Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Tuesday that he had a meeting with PSD President Liviu Dragnea, who informed him about the talks that took place during PSD’s Executive Committee meeting on Monday, the leader of ALDE asking his PSD colleagues to give up “useless discussions” and to concern themselves with the citizen’s agenda.
“Today I had a meeting with PSD President Liviu Dragnea. I was informed about the content of the discussions they had yesterday within the Executive Committee. Considering we are coalition partners, I want to launch a call on the members of PSD – on the members of PSD who are probably fretting, having reasons justified by political developments and by future developments – to preponderantly focus (…) on the public agenda, on the citizen’s agenda. People have extremely low interest in (…) how many ministers the Government has. (…) Citizens want to feel the economic growth in their pockets, the economy to perform, and they want us to manage to create in Parliament a legislation that is friendly, favourable to citizens and that would respect the rights of each person,” ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu said.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu asked his coalition partners not to focus on “sterile, useless discussions deleterious to the perception of the act of governance.”
Tariceanu on reshuffle: Until you drive the Trabant properly there’s no point talking about Formula 1
ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Tuesday that he has no information from Premier Mihai Tudose about his intention to reshuffle the Government, stating that “it is good to first learn to drive the Trabant properly and then to think about Formula 1.”
“For the moment, I have no direct information from the Prime Minister regarding his desire to carry out a reshuffle. The current governing formula which is based on a PSD-ALDE coalition was the topic of a protocol agreed and approved by the two parties in December 2016, after the elections. The current governing formula is the product of this agreement. Consequently, (…) if this is wanted, I’m 100 percent convinced the Premier can come up and say it in a coalition meeting, for us to discuss – at an informal level at first – the desire, the intentions, and the solutions,” ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated when asked whether he backs the reshuffle proposed by Premier Tudose.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated that “it’s good to first learn to drive the Trabant properly and then to think about Formula 1,” against the backdrop of leaked information according to which Mihai Tudose allegedly stated, during PSD’s Executive Committee meeting, that he cannot take part in Formula 1 with a Trabant.
“I see that various comments are being made about how the Government should look like so that it wouldn’t perform like a Trabant and would instead perform like a Formula 1 car. I for one, as someone who knows something about cars, believe it’s good to first learn to drive the Trabant properly and then to think about Formula 1. Until you drive the Trabant properly there’s no point talking about Formula 1,” Tariceanu said.
“Military acquisition should be on the coalition’s agenda; I don’t want us to discuss trifles”
ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Tuesday that the procurement of defence equipment should be on the agenda of the PSD-ALDE coalition, instead of “trifles,” adding that he will propose the Government that such procurements should no longer take place without considering an offset of 80 percent.
“I don’t know what will be on the agenda of the National Executive Committee (PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting scheduled at the end of January – editor’s note), but I’ll tell you that I still believe that our agenda of concern is different,” ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated when asked whether the Premier should talk with the members of ALDE before PSD’s ExCom meeting where the Government reshuffle will be tackled.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu has criticised the haste with which defence equipment was purchased in 2017.
“Some acquisitions of military equipment were rapidly agreed. I believe these acquisitions were agreed first by the President of Romania, after which Parliament had to offer its legal support and the Defence Minister, namely the Government, had to operationalise these decisions. For Romania these acquisitions are necessary to ensure the country’s defence and security, but they are extremely expensive. (…) We profit from the standpoint of security, undoubtedly, but not economically,” Tariceanu said.
The leader of ALDE stated that he will propose the Government and his coalition partners that such procurements should no longer take place without considering an offset in a percentage as high as possible, “probably close to 80 percent.”
“For 2018, I will propose the Government and the coalition partners that such acquisitions should no longer be made without taking into account an offset in a percentage as high as possible, probably close to 80 percent, so that both we and the Romanian economy would profit, so that it would create jobs, transfer of technology in the Romanian economy, we would integrate in the defence industry this system which seems to be a very profitable one but one from which we do not profit economically at all. We profit from the standpoint of security, undoubtedly, but not economically,” the leader of ALDE added.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu claimed that the topic of military procurement should be included on the agenda of the ruling coalition.
“These are the serious things I want to tackle and – I don’t want to offend anyone – I don’t want us to tackle trifles like this: what will they do, when will they discuss, when will the NatExCom take place. We have far more important things to decide than things that – it seems to me – have to do with ambitions, maybe vainglory too,” Tariceanu said.
“Constitution revision should not be just for checking a box”
Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu considers that Romania’s constitutional system has a “major flaw – the overlapping of the government’s and the President’s executive powers” and a tentative revision of the fundamental law needs the “support” of all political forces.
“Before we get so far as to organizing a referendum, we must agree to embark on revising the Constitution. I want this to be the outcome of a consensus among political forces, because the revision of the Constitution must first be approved by Parliament and then posed for referendum, and anyway in Parliament we need two thirds. (…) From my point of view, the amendment of the Constitution should not be the result of the exclusive will of the majority but requires a broader support, consensus if possible. Consensus implies everybody’s coming to terms,” Tariceanu said on Tuesday in the Senate, arguing that agreement should be sought on the directions, subjects and fundamental elements that need to be discussed.
