Social Democratic Party’s Permanent National Bureau (BPN) met on Monday at the party’s central headquarters in a limited format, the topic of the day including the way the ministers and PSD communicate but also the legislative priorities for the new parliamentary sitting.
PSD Interim President Liviu Dragnea stated at the end of the meeting that the important issues during Parliament’s new sitting are the Fiscal Code, the salary law and the public procurement law. Likewise, Dragnea pointed out that Prime Minister Victor Ponta notified the BPN that next year’s draft budget will be sent to Parliament by November 15.
“We talked about the legislative priorities. The Fiscal Code tops the list. As we agreed last Thursday, the timetable is very tight. The Senate’s Economic Commission convenes today. Tomorrow evening it should reach the Lower Chamber and after that we should have the final vote within the Lower Chamber. On Saturday it should reach the President for promulgation, and on Monday it should be in the Official Gazette. As we agreed on Thursday, it’s a draft law that will be analyzed by the parliamentary parties based on the model used in the case of the Fiscal Code. All parties have to contribute in order for the final form to be the one agreed on,” Dragnea said.
“We talked about the budget. For correlation, we talked with Rovana Plumb – the draft salary law has to be adopted before the budget,” PSD’s Interim President added.
Dragnea reiterated that the public procurement law is also among the priorities. “We talked about the public procurement law as a priority. It’s a draft coming from the Government. It’s important to adopt it this year. There were delays of up to 2 years even. We were informed about last evening’s vote in the Senate,” Dragnea said.
At the start of the meeting he told his colleagues that the UNPR model “is exemplary.”
“We too have to honour, at the same level, the attitude of our UNPR colleagues; the behaviour of our UNPR colleagues is exemplary, it was seen throughout the Parliamentary sitting. The relations between us have to be as close as they have been so far,” Dragnea said. The statement was made in the context in which Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea also attended the meeting.
Referring to a possible government reshuffle, Dragnea pointed out that he has no way of asking the Premier to do this. “I want to tell you something else, in the hope of being able to put an end to some speculations. I don’t intend to ask the Premier for any reshuffling. Certainly not. The reshuffling is the Premier’s decision. As far as I know, he doesn’t intend to do that, neither I nor Mr. Oprea. These are press speculations. What I asked for is that the ministers should periodically review their government activity,” Dragnea said.
Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici pointed out that it is normal for an assessment of ministers to take place, but avoided giving an answer concerning his possible reshuffling. “It’s very good for an assessment of ministers to take place, naturally it’s very good. I am not the one to assess my activity, those who entrusted me with this position will do so,” Teodorovici said.
Labour Minister Rovana Plumb stated that the Social-Democrats’ Permanent Bureau is the one to decide on a possible evaluation of Ponta Government’s ministers and added that from her point of view “the Government is doing its job and there is communication on the part of everyone.”
Liviu Dragnea also referred to the much-discussed Fiscal Code.
“In what concerns the Fiscal Code, you have seen that we, alongside our coalition colleagues, had good talks with the leaders of the other parliamentary parties and a final form of the Fiscal Code, which is identical to the form adopted by Parliament the first time around, has resulted. I say this in the presence of the Premier: it is the Fiscal Code that the Premier filed in Parliament, he is the first Premier who had the courage to propose to Romania fiscal measures that would generate economic growth. What we did was to implement these measures in a gradual manner. The fact that we had political consensus gives us hope that we can reach a political consensus on major issues that has to resist in time. We believe that a political climate based on dialogue is more efficient than permanent political war,” Liviu Dragnea explained.
In what concerns his relationship with President Klaus Iohannis, Dragnea said that he does not want a war with him. “My goals concerning the Lower Chamber and the Senate, I will publicly reveal them. Yes, I take responsibility for my lack of desire to attack Klaus Iohannis. I don’t want a war with Klaus Iohannis. I don’t believe it’s useful. The idea of communicating better is an aid for the Prime Minister. The party has to be more vocal,” Dragnea said.
Victor Ponta: “We have important projects”
Premier Victor Ponta stated at the end of the BPN meeting that there are no communication problems with Government members.
“We have important projects, the public procurement law is coming up next, we have the salary law. All Government projects go to Parliament. All important projects were adopted and we continue to get down to business,” the Premier said.
Asked whether he consults President Iohannis, the Head of Government stated: “Of course, the more so the better.”
Rovana Plumb: “We have salary law consultations with trade unions; discussions with President Iohannis”
The ordinance concerning the hiking of dignitaries’ salaries will be debated in Parliament simultaneously with the public sector salary law, the Social-Democrats decided on Monday at the BPN meeting. The decision is in line with the Liberals’ similar decision.
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on Saturday that the Liberals have formally decided to reject in Parliament the ordinance on the dignitaries’ salary hike, stating that these hikes have to be debated simultaneously with the public sector salary law.
After the consultations between party leaders last Thursday, PSD Interim President Liviu Dragnea stated that the ruling coalition and the opposition are waiting from the Labour Ministry the draft salary law in order to hold consultations on it, pointing out that he wants this law debated in Parliament simultaneously with the ordinance on the hiking of dignitaries’ salaries.
President of the National Council of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Labour Minister Rovana Plumb said Monday that consultations will be held this week on the public sector salary law, adding that the project will also be discussed with President Klaus Iohannis.
“We will be meeting this week and the next to listen to their opinions. Some have put them in writing; we will also hold consultations at the headquarters of the Labour Ministry,” Plumb said before a convention of the party’s National Permanent Bureau, in response to the latest developments in the drawing up of the draft public sector salary law. Further talks are scheduled with trade unions on the same topic. As far as the existence of funds needed to cover larger salary increases in 2016 under the provisions of the new Fiscal Code is concerned, Plumb said: “We will discuss that after the Fiscal Code is adopted and after we assess, in terms of fiscal and budgetary room, how to implement the new salary law.”
“I have said from the very beginning that the implementation time for the law will be at least three years,” Plumb added.
Asked whether consultations with President Klaus Iohannis would be timely, she said: “Yes, I find that a normal state of affairs; we will have such consultations, including on the salary law.”