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October 27, 2021

PM Ponta: Iohannis should have asked us for economic data, otherwise he attends meetings unprepared

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday said that President Klaus Iohannis should have asked the government for economic data before receiving the IMF delegation, because “otherwise he goes to meetings unprepared.”

“The President should talk to us, too, to have data. Today, for the meeting with the IMF, he hasn’t asked us for any data. Had he asked, we would have told him that we have higher economic growth than forecasted by the IMF, with budget surplus, no deficit, and with the biggest direct investments since 2008. Had he asked for the data, I would have given it to him. I will send it to him tomorrow, this is not a secret. Otherwise, he goes unprepared to meetings and he listens to all sorts of people who do not know,” Ponta told Antena 3 private television broadcaster in a telephone intervention.

The PM dismissed the President’s assessments in regards to the 2016 budget by saying that one cannot criticize the budget yet, because it is not completed.

“Mister Iohannis does not know the 2016 budget, just like I don’t know it, because it has not been completed yet. One cannot criticize something that doesn’t exist. The 2016 budget will reach the Government in November, after that it will enter Parliament, to be debated by the two Chambers, and after that it will reach President Iohannis for promulgation. I believe, I don’t know, perhaps this is how Mr. Mihalache wrote his [the President’s] notes and he didn’t know that the 2016 budget has not come yet. (…) To criticise something you don’t know seems to me a rather frivolous thing, that is why I believe it comes from Mr. Mihalache,” Ponta added.

President Klaus Iohannis received on Tuesday at the Cotroceni Palace the delegation of the IMF led by Mission Chief to Romania Andrea Schaechter. During the talks it was highlighted that Romania should maintain a prudent approach in regards to the 2016 budget.

“In what concerns the 2016 budget, it was pointed out that Romania should not deviate significantly from a prudent fiscal-budget approach, in order to prevent a number of macroeconomic risks. To this respect, on the short term, it is necessary to keep the budget deficit under control, as an element of responsibility and caution in regards to the economic policy decisions, for the positive economic forecasts to be reflected by a sustainable economic growth,” a statement of the Presidential Administration reads.

“Romania is IMF’s most successful story; in other countries things haven’t worked out well”

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday said that Romania is “the only or the most successful story” of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that its collaboration with the IMF, the World Bank and the European Commission continue on important things, such as the law packages concerning public procurements and royalties.

“We are the only or the most successful story of the IMF. In other countries things haven’t worked out that well,” the prime minister told Antena 3 private television broadcaster in a phone-in, when asked about the relation of the current governance with the IMF and whether the Fund representatives are discontent with the authorities of Bucharest.

He also said that, widely, the authorities have taken the IMF, WB and EC representatives’ pieces of advice. “Regarding other things, for instance the social insurance contribution reduction by 5 percentage points last year, they said no. We have done it and it is a very good thing. The VAT cut to 9 percent [for foodstuffs] had also been rejected. We have done it and it was a very good thing. Therefore, in the end, the idea is that they are people making a certain assessment, you take what you see fit, the other things you decide on a national level,” the Prime Minister explained.

Victor Ponta added that, between the Government and the IMF, there continues to be collaboration on “important matters.”

“Next week we will send to Parliament the law package on public procurement, then we have the package on royalties, we have the corporate governance part of fully state-owned companies. Therefore there are important things which we also discuss with the IMF and with the World Bank. Let alone the relation with the European Commission which we have on a daily basis, as any European Union member,” the prime minister explained.

The head of Government on Tuesday had a meeting with the IMF delegation, headed by IMF mission chief in Romania, Andrea Schaechter.

Ponta pointed told Antena 3 that, in fact, the IMF’s technical delegation met Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, but he also participated in the discussions on some “main directions.” “The meeting was with the finance minister, but I have also attended it for some main directions,” the prime minister said.

According to him, during the meeting he made some clarifications concerning the elements provided in the positive budget revision which will be approved in the Government on Friday, and underscored that this year Romania will keep within the deficit target approved in Parliament, namely 1.86 percent.

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