romania’. Today I saw another position favourable to dialogue among political parties coming from UNPR , a party of the governing coalition. The availability for dialogue is a very good signal, a premise for projects that will have a longer life than a government’s term. I am glad to see that there are other parties that place reason and caution above enthusiasm, when it comes to major projects for the country’s benefit. PNL has invited the political parties for consultations on six important topics for the future of Romania and this week we have proposed that the talks on macroeconomic stability, the Tax Code included, be held on August 17″, Gorghiu wrote on the social media website.
PSD waits until return from holiday
Prime-Minister and ex-PSD leader Victor Ponta and the incumbent President of the party, Liviu Dragnea, are both on holiday, so PSD has not yet had a position on the invitations to dialogue among political parties on the Fiscal Code.
Initially, Dragnea asked the minister of finance to talk to the BNR officials in order to convince them that the enforcement of the new Fiscal Code would not endanger economic macro-stability.
Currently on holiday, Victor Ponta has posted several messages on his private Facebook account, reminding PNL that the new Fiscal Code should not be politically treated, but economically. Ponta presented several official figures showing that the budget collection of funds exceeded expectations and that the economy could sustain the fiscal relaxation plan.
Social-Democratic MP Ana Birchall said on Realitatea TV on Thursday that negotiations were something normal.
‘During the consultation period there was political dialogue. Now, it is normal to go back to the table of negotiation. I personally commend Gabriel Oprea on his decision’, the PSD deputy explained and added that the document should not be turned into a political battle.
Another Social-Democrat, Viorel Arcas, says the Fiscal Code is needed at this time and that PSD has no change to make to the law.
‘My personal opinion is that there is nothing to change about the Fiscal Code. I am not sure what PSD’s ideas are at a central level, I am now in the country, we’ll see during the extraordinary session what new ideas there are’, Arcas said. He noted that his party had no changes to make to the Fiscal Code.
‘We have no change to make or adopting another version. It has been debated on, there were no other ideas, the Liberals had very many amendments that were adopted, now, all of a sudden, after the law had been returned, many have appeared with changed ideas’, Arcas concluded.
The leaders of PNL on Monday decided to mandate a negotiating team led by Catalin Predoiu, to talk to the other political parties on the new Fiscal Code.
PNL Co-president Vasile Blaga said the Liberals proposed the reduction of VAT in stages – to 21% on 1 January 2016 rather than 19% as voted in Parliament in June. The strange thing is that PNL was the party that proposed the cutting of VAT to 19%, the Government’s option being 20%.
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor said he supported the decrease of VAT in stages. His message followed Vasile Blaga’s proposal shortly.
The Fiscal Code was adopted by the Legislative, but President Klaus Iohannis sent it back to be re-considered.
At the end of the month, in Parliament, the parties will decide on the future of the new Fiscal Code during a special session.