Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, also the national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), major at rule, on Thursday said that before any referendum, whether possible or not, serious talks among political leaders are needed in order for them to reach agreement over the path to follow in many areas, and such talks could be conducted under the aegis of Romania’s President.
He voiced hope that President Iohannis will weigh in wisely.
“His attitude today makes me hope that he will weigh in very wisely before making a decision, because beyond this referendum, whether possible or not, I believe serious talks should be generated among political leaders – perhaps under the aegis of the President – in order for them to reach agreement over the path to follow in many areas, something that should have happened long ago. It is not too late now. It is late, but not very late,” Dragnea told Romania TV private broadcaster on Thursday night.
He added that legally speaking the President may give up on calling the referendum.
Dragnea underscored that generally his is not slavish rhetoric, but the rhetoric of a normal Romanian, adding that PSD and the Government have absolutely nothing against multinational corporations just because they want to help companies running on Romanian capital.
“Mine is not a nationalist or slavish rhetoric; it is the rhetoric of any normal Romanian who still hopes that he or she can speak up in his or her country for the rights of Romanians, whether employees, business people, civil servants, pensioners, young people, doctors, professors. I believe we still have the right to talk about that. I am critiqued for not having a slavish attitude! I will not change my rhetoric. But I am saying, for the umpteenth time that neither I nor the party I led, nor the Government have anything at all against multinationals just because we have been saying for months that we want to help Romanian companies and domestic capital as well and because we have been doing something to that end. That does not mean it is something against the other companies,” said Dragnea.
“Former Gov’t decision to purchase corvettes is illegal and must be abrogated”
PSD President and Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday that the government decision that ex-Premier Dacian Ciolos signed in the final days of his term in office, without transparency, decision that established the procedure for the procurement of corvettes for the Romanian Navy, is “illegal” and must be abrogated.
“There’s a serious problem there. (…) In that situation, that government decision could not be adopted without Parliament’s approval. What I believe the Government will do – and must do – is abrogate that Government decision and resume the legal procedure which eventually means a memorandum within the Government, asking for Parliament’s approval, after which they would move on to the Government decision that would have one result or another,” Dragnea stated for Antena3 private television broadcaster.
He pointed out that the procurement of these warships must take into account their price, usefulness, “the dimension of the offset” but also “the strategic positioning with NATO partners.”
“Here we are talking about a profound national interest, major. Whatever procurement is reached, it must be reached legally. So, that government decision must be abrogated. This is the first condition. The second condition – we must see which is the most useful option for the Romanian state, from all standpoints. From the standpoint of the price, from the standpoint of the dimension of the offset in Romania, from the standpoint of the usefulness of the military equipment concerned and from the standpoint of our strategic positioning with NATO partners. All these elements must be taken into account because this is what any country in the world does,” the PSD leader added, Agerpres informs.
Dragnea reiterated that over 2 percent of GDP has been allocated for defence.
“This doesn’t mean these funds will be simply thrown away. Firstly, we must develop the Romanian defence system, but at the same time we must intelligently develop the relations with our strategic partners,” the PSD President added.
On 29 November 2015, the Ciolos Government adopted a decision approving the circumstances and specific procedure related to the “Multi-mission Corvette” strategic procurement programme.
“Through the legislative act adopted, the Government has approved the circumstances and the specific procedure related to the “Multi-mission Corvette” strategic procurement programme, which entails the procurement of four SIGMA-class corvettes, Project 10514, from Damen Shipyards Group, through Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding BV, built and equipped at the Damen Galati S.A. Shipyards, and of the initial logistical support. The programme’s estimated value, over the entire seven-year period, stands at EUR 1.6 billion (VAT included), sum that also includes the procurement of ammunition and of the initial logistical support, which includes the training of crews,” the Ciolos Government announced at the time.
According to him, the concept study for the “Multi-mission Corvette,” drafted within the National Defence Ministry, analysed 13 corvette projects, concluding that 4 of them can meet the Romanian Navy’s requirements.
The construction and equipping of the warships will take place in Romania, at the Damen Galati S.A. Shipyard, member of Damen Shipyards Group – Netherlands, which will collaborate with national defence industry operators “both in the actual construction of the corvettes as well as in projects to modernise other Romanian Navy warships, namely the other compensatory actions (offset) which fall among the Dutch company’s obligations.”
“According to the specific procedure had in mind, the compensatory actions related to the contract will take place with priority in the following domains: modernising other Romanian Navy capabilities, building the training facilities, setting up the maintenance centre and the ammunition storage facilities in Romania. Starting the “Multi-mission Corvette” strategic procurement programme and building the warships in Romania would represent an important opportunity to develop the national defence industry both horizontally as well as other Romanian companies in a broader spectrum,” the aforementioned communique pointed out.
