President Klaus Iohannis announced on Tuesday that CSAT issued a favourable report on the budgets of national security institutions, but criticised the overall draft budget, calling it “problematic,” “too optimistic,” “inflated.” The members of the Supreme National Defence Council (CSAT) met on Tuesday at the Cotroceni Palace to discuss the 2017 budgets of national security institutions.
It was the first CSAT meeting attended by the members of the Sorin Grindeanu Government, in the midst of the scandal over the draft emergency ordinances on the granting of pardons and the amending of the Criminal Codes and after the disappearance of Sebastian Ghita. Thus, the new CSAT make up includes Defence Minister Gabriel-Beniamin Les, Interior Minister Carmen Daniela Dan, Foreign Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu, Justice Minister Florin Iordache, Economy Minister Alexandru Petrescu and Finance Minister Viorel Stefan. Also present at the meeting were the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Chief of the General Staff and the President’s National Security Advisor.
The budgets of national security institutions were endorsed by the Supreme National Defence Council (CSAT), President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday.
“We have analysed all of these budgets and the CSAT endorsed eventually the budgets of the institutions operating in the national security field,” the head of state assessed at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, at the end of the CSAT reunion.
President Iohannis assessed that the Government, through Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and Finance Minister Viorel Stefan, is set to adjust these budgets at the next budget adjustment, “wherever problems occur, especially where it comes to expenditures on personnel.”
“The budget draft was endorsed with this remark,” added Iohannis.
According to him, the CSAT reunion’s agenda covered one topic referring to the endorsement of the draft budgets of the national security institutions. The head of state stressed that the CSAT report in this case is mandatory.
“The government has wrapped up a draft budget that it wishes to send to the Parliament and for this, it needs the CSAT report. This budget draft prepared by the government and ready to be sent to Parliament looks problematic to me. This budget provides a very high increase of expenditures and, considering the specialists’ opinion and mine, as well, this budget it way too optimistic, inflated, with no pertinent explanation for this huge growth – around 15 percent. Even if we consider that Romania’s economy is going to grow, something we all want, such a huge growth is hard to accomplish. Considering this, it is more difficult to say why the budgets in the field of national security were lowered in certain areas,” said Iohannis.
He said that the draft budget foresees a 2 percent of GDP allocation for the National Defence Ministry, adding that this figure corresponds to the commitments in force.
“It is important to emphasise that this budget should be also executed usefully for Romania and for the national security of Romania. To put it simpler – it is paramount that this money allocated to the National Defence Ministry be used for long-term military procurement programmes which really lead to a modernisation of the Romanian armed forces,” Iohannis mentioned.
The head of state also said that the Interior Ministry’s budget is very similar to the one last year, while the other national security institutions’ budgets are down by around 10 percent year-on-year.
After the CSAT meeting, the Government will convene to approve the draft budget, which will then be sent to Parliament, for hearings within Parliament’s special committees to start.