In an open letter to Premier Viorica Dancila, Chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Ludovic Orban announced that Senator Florin Citu had been designated to represent the Liberals in the government’s working group on the switchover to the euro, yet only for a six-month term, stating that he expects the government to come up with a credible plan of measures by then.
“I was surprised to receive your invitation to designate a representative of the National Liberal Party to the working group of the Government of Romania tasked with the adoption of the euro currency. Joining the eurozone is a fundamental goal of the National Liberal Party, but looking at what you have done so far and at the convergence criteria set under the Maastricht Treaty, we see that you and the government you are heading do not pursue this goal and your move today is purely propagandistic,” the PNL leader wrote.
Orban refers to particular results and developments in the Romanian economy which, he says, cast a shadow on the credibility of the Prime Minister’s approach, pointing out that according to the latest report released by the National Bank, Romania’s projected inflation rate is estimated at about 4.5 percent (the annual average for 2018) and that with this inflation rate Romania no longer complies with the Treaty of the European Union.
The Liberal leader also says that, considering that in the first two months of the year the deficit has been 0.59 percent of GDP, there is a high risk that Romania falls short of the Treaty requirement that the deficit should stay below 3 percent of GDP.
The PNL Chairman also said that the EU Treaty requires convergence reports to look at a sustainable, high convergence degree, mentioning the “achievement of a high degree of price sustainability”, “the sustainability of the government’s financial position”, “keeping the exchange rate within the ERM2 normal fluctuation corridor,” and “long-term interest rates.” Orban underscored that “given the unpredictable character of the government’s economic policies, sustainability won’t be achieved.”
“Despite that, given that the National Liberal Party considers the accession to the eurozone is a priority for Romania, we will delegate a representative in the person of Mr. Florin Citu, PNL Vice-Chairman for economy and head of the Senate’s Economic Committee. However, please be informed that Mr. Florin Citu’s mandate will be limited to a maximum of 6 months, during which we expect the government to table a plan of credible measures for the timely correction of the wrong tendencies that lead us away from the accession goal, and capable of increasing our chances to join the eurozone,” Orban said.
He calls on the government to more intensely focus on investment spending, resume reform in the sector of state-owned companies and appoint at the helm thereof professional managers that earned the market’s validation, reduce the state’s interference with the economy by halting the creation of new public companies, a form of intervention that has constantly proven inefficient in the past twenty-eight years.
In the letter Orban also asks for the halt of the establishment of the Sovereign Investment Fund, which by its very nature cannot be shielded from political interference and inside spreading of corruption; the immediate abandonment of the anti-European rhetoric of many of the leaders of the current PSD-ALDE ruling coalition, which seriously harms the process of joining the eurozone; the stop of PSD’s permanent aggression against the business environment, the financial-banking sector, Romania-based companies running on foreign capital and all the companies in general, and calls for a plan to be carried out proving a real desire to strengthen the capacity to absorb European funds, as a key element for speeding up real convergence. In addition, in the context of European debates regarding the conditioning of EU funding on support to the rule of law, Orban urges attacks on the judiciary to stop and advocates support for the fight against corruption, which will increase Romania’s chances to further get substantial EU allocations, particularly in the new post-Brexit context.