“At the very best, all I have seen among political parties with regard to the revision of the Constitution was just a signal. (…) In the time of the Social Liberal Union (USL), after the 2012 elections, there has even been a Committee on the Constitution’s revision, but its activity was snagged for several reasons. I think many realise our constitutional system has a major flaw – the overlapping of the government’s and the President’s executive powers. We’ll have to agree on whether we revise the Constitution, not for the sake of just checking a box, but for sorting out the inherent issues of the Constitution that have been showing us for almost 20 years now the flawed way the institutions operate and what we need to correct,” Tariceanu said.
“Slight inflation of 1.5 – 2% is beneficial for economic growth”
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu considers that a slight inflation of 1.5-2% is beneficial for economic growth and that the National Bank of Romania (BNR) decision to increase the monetary policy rate “is not currently an element of concern.”
“Japan has struggled for years to put the economy on the inflation. A slight inflation of 1.5-2% is beneficial for economic growth. I do not think we are in danger of having an inflation rate to go beyond the European average and to affect the operation of the economy, and not only the functioning of the economy, but also affecting personal incomes. There are provisions related to indexing certain obligations of the state and of the Government to citizens function of the inflation rate and this works very well. So the Romanian economy is an economy that has a very good growth performance, an increase that could be based (…) to the greatest extent on investments. The same was said also by the National Bank. I support this idea and I believe that the Romanian economy will continue this positive and ascending trend in the coming years too. I do not see currently an element of concern regarding the interest rate increase decided by the National Bank,” Tariceanu said on Tuesday at the Senate.
The Board of the National Bank of Romania decided to increase the monetary policy interest rate to 2% per annum from 1.75% per year, on January 9, BNR informed on Monday.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu meets Niculae Badalau, PSD’s number-two man, at the Senate
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu and PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau met at the Senate on Tuesday, the meeting taking place after Badalau also met Premier Mihai Tudose at the Victora Palace on Tuesday morning.
ALDE replies to PM on Gov’t reshuffle issue. What are PSD’s coalition partner’s requests for the four ministries it controls
Several ALDE MPs stated on Tuesday, for MEDIAFAX, that the party led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu wants to keep its current ministries in case Premier Mihai Tudose’s proposed Government reshuffle takes place.
“This – ALDE ceding a ministry – was out of the question. We are now talking about what was rumoured in the public space. We don’t have a request from the Premier on this topic. In my opinion – but we’ve had no meeting within the party’s leadership bodies –, ALDE wants to keep the four ministries,” said Marian Cucsa, the deputy leader of ALDE’s group in the Lower House.
ALDE’s House member added that Premier Mihai Tudose’s proposal concerning a Government reshuffle should be discussed within the two parties’ leadership bodies.
“Firstly, what pertains to the coalition must be discussed within the coalition. If Mr Tudose came up with a proposal in this sense, it must be debated within the two parties’ leadership bodies. ALDE wants political and governmental stability. If it’s more efficient to have a leaner Government structure, we can agree on that, but we must see what this entails and there should be pragmatic discussions on concrete proposals, not just news and topics thrown into the public space. Let him come within the leadership bodies, the ones that validated the Government, and discuss any proposal in this sense,” Cucsa said.
Likewise, Ion Hadarca, deputy leader of ALDE’s group in the Senate, stated for MEDIAFAX that a reduction in the number of ministries would be called for.
“Things are still being discussed. It’s a proposal, an idea, I know the Government reshuffle has been discussed and will probably still be discussed. Maybe certain changes will be made, partially. My opinion is that, structurally, the Government is a bit too large. I believe a reduction in the number of ministries would be called for,” Hadarca said.
In what concerns ALDE ceding a ministry, the Senator claimed that the party has four ministries in line with the protocol of the Governing Coalition, dated December 2016. “These conditions must be observed,” Hadarca added.
In his turn, Senator Scarlat Iriza supports Tudose’s proposal. “In my opinion, indeed, the Government is a bit bulky compared to other years and some reshuffling should be made, because there are too many ministries. A reshuffling carried out realistically, including within agencies, is welcome,” the ALDE Senator stated for MEDIAFAX.
Asked whether ALDE would be willing to cede a ministry, Scarlat Iriza answered negatively. “We don’t have that many, we have four ministries,” the ALDE Senator added.
Premier Mihai Tudose stated on Monday, after the Executive Committee meeting, that he launched the idea of a Government reshuffle, but he will discuss it in detail at the meeting scheduled at the end of the month in Iasi. In his turn, Liviu Dragnea stated that the next Executive Committee meeting will take place in Iasi, on January 29-31, and the Government reshuffle remains a topic of discussion, but that in this case talks with the ALDE leaders are needed because the reshuffle would be followed by a vote in Parliament.