On Wednesday morning, before the start of the Government meeting, Premier Dacian Ciolos presented a brief review of one year in office. Referring to the “Zero Government” nickname, he said it means “the Government of zero corruption, zero populism, zero lies.”
“Thursday marks one year since we took over this tenure, and I would like us to take this opportunity, come out and explain, personally taking stock of our first year in office, no frills; if we do not do that ourselves, some will come up with their analysis and call us something like “the zero government.” We must stand up and say: Indeed, we are the Government of zero corruption, zero populism and zero spin and, starting from there, we will explain things that have been done throughout the year. As I said early in my tenure, we are not setting out to revolutionise Romania in just one year, but we wanted to start some reforms in key areas, which I would like us to be able to explain,” Ciolos said at the beginning of a government meeting on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Wednesday called on ministers to personally take stock of their first year in office and publicly tout their achievements as well as unfinalized projects.
He added that those “with an interest in reality” must be informed about the achievements as well as the projects unveiled but not yet finalised.
“I guess it is very important for us to conduct our own analysis and disclose the findings, so that we may engage those with an interest in reality and truth, transcending the populism that is probably inherent in an election campaign, in a civilised debate about what has been done and what is left to be done,” said Ciolos.
“Zero EU grants in fact means 6 billion euros absorbed by Romania in 2016”
Likewise, the Prime Minister asked Finance Ministers Anca Dragu and Labour Minister Dragos Pislaru to explain how this year’s economic growth has been reflected in job creation.
“Explain where, in what fields 154,000 jobs have been created this year. Let us also explain the fact that economic growth was also felt in the pockets of Romanians because the average salary increased by about 13 percent,” added Ciolos.
“As I said at the start of the tenure, we are not planning to revolutionise Romania in one year, but we will launch, I said back then we would launch several reforms in several key-domains and I would like us to be able to explain them. I believe it is important to detail these figures a bit and not to stick only to abstract figures,” Ciolos said before the weekly Government meeting.
At the start of the Government meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos also asked the European Funds Ministry to explain that “zero EU grants” in fact means “about 6 billion euros that have been absorbed this year by Romania.”
“At the European Funds Ministry, please explain (…) that zero European grants actually means approximately 6 billion euros that have been absorbed by Romania from European grants this year under all the EU-funded programmes, and I believe we have to insist that when we took office we recorded a 58 percent absorption rate for 2007-2013, but currently we witness a bit over 80 percent,” said Ciolos.
The Premier also asked Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu to keep farmers informed about the subsidies paid in advance for next year.
At the same time, Ciolos asked Labour Minister Pislaru and Education Minister Mircea Dumitru to explain the Government’s investment this year in tackling the school dropout phenomenon and to explain the fact that the Government has decided to fully cover the commute costs of over 125,000 students, as well as to introduce the “Hot Meal in Schools” and “Every Child in Kindergarten” pilot-programmes that also contribute to lowering the school dropout rate.
In what concerns the Transport Ministry, Ciolos asked Minister Sorin Buse to point out that the administrative gridlock has been eliminated in what concerns 300 km of open construction sites.
“At the Transport Ministry, I’ll ask the minister to explain the fact that the administrative gridlock has been eliminated in what concerns 300 km of open construction sites and work should take place there in the upcoming period, and the fact that I understand we are in the position to bequeath the future Government over 1,000 km of projects that have been prepared or are currently being prepared, feasibility studies, technical drafts, so that everything included in the Masterplan for the following years would be ready for launch.”
In addition, Ciolos also asked Energy Minister Victor Grigorescu to provide details on his draft Energy Strategy.
“We shall be able to bequeath 1,000 km of projects that have been prepared or are currently being prepared,” added Ciolos.
“At the start of the tenure we promised that after surveys, analyses, consultations with specialists in this field, we will bequeath this finalised strategy to the future Government, and I believe it is useful to enter the debate and explain the energy mix we are proposing and its justification, but I believe it is important to also state what you told me yesterday when we discussed this review, namely the fact that, strategies and macro-level visions aside, with that financial assistance programme we are also contributing to lowering the number of homes, particularly in remote areas, that have no access to electricity, and the fact that out of the approximately 100,000 homes still without electricity in Romania the problem for approximately 10,000 of them will be resolved in the upcoming period and I believe it would be useful for you to offer some details on this,” the Premier added.
Emergency ordinance on “professionalization of hospital management”
Premier Dacian Ciolos also stated that the Government will adopt an emergency ordinance on the professionalization of hospital management.
“Today (Wednesday – editor’s note), we have on the order of the day an ordinance through which we are professionalising hospital management,” Ciolos said at the start of the Government meeting.
He asked Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu to draft a review of activity in his domain after one year of governance.
“I believe that, given the funds we have decided to earmark, including for investments in hospitals, in the following years, it is important to have a professional management that would assume the good management of hospitals but, at the same time, I believe it is important to also emphasise the measures that have been taken this year to hike healthcare salaries by addressing the inequities that existed in the system. Apart from the fact that the food allocation has been hiked, we have finally clarified, after many years, the payment of physicians’ hospital shift hours, something that not only generates consistent income for physicians – well-deserved in fact – but that also clarifies, I believe, the situation concerning hospital shifts,” Premier Ciolos said.