POLITICS

PM Grindeanu does 100-day stocktake: Original governing, communication could have been better

Premier Sorin Grindeanu termed his government’s first 100 days at rule as “original”; speaking Monday evening at Antena 3 private TV broadcaster, he admitted that some of the host of measures adopted by the government could have been communicated “much better”.

“Communication for certain elements could have been much, much better. Maybe communication on certain measures we passed and the way they were explained were not the best. But we did take those measures. Pensions have been raised, taxes have been cut, the minimum national wage was hiked, there were all the measures for students (…), national programs have been released,” Grindeanu said.

The head of the government cited the management at the Ministry of Agriculture as a positive example.

“March was an extraordinary month in terms of management at the Ministry of Agriculture, as regards European funds, subsidies to Romanian farmers. Nearly one million people duly received their subsidies with no delay till July or August, as they were used to,” Grindeanu said.

He underscored that all the measures taken have been well assessed for their effects to be exactly those anticipated by the government.

“In support of what I am saying (…) also comes the economic growth revision the International Monetary Fund did a few days ago from 3.8 to 4.2 pct. In the end I’m sure they’ll come to the same conclusion as us, of a 5.2 pct growth,” Grindeanu said.

The head of the government reiterated that after the first quarter, the budget was running a surplus of 1.52 billion lei, representing about 0.2 pct of GDP.

“Budget revenues this March were 22 pct higher YoY. (…) The growth rate in Q1 2017 is exactly as predicted, of more than 5 pct. Total revenues to the consolidated budget are by almost 4 bln lei higher than in Q1 2016. (…) VAT collection in February 2017 was 2.5 pct higher compared to February 2016 and almost 9 percent higher in March 2017 compared to March 2016,” Grindeanu said, mentioning that over 60,000 new jobs have been created in Romania in Q1 2017.

 

 Reshuffles are done after analyses, not on TV. The technocrats, these apostles of austerity, hiked the deficit in 2016

 

Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Monday evening, in a televised talk-show, that he is monitoring the ministers, stating that Government reshuffles are not done “on television,” but as a result of an analysis and of a discussion within the party and the ruling coalition.

“I’m monitoring all ministers and I’m not the only one, I’m sure of it. Mr President Liviu Dragnea is also monitoring not just the Government but the other institutions too. My duty is to monitor all ministers, all members of the governmental team. There are absolutely normal things, there are deadlines, measures we must adopt and we must do so as clearly and transparently as possible, without personal acrimony or issues that have to do with personal chemistry. As Prime Minister, I’m monitoring each member of the team I’m leading. We don’t do Government reshuffles on television. We are analysing, taking stock, discussing with President Liviu Dragnea, I draw a conclusion as Prime Minister, concerning the way the members of the governmental team did their job, I present my conclusion and we discuss it, just like we did with all the other things, with the party whose member I am, with the party president and within the coalition that backs this Government,” Sorin Grindeanu stated on Antena3.

Asked whether he is satisfied with all ministers, the Premier said he is satisfied with “most of them.”

The Premier was also asked whether he talked with Liviu Dragnea about the dissatisfactions the latter has: “I talk with Mr President Liviu Dragnea many times per day, contrary to claims from within and without. We’re two extremely responsible politicians, each of us understands the role he has and each of us understands where we’re at and we want only one thing: to do everything we said and took the commitment of doing.”

 

“The technocrats, these apostles of austerity, broke down the 2016 budget”

 

Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Monday evening, in a televised talk-show, that the technocrat ministers, “those apostles of austerity” caused the 2016 budget deficit to surpass the 3 percent threshold without actually doing anything.

“What we received today as information related to fiscal year 2016, and what the technocrat gentlemen were telling us, and what some were telling us at the start of this year too, those apostles of austerity, makes me very angry. I rarely get angry; however, I’m trying to find solutions. Apart from a lost year – 2016, from many points of view, a year in which the country was governed by this technocratic Government – European grants, lack of major investments, major chaos, administrative chaos so on and so forth. According to Eurostat, a piece of news that unfortunately is real, Romania’s budget deficit surpassed 3 percent in 2016, apropos of what these gentlemen were telling us. In 2016, while doing nothing, taking no kind of measures, not making the major investments that would be visible, not hiking salaries, not hiking pensions, not drawing European grants, nothing, the deficit was surpassed. It’s an extremely grave matter apropos of what these gentlemen did last year, while doing nothing,” Sorin Grindeanu stated for Antena3 private television broadcaster.

He added that the surpassing of the budget deficit target in 2016 is the result of the technocratic Government “extremely applauded by some and which, while doing nothing, managed to break down [sic] the budget deficit.”

 

  “Income tax applied in other countries, we are not reinventing the wheel”

 

Grindeanu also stated on Monday evening at Antena 3 private TV broadcaster that he expects a final draft of the income tax project so that he can decide, but underlined that this type of tax is applied in other countries as well.

“It is natural that this new approach lead to many controversies, because we are talking about a new approach, but we are not reinventing the wheel, these are things that are applied in other countries as well, some of them EU members, others not, but developed countries that do very well from an economic perspective (…) I have asked the Minister of Finance to come forward and explain more what we want, what we want to do, what we have as measures provided for in the governing program, and for this communication to be as structured as possible, so that citizens understand very well what we want,” Grindeanu said.

He specified that he had asked the representatives of the Public Finance Ministry and the National Agency for Tax Administration (ANAF) to submit a draft.

Asked to provide a definition for the difference between individual and household tax, the Prime Minister said he expects a final form of the project.

“Mr. (Finance Minister) Viorel Stefan has begun to come in front of the public and explain as much as possible. I am expecting – I am a graduate of exact sciences – to receive the final project and not to rush and I do not think it is good for a Prime Minister to say things that are not 100 percent certain, ” Grindeanu said.

In the context, he stated being “upset” at the former government in relation to the data for the fiscal year 2016.

“Beyond the fact that 2016 was a lost year in many ways, (…) according to Eurostat, (…) the budget deficit for 2016, as we were told by these gentlemen when we came with the budget in Parliament, exceeded 3 pct without doing anything (…) It is a very serious matter related to what these gentlemen did last year, by doing nothing in Romania,” added Grindeanu.

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