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January 18, 2022
JUSTICE POLITICS

PM Grindeanu: EU grants for penitentiaries turned down by former Gov’t. We’ll tap into them

Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Saturday evening for RealitateaTV private broadcaster that during the meetings he has had recently with European Commission and European Council officials in Brussels he found out that European grants for the improvement of conditions in penitentiaries were offered last year but they were allegedly turned down by the former Government.

“European grants were offered last year to the former Government too. The possibility to tap into grants for penitentiaries was offered. This was said by the European Commission, but they were turned down. I got this information from Brussels, from officials,” Sorin Grindeanu told RealitateaTV.

The Prime Minister announced that the Government will send a request to the European Commission in order to tap into these grants.

“This week, and you will concretely see this, we will officially send, on behalf of the Romanian Government, to the European Commission, a request to tap into grants of this kind, and we will move very quickly, so to speak, in order to be able to tap into these grants,” the Premier said.

It is the Government’s duty to do these things, and the RON 22 billion in European grants, included in this year’s budget, represents “an ambitious thing” in contrast to the zero grants absorbed last year, the Prime Minister added.

Grindeanu claims he presented European officials with the real situation in Romania, during the meetings he had in Brussels.

“I believe it was my duty as Prime Minister to pay my first official visit to Brussels. I met with Timmermans, who also coordinates the Justice domain. At each meeting with EU officials I presented the real, up-to-date situation, as I found it, which we want to continue doing,” the Premier said.

Romania is lagging behind from several standpoints, including in what concerns the tapping of European grants, Sorin Grindeanu claims.

“At this moment, we are lagging behind from very many standpoints. I talked with European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, who handles the economic side, about things we are yet to do. On the Juncker plan we are among the last states to tap [grants],” he explained.

 

PM Grindeanu, on possible involvement in fraudulent real-estate sales case in Timisoara: Manipulation of lowest degree

 

On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu deemed the public information about his possible involvement in the case regarding nationalized houses being fraudulently sold in Timisoara as “a manipulation of the lowest degree”.

“I saw that in the public space it has been said that I am allegedly connected to a case. That matter is a manipulation of the lowest degree. I was never in charge, while I was the city’s deputy mayor, of the city patrimony domain. So, things are as clear as can be,” the head of the executive told private broadcaster RomaniaTV.

Furthermore, he mentioned that he was not called to the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) headquarters regarding the issuing of Government Emergency Ordinance 13 (e.n. – regarding measures in the judiciary), as some other members of Government were.

 

GEO 13 repealed by Gov’t because ruling coalition wants stable Romania

 

The government emergency ordinance (GEO)  amending the criminal legislation, which has prompted hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets, was repealed by the Government because the ruling coalition wants “a stable Romania,” Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on RealitateaTV on Saturday evening. After the ordinance’s abrogation, the relationship between him and PSD President Liviu Dragnea is “just as it was before I became Premier,” he said.

Concerning the way in which the emergency ordinance amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code was adopted – at night, after it was not included on the order of the day of the Government meeting –, Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated that he gave “a free hand” to the Justice Minister.

“I gave him a free hand to come up with a draft, knowing fully well that there are these CCR [Constitutional Court] decisions. And there’s one more thing. A penitentiary problem. It continues to be a problem for us. GEO 13 has been abrogated. We continue to have CCR decisions that are not implemented, we have the situation in penitentiaries, we are under ECHR’s possible censure – the former Government came up with the figures. That measure concerning the granting of pardons, which was sent as a bill to Parliament, solves part of the problem. We also have other measures, bills in Parliament, which must be adopted. I’ve seen the statements made by the Speakers of the Senate and of the Lower Chamber. The Senate has already adopted GEO 14. People are sensitive to corruption and that’s good, but, at the same time, we have some decisions which are mandatory,” Grindeanu stated.

Currently there are mandatory CCR decisions with which the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code have not been set in line, and the fact that some of the Codes’ articles are declared unconstitutional could lead to a legislative vacuum, Grindeanu emphasised.

Consequently, the Premier says, at this moment there must be a wide, transparent debate that would involve not only political parties but also institutions in this domain, in order to reach a form that would be in line with these Constitutional Court decisions.

“On the same day with GEO 13 there was a CSAT [Supreme Defence Council] meeting in which the budget for national security and national defence institutions was discussed. I wanted to send the budget to Parliament as fast as possible so that the things proposed would be reflected in the budget,” he explained.

 

“There are no tensions within PSD. My relationship with Dragnea is just as it was before I was nominated PM”

 

Asked whether his relationship with PSD President Liviu Dragnea has grown “cold” after he decided to abrogate the ordinance that prompted hundreds of thousands of Romanians to take to the streets, Premier Grindeanu answered that his ties with the leader of the Social Democrats are just as they were one month and a half ago, back when he was not even nominated for the Prime Minister’s office.

“I have been a member of PSD for 20 years and, during all this time, I’ve seen all kinds of cohabitations. Between Tariceanu and Basescu, for example. PSD won the elections with an unprecedented score. The PSD led by Dragnea. We have a novel situation – the fact that someone is Prime Minister and someone else is party president. My relationship with Liviu Dragnea is just as it was one month and a half ago, back when I wasn’t even nominated for the Prime Minister’s office,” Sorin Grindeanu said.

There are no tensions within PSD, the Prime Minister said. “Each party member wants us to carry out what we promised people, what we were voted for.”

 

Grindeanu’s message for protesters: Romania’s civic side seems to have awakened

 

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu pointed out he heard the Romanians who were protesting against the ordinance amending the Criminal Codes and against his Government and acted accordingly, abrogating the legislative act. The fact that “the civic side” has awakened and can react, regardless of who governs, is a gain for Romania, the Premier stated for RealitateaTV.

“I heard their message, I acted accordingly. Neither the Government, nor the party, nor I wanted to end up dividing Romania. On one hand, we had elections a little over a month ago; on the other hand, Romania seemed split on these actions. Hearing them, I took the decision to abrogate,” Sorin Grindeanu stated, emphasising that he often heard the protesters “live,” since he stays “within the Government building until late in the evening.”

The civic side has awakened and has become capable of reacting toward all decisions that are not sufficiently well explained, decisions taken by those who govern, regardless of their political stripes, the Prime Minister said.

“Our country’s civic side seems to have awakened and is capable of reacting regardless of who governs and who is the president. It’s a gain for our country. It seems capable of reacting to everything that seems insufficiently explained, not communicated properly,” Grindeanu added.

The Premier also pointed out that the protests took place in line with the law, without incidents.

 

New clues on JusMin nominee. New minister could be a politically non-affiliated person who won his/her colleagues’ respect

 

Premier Sorin Grindeanu emphasised, on RealitateaTV, that following the resignation of Florin Iordache he is considering the possibility for the nominee to be a politically non-affiliated person who has earned the respect of his/her colleagues and who can coordinate policy in the Justice domain together with the other institutions.

This is one of the possibilities “that can be considered extremely seriously,” the Premier said, adding that he will have discussions in this sense, and the decision will be taken later next week, in concurrence with his colleagues from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the governing coalition.

Sorin Grindeanu also recalled that, presently, work is being done on “two extremely important laws for Romania,” namely the prevention law, which will be a signal given to the business environment, but also the public pay law.

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