The communique added that, in a first, the draft legislative act followed the procedure for procurement decision transparency.
Parliamentary majority cannot be broken. This Government will resist
On Wednesday evening, PSD President Liviu Dragnea also stated that the parliamentary majority cannot be broken and the current Government will resist “maybe for the entirety of its mandate.”
“I strongly believe that this Government will survive because the parliamentary majority cannot be broken. (…) I’m absolutely convinced that this Government will resist (…) maybe for the entirety of its mandate. Only God knows what will happen, but there cannot be any problems from a political standpoint,” Dragnea stated for Antena3.
He pointed out that PSD’s support for him as party president, for the Government and for the Premier is “huge.”
“From the point of view of the attacks, even those coming from the President, even from other institutions, this Government will resist. It’s a Government that did not go there to commit illegalities, did not go there to steal. On the contrary, it wants to put into practice a governing platform,” the Social Democrat leader added, Agerpres informs.
Bill amending Fiscal Code, tabled by Liviu Dragnea: No VAT for social housing, agriculture services and small companies
PSD President Liviu Dragnea has tabled a bill which stipulates no VAT for homes and constructions for the underprivileged, agriculture services, advertisement through the media, but also the raising of the VAT-exemption threshold for companies from EUR 65,000 to EUR 88,500.
The bill amending the Fiscal Code, tabled by Liviu Dragnea in the Senate, stipulates “the implementation of zero VAT” on the delivery of homes by natural persons, the delivery of constructions meant to be used as retirement homes, orphanages, centres for minors with disabilities, the delivery of buildings to city halls, for the latter to rent out to persons or families whose incomes do not allow them to own or rent a home, Mediafax informs.
“The measure is meant to support the social services sector, by lowering the VAT from 5 to 0 percent in the case of buildings used for social purposes, and also to ease the population’s access to homes without the need to pay VAT,” Liviu Dragnea points out in the bill’s substantiation report.
In the case of advertising through the media, the VAT is lowered to 0 percent “to stimulate this sector of activity,” according to the bill.
“To stimulate agriculture, the lowering of the VAT on the most important inputs from the current 9 percent to 0 percent is being proposed. (…) The measure will contribute to the lowering of VAT reimbursements owed mainly to the application of reverse taxation on the delivery of agricultural products, and to the improvement of the financial flows in this sector,” the PSD leader points out in the bill’s substantiation report.
The Fiscal Code would also be modified by hiking the threshold up to which small enterprises are exempted from the payment of VAT, from RON 220,000 (EUR 65,000 on accession date) to RON 300,000 (EUR 88,500 on accession date), the bill stipulates.
“The Romanian taxpayer whose annual turnover, declared or registered, is inferior to the EUR 88,500 ceiling, sum whose equivalent in the national currency is established at the exchange rate posted by the National Bank of Romania on accession date and is rounded-off to the next thousand, namely RON 300,000, can apply for tax exemption, from now on called special exemption regime, for operations stipulated by Article 268, Paragraph 1, with the exception of intra-EU deliveries of new means of transport, exempted in line with Article 294, Paragraph 2, letter b,” the bill reads.
The bill establishes rules concerning the implementation of the VAT waiver for small enterprises created prior to 2017, as well as for those created on January 1 – February 28 and for those created after March 1.
“Taxpayers established on and after March 1st have the obligation to request registration for VAT purposes in line with Article 316 of Law no.227/2015, with subsequent amendments and addenda, if they surpass the exemption threshold of RON 300,000 during the March 1 – 31 December 2017 period,” according to the aforementioned source.
Likewise, taxpayers that registered for VAT purposes prior to 2017 can ask to be expunged from the list in line with Article 316 of the Fiscal Code, “after 1 March 2017, provided they did not surpass the exemption threshold of RON 220,000 the previous year, namely 2016, and did not surpass the exemption threshold of RON 300,000 by the time they file the request.”
“The raising of the ceiling will lead to a larger category of taxpayers having the possibility to opt not to register as VAT payers, against the backdrop in which the VAT-payer capacity entails a series of obligations leading to the rise of administrative burdens for taxpayers, as well as the rise of their costs,” Liviu Dragnea points out in the bill’s substantiation report.
The request to be expunged from the list of persons registered as VAT payers would have to be filed with the relevant fiscal bodies during the first 10 days of every month following the fiscal period applied by the taxpayer.
The cancellation of the VAT would be valid from the date the decision concerning the expungement is communicated.