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March 29, 2023

Thousands of taxi cabs, trucks and buses block downtown Bucharest

Traffic was blocked by thousands of taxicabs, trucks and buses in downtown Bucharest, as a result of a protest for the reduction of RCA insurance tariffs and the elimination of the supplementary excise tax on fuel starting on January 2016.

The cars that took part in the protest occupied in an area extending from the Government headquarters to the Arch of Triumph, and a delegation of the protesting transporters entered the Victoria Palace, being invited to take part in talks with Deputy Premier Vasile Dancu, the representatives of the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) and the Social Dialogue Minister. The protesters’ delegation presented its demands, which concerned the reduction of RCA insurance tariffs.

The negotiations between the protesters’ delegation and Deputy Premier Vasile Dancu lasted two hours. The leaders of the delegation expressed their disappointment with the fact that the supplementary excise tax will remain in force next year and announced that they will continue the talks over the RCA insurance tariffs. Protests could resume next year.

“Mr. Dancu told us that he cannot eliminate the supplementary excise tax because Parliament has already voted next year’s budget. We also discussed the copyright issue and he promised he will talk to ORDA in order for us to pay a one-off tax at the moment the car is registered, for instance EUR 100, instead of having to pay a monthly tax,” FORT Vice President Mihai Ghisa stated.

In what concerns the RCA insurance, transporters were invited to attend new talks at the ASF headquarters on Tuesday.

“We are more optimistic we have chances to see the RCA insurance tariff reduced. However, if on Tuesday we see we have no chances of winning, we will return to the streets,” Ghisa stated, adding that a new protest will no longer take place this year, given the approach of the holidays, but could take place early next year.

During the protest, the drivers displayed banners with messages reading “RCA bonus, payment for Mafia,” “Auto repair shops bankrupt, ASF incompetent,” “Misu Negritoiu, the criminal that destroyed Romanian insurances,” “Negritoiu, don’t forget, DNA will come for you,” and demanded the resignation of ASF Director Misu Negritoiu.

Mihai Viorel Ghisa, Vice President of the Federation of Romanian Transport Operators (FORT), stated for Mediafax that transporters are paying huge tariffs without receiving anything in return.

“We will end up signing RCA insurances abroad, registering our vehicles abroad. It’s unacceptable to hike the RCA by 400 per cent; and their prices will grow again starting next year. Where will this take us? We are paying 20 per cent on RCA, 24 per cent VAT. What money will we repair the cars with, what money will we take home? We want ASF to be dismantled because we do not believe it is doing its job. They are paid by insurers, how could they stand up to their bosses? They’ve kept asking us for money for roads, obligatory vignettes for roads, the supplementary excise tax for roads. Where are these roads? We are paying huge sums and we have nothing; we have no highway. The Hungarians have built more highways than we did. It’s inadmissible,” Mihai Ghisa said.

Vasile Stefanescu, President of the Confederation of Licensed Transporters and Operators in Romania (COTAR), stated that this form of protest was adopted in order to warn that the measures taken recently affect both transporters and private car owners, who will pay an RCA insurance of approximately EUR 1,000 annually, far above the Romanians’ purchasing power.

“Likewise, the tax hikes in the transport sector will affect all the other industries and commerce, through price hikes, so that they will generate a drop in purchasing power, which will affect all Romanians,” Vasile Stefanescu added, Mediafax informs.
Transporters are asking the authorities to intervene in order to ensure a bearable RCA insurance tariff, considering that the RCA insurance tariff has grown by over 300 per cent in the last six months in the passenger and freight transport sector, including taxicab activities.

Likewise, transporters want the supplementary excise tax eliminated on January 1, the Government to intervene in order to modify the legislative acts (ORDA decisions) that force transport operators to pay enormous sums for copyright, despite the fact that their line of work consists of passenger transport not the broadcasting of music in buses and taxicabs. They also want the Transport Ministry to hasten the legislative process for those draft legislative acts discussed and approved within the Social Dialogue Commissions (the modification of Emergency Ordinance 69), draft legislative acts that should be forwarded to the Government or the Official Gazette for publication.

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