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September 30, 2020

In the country of special pensions, people are silent

Overcoming the fear of what people might say, people who showed that they were unexpectedly vocal and vehement following the fire in the Colectiv Club, that led to the death of 63 young persons and caused injuries in almost one hundred more, the members of the Parliament made themselves a gift in 2015. The most beautiful, the most yearned for, the most targeted – they voted special pensions for themselves, thus solving their worries on what tomorrow might bring and fulfilling a dream that they do not share on their own, but also with any other inhabitant of this country.

Nonetheless, they are the sole special ones, and this law may grant them, by the end of their term, gross sums of up to RON 16,500. Why? As frankly explained by PSD Deputy Anghel Stanciu: “…to have a Parliament relieved of the fear of what tomorrow might bring.”

By burdening the tax-payers destined to support this lack of former officials’ fear of what tomorrow might bring by securing the prosperity they have assured themselves for the time they reach retirement.

It is hardly a surprise that the project was initiated by 228 Senators and Deputies, a record number for a legal initiative. Nonetheless, the gesture by the members of the Parliament stirred disgust, discontentment, protests in front of monitors. And nothing more.
Romanians stood silent.

The eyes glimmering with hope turned to President Iohannis, who, along with the stamp “Voted” has also received a never before seen dose of confidence and hope from behalf of the Romanian nation. Nonetheless, all Iohannis managed to do was to challenge temporarily the adoption of the draft law sending it back for review as, in its initial form, the law did not cease the right to a special pension for MPs convicted for corruption based on the old Criminal Code and was granting the monies also for Senators and Deputies who had failed to complete a full term.
In the almost four months while being discussed in the Parliament Committee for Statute, the law underwent a series of new changes, and the content of most meetings of the Committee are not public though. Information concerning the new version of the law appeared with great difficulty, and Senators and Deputies who have worked over the project have avoided many times to discuss with the press about the changes that were applied, as Mediafax also points out.

The officials were forced to wait for eight months since launching the initial version of the draft law, but the tension was well worth it – the draft law on special pensions was edited in its final form. Obviously the members of the Parliament adopted it with amazing speed. The greatest losers are the politicians convicted definitively for having committed at least one corruption-related crime as a Deputy or as a Senator. Such a small step for such a big Parliament.

Therefore, the “special ones” of the Parliament Palace will receive a gross average allowance of approximately RON 7,000, if the respective Deputy and Senator does not hold a management position in the Parliament, in the Committees or in the Permanent Bureau of the Chamber he is a member of. For Heads of Committees and leaders of the Permanent Bureau, the gross allowance may exceed RON 19,000.
And Romanians stood silent.

Therefore, taking advantage of a highly profitable moment, on the last days of 2015, when the minds of the population were focused on cabbage rolls, presents and New Year’s Eve reservations, politicians gave themselves pure parliamentary delight. Now, they may continue sleeping in peace on their comfortable seats in the Parliament Palace.
Afterwards, seeing that they have got away with it, they struck again and approved special pensions for local officials as well. With 86 votes for, one against and no abstaining. How come? Because the revolt of the true master in Romania was aborted before it even got a shape. Because… they can do it.
Because Romanians stood silent.

The law, signed by 30 officials of PSD, PNL, UNPR, UDMR and the group of minorities stipulates that all Mayors, Vice-Mayors, Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Local Chairmen would be granted a bonus worth one pension and a half besides their classical pensions. Conceived at the beginning of September, the project was furtively adopted by the Chamber of Deputies. And it happened because it had a deadline of being debated and voted for on November 2 and if the deadline has passed and the law was not rejected, it means it was tacitly adopted.
It is not only the nerve of politicians that is jaw dropping, but also the text in the motivation report. Thus, the initiators of the law claim that many of the local officials have “dropped the sphere of private activities and gave up much more consistent financial benefit in order to be in the service of local communities.”

Which means that they have sacrificed themselves for the good of the nation and now the nation is supposed to reward them. But who are these officials? Justice reveals it: at the time being, of the 110 General and District Mayors of Bucharest, over 40 have criminal files for corruption. And of the 41 heads of county councils, over half were convicted, investigated by DNA, declared incompatible and in conflict of interests.

The draft law has one more step until it is approved: it must pass the Senate, which is the decision reaching chamber in this case.
And Romanians stand silent.

Trying though to mend the shame, to stop the wave of discontentment that might affect them this year at the parliamentary and local elections, our chosen ones want to detour people’s attention from the gift they just offered themselves. Therefore, they approved a series of draft laws destined to grant
special pensions for other categories of people, too, such as military officers, pilots, diplomats, the additional personnel in justice, and an initiative is being discussed at this point concerning special pensions for teachers in the pre-university education system and ambulance workers.

It is clear, 2016 will be the year of populist measures, yet with a Government of technocrats, who feel the pressure of series of critical glances. Who are taking careful steps in order not to arouse a new wave of discontentment bringing once again the leash of instability that shadows the economical development of the country. With these people, there are scarce chances to stop these measures.
Therefore, all we can foresee is a new series of special pensions and, why not, extra special pensions. Because it is possible, right?
As Romanians stand silent.

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