Economic growth “belongs to” Romania, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said on Sunday, adding that in this field one cannot talk about “individual matches”.
Asked by Antena 3 private broadcaster about how much of the economic growth achieved in Romania this year is attributable to the Tudose Cabinet and how much to the Grindeanu Cabinet, the current prime minister replied: “Growth belongs to Romania, it is not a matter of individual plays; it is about a government programme, a coalition. ( …) We have undertaken tremendous risk in the campaign. It was the first time that a party, an alliance came in with an exact programme, and not a piece of paper, such as the Ciolos Government did (…) We’ve come up with an exact programme, which implementation takes a team effort.”
At the same time, Tudose said that his predecessor in office Sorin Grindeanu was “gentler with certain things”.
“Maybe in the first six months, (…) my friend, Sorin Grindeanu, the former prime minister, (…) given that he is from Banat (…) was gentler with certain things, saying if things do not go well today they may go well tomorrow. But that is not how it’s done,” said Tudose.
Asked why the Grindeanu Government was replaced, given that Romania had an economic growth of 5.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017, Tudose said: “Because it could have been more.”
On the other hand, Tudose said Romania’s industrial production and exports have increased.
He added that many big companies are investing in Romania.
“I give additional arguments for what a healthy economy, the attractiveness of Romania and the excellent trend are. Some very large companies operating in different areas – the defence industry, the aviation industry (…) the tobacco industry (…) have been investing billions in Romania in know-how transfers (…) One of the world’s largest companies, Bell Helicopter (…), is conducting a know-how transfer to Romania at its first helicopter factory that is not located in Texas. (…) All these big investors (…) know what they do when they invest these gazillions in Romania,” Tudose said.
“We will definitely need to change royalties as of 1 January 2018”
The Government has the Royalties Law on its table right now, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose stated on Sunday, also adding that royalties are “sure” to be changed as of January 1, 2018.
“We are still working on the Royalties Law (…) We definitely need to change royalties, (…) as of January 1, 2018,” Tudose told Antena 3 private television station. He also gave assurance that most of the excises aren’t to generate any increase in the price for fuel.
Moreover, when asked if there are going to be any significant increases in the royalties, the head of the Executive said: “Let’s see how they behave first, [companies- e.n.]. It all depends on their behavior.”
When questioned about his explanation related to the low level of royalties in Romania, Tudose specified: “No one looked at them (…) I don’t what to blame the heavy inheritance right now or what happened before (…) I am here today with a mission given by two political parties, to make things work in this country and, if we continue to remain blind, I believe that we are staying here for nothing.”
With respect to the increase in the excises for fuels, the head of the Government said that “simulations” are being carried right now at the Ministry of Finances.
“We haven’t established yet neither by how much nor since when (…) For now, the Ministry of Finance is making some simulations. However, a fact is that it had been taken out and the price at the pump hasn’t increased at all and, if some people thought then that we slashed the excise so that some companies could make some profit, they were wrong. Let’s then put it back in place and let’s see if the companies will understand to stay within the same paradigm they were during the time when it was taken out. We have more instruments at hand for the companies,” Tudose said.
“ANAF starts checkups on two of the banks that operate in Romania without profit”
The National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has started checkups on two of the banks that are currently operating in Romania without profit, in order to see what happens there, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose stated on Sunday evening.
He also added that, among the 36 banks currently operating in Romania, “18 are making profit and 18 are not.”
“Yes, this is a good start, this is the first month when they exceeded the plan; not just achieved the plan, but exceeded it. (…) They started to do checkups everywhere, and I will give you an example with the banks. We have 36 active banks in Romania right now, among which 18 are making profit and 18 are not. And I think that we should help them (…) maybe set up a foundation to help them, since I understand that they came here to help us and, I don’t know, maybe they are some branches of the Red Cross, or maybe they came here thinking that we are all wearing T-shirts reading: our fools! The ANAF has already started checkups at two of them, to see what is actually happening there. I tell you this honestly, and I take responsibility for it, that we are going to be forced to come up publicly at some point and say: these banks have not been making profit for one year, two years, four, and we are not sure that it’s safe for you to keep your savings there. (…) I’m sorry, but we are talking about banks here, and if a bank does not make profit, that means it’s losing money, and, doesn’t this mean that it could risk bankruptcy?” Mihai Tudose told Antena 3, when asked if he was pleased with the manner in which ANAF is doing its job after he made some changes at this institution’s management level.
Moreover, when asked if he believes that this was some kind of “a trick” on the part of the respective banks and who helped them up to here, the PM said: “Oh, yes. It was the state, the state in general.”
“We set to raise 5.2 billion euros in European funds in 2017; I think we’ll do better”
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose says the Romanian Government intends to exceed the target of 5.2 billion euros of European funds to be absorbed by Romania in 2017, as all the managing authorities are “theoretically” unblocked, according to him.
“Theoretically, we have unblocked all of them, so all the management authorities have been unblocked, and now we’re taking the bills, taking the papers and taking the money. I think that, apropos of outperforming the plan, we have set on 5.2 billion euros in the governing programme. I think we will do even better this year as far as the money in the country, not ghosts, the money coming into the country are concerned,” Tudose told Antena 3 private broadcaster on Sunday evening.
Asked if he considers Romania bringing in Polish experts in the field, given the high degree of EU funds drawn by Poland, the prime minister said that all procedures for absorption of funds will be carried out with specialists from the country.
Tudose on possible ministers’ reshuffling: We don’t rule out anything; we are not here forever
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said that he doesn’t rule out the possibility of making changes to his team of ministers, since neither he, nor his colleagues are “forever” in the Government.
When asked in an interview, broadcast on Sunday by Antena 3 private television station, if he intends to make changes to his set of ministers, Tudose answered: “You will learn about it when it happens. (…) We don’t rule out anything. Neither me, nor my colleagues are here to stay forever, and, in the meantime, I don’t have any recollection (…) of one retiring from the Government. These are temporary seats, where we all have to do our jobs as best as possible, even if it’s for a day, two, a year, two, whatever that might be. If we have to stay just for one day, in that day we have to do our duty as best as possible.”
The head of the Executive also said that he doesn’t scold the ministers, but he prefers to draw certain alarm signs, when needed.
“I don’t scold them, but I thought (…) it’s best not to pretend that I don’t see certain things and, when I see something, I say what it is. If this is harshness, ok, it’s harshness. I believe it’s normal to say when it’s good, what it’s good, and when it’s bad, what it’s bad. To praise when needed, to encourage when there is need of encouragement and draw alarm signals when they need to be drawn,” Tudose stated.
Furthermore, the PM mentioned that he didn’t want to build a certain imagine based on the attitude he has towards the members of his Cabinet.
“I haven’t played for the image, I have no use of it. I don’t want to run for anything, neither politically or administratively. Therefore, I don’t have to play for this thing, I simply took on the task to put into practice the governing programme, a programme that must lead to the growth of Romanians’ living standards. That is all,” Tudose stated.