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April 12, 2021

Dragnea, asked why he laughed with Iohannis at Cotroceni: Sevil Shhaideh said a joke; I told it to the President

Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday evening, in a talk-show on Antena3 private television broadcaster, that the atmosphere at the swearing-in ceremony that took place at the Presidential Palace was more relaxed because he told President Klaus Iohannis a joke that Minister Sevil Shhaideh had said, the latter having “an extraordinarily developed sense of humour.” Dragnea recounted that the Development Minister had joked that Premier Sorin Grindeanu will be “flanked” by two women in the Government, namely by herself and Deputy Premier Gratiela Gavrilescu.

Asked for details on his talks with President Klaus Iohannis at the swearing-in ceremony, considering that they both looked amused, the PSD leader said he told the Head of State a joke that Sevil Shhaideh had said.

“I’ll reveal who was the cause of that mood. Sevil Shhaideh, who, apart from being a very good minister and a hard-working woman, also has an extraordinarily developed sense of humour and she told the Premier, while Ms Gratiela Gavrilescu was waiting to take her oath of office, she told Premier Grindeanu – “let’s see, Mr Prime Minister, you’ll be flanked by two women for the first time in the history of Romania.” All kinds of jokes ensued; she was saying that they are two very young and very fit girls who are very photogenic. When the President approach, I told them I’ll tell the President and I did,” the PSD President said.

He added that this moment has nothing to do with his relationship with President Klaus Iohannis.

“That was all, it has nothing to do with me and President Klaus Iohannis, [a relationship] which may be tense, may not be tense, it depends on how he sees things,” Liviu Dragnea concluded.

President Klaus Iohannis did not give a public speech at the ceremony in which Government members Gratiela Gavrilescu and Viorel Ilie were sworn in, and talked for only a few dozen seconds with PSD President Liviu Dragnea and Premier Sorin Grindeanu.

After ministers Gavrilescu and Ilie were sworn in, state adviser Gheorghe Angelescu announced that the ceremony ended. The President shook hands with the Speakers of the two Chambers and the ministers present at the ceremony, speaking for a few seconds with Sorin Grindeanu, who looked amused.

Iohannis also exchanged a few words with Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea. Approaching the journalists present, the President told them: “Today I’m only going to salute you.” After that, he went back to Dragnea, speaking with him a little more.

The President then left the room, however the Speakers of Parliament and the ministers stood for a few more minutes within the Presidential Palace’s Union Hall.

Usually, at such ceremonies, the Head of State gives a speech. This did not happen this time around.


“Klaus Iohannis told me he wants to speak before Parliament; he’s welcome provided the message won’t be tense”


In the same talk-show, on Monday, Dragnea also stated that President Klaus Iohannis told him, at the ceremony in which the new ministers were sworn in, that he would like to give a speech during Parliament’s joint plenary meeting, adding that the President is “welcome” after Easter, provided the message he wishes to convey will not be tense.

“The President told the Premier that he sees the Government as a whole without coming to the Victoria Palace. I told him: Mr President, pay them a visit again, barge over me at Parliament too, to sit again with me at the rostrum. He said he wants to come and give a speech in Parliament. I told him: “Not a tense one, I hope.” And he said no. After Easter, we can agree at any time and he’s welcome in Parliament, as natural. Mr Tariceanu told him the same,” the Lower Chamber Speaker said.

President Iohannis last spoke before Parliament on February 7, his speech taking place during the street protests that followed the adoption of OUG 13.

“Hundreds of thousands of Romanians are protesting in the street. The nation is alert, is alive, is paying attention and is very dissatisfied. An important sociological survey conducted in the past 3 days shows that almost 80 percent of Romanians believe the country is heading in the wrong direction,” the Head of State said.

The President stated that the Social-Democrats promised one thing during the elections campaign but did something else, namely they showed a preoccupation with “criminal files.” “[PSD] promised one thing in the campaign and, during the first days, it started doing something else. It’s clear that your desire, your concern, was not the one declared in the campaign. The top priority was not the prosperity of the Romanian people. The top concern was to take care of the criminal files, and Romanians are indignant and outraged!” Iohannis said back then.

His speech prompted the disgruntled PSD and ALDE MPs to leave the room.


Standard salary scales bill will be signed at PSD’s CExN on Thursday


The standard salary scales bill will be signed on Thursday at the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Executive Council (CExN) meeting, which will take place in Sinaia, party chairman Liviu Dragnea announced on Monday.

He pointed out that the bill is currently completed, and the law will be signed as a parliamentary initiative, the debate on it going to take place in Parliament.

“On Thursday, we’ll sign the law, as parliamentary initiative. The Prime Minister and Mrs Labour Minister told me and Mr Tariceanu that the best option is to turn it into a parliamentary initiative, not into a Government legislative initiative, to save time. (…) Today, the standard salary scales bill is ready. On Thursday, or even tomorrow, the Labour Minister will go to Parliament to start collecting the signatures of those who want to be co-initiators to this law, and on Thursday it will be signed by the coalition leaders and parliamentarians. I invite [Senate] Speaker Tariceanu on Thursday to come to Sinaia to sign this bill together,” Dragnea told Antena3 private television broadcaster.

According to him, all interested Romanians will see, during the debate, “all the anomalies in the current public pay system of Romania.”

“Everything started from Law 284, the standard salary scales law […] and social categories of the public sector got their salaries increased. The situation was reached in which an accountant working in a ministry earns a higher salary than his counterpart in a different ministry, having the same experience and duties,” the PSD leader maintained.

He pointed out that two institutions make an exception to the bill – the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF), a principle about which “the European Commission said it was all right.”

“Also discussed is the ratio between the lowest and the highest salary in Romania. Now it is 1:15. The social partners have been long asking for 1:13. We set it at 1:12. Namely ‘1’ means the minimum salary per economy, ‘12’ means Romania’s President’s salary. If we consider the principle of the most legitimate man in the country – be that Klaus Iohannis today, be that Radu Tudor tomorrow, he must have the highest salary. This is what hierarchisation means. […] This is what legitimacy means. […] After the president, comes the Prime Minister, the Senate Speaker, the Lower Chamber Speaker and the ICCJ [Supreme Court] President. The ICCJ President’s salary today is high. […] There is another discussion – ministers are placed on the same level with parliamentarians,” Liviu Dragnea detailed, and mentioned that ‘1’ represents 1,420 lei.

Risking to be “unpopular”, the Lower Chamber Speaker showed that the debated indices for parliament members are ‘7’, ‘6’, and even ‘5’ in the salary ratio.

At the end of the PSD governance, he mentioned, the minimum salary per economy will be 1,750 lei.


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