POLITICS

PSD’ Executive Committee covenes at Parliament Palace to discuss the draft budget for 2019. Dragnea asks PM Dancila, FinMin Teodorovici analyse money allocated to secret services in draft budget. PM Dancila endorses a relocation of budget funds from services to healthcare

The Social Democrats convened on Sunday, at the Palace of Parliament, the party’s first Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting this year, in order to present the 2019 budget, to establish their political priorities, and to appoint the interim leadership of PSD Braila following Mihai Tudose’s defection to Pro Romania.

Also on Sunday, after the ExCom meeting, PSD’s parliamentary groups met to establish their representatives within the Standing Bureaus of the House and Senate, and to nominate members of Parliament’s special committees. The decisions regarding the Standing Bureaus also come against the backdrop in which Georgian Pop, who was Secretary of the Standing Bureau of the House, recently announced his decision to resign from the PSD and join Pro Romania.

Premier Viorica Dancila, who is also PSD Executive President, and Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici also took part in the ExCom meeting.

 

Dragnea after talks with Dancila: I’ve asked them to analyse the possibility of lowering the sums for secret services. I believe they can be relocated to healthcare

 

PSD President Liviu Dragnea was angered by the journalists’ questions on Sunday, following the party’s two-hour Executive Committee meeting. He only gave a brief statement in which he said he wants the budgets of intelligence services cut, adding that if the Government does not do that then the Parliament will.

SocDem national leader stated that he asked Prime minister Viorica Dancila and the Finance minister Eugen Teodorovici to analyse the money allocated in the draft budget for the secret services and re-allocate sums from there to the Health care.

“I believe that important amounts of money from here (secret services, ed. n.) could be allocated to the Health care, for instance. I think that a programme of free sharing of vitamin D to all the children in Romania is also a national security programme, a programme for diabetes. And Mrs. prime minister said that together with the Finance minister will analyse. If in the gov’t they could make this change, I for sure will make it in the Parliament, with amendments,” Dragnea said at the end of the reunion of the National Executive Committee of the PSD.

Asked whether the Supreme Defence Council’s endorsement is needed to implement this change, the PSD President answered sarcastically: “Does it mean Iohannis’s endorsement is needed for life too?” Asked whether this means that the SDC’s endorsement will no longer be requested, the PSD President replied: “Parliament does not ask for an endorsement from anyone.”

“It was only one question. If you want us to meet after the House too (where he was set to meet PSD’s House lawmakers – editor’s note) and to start the year on the right foot, fine; if not, goodbye,” Liviu Dragnea told journalists.

This was Liviu Dragnea’s first public appearance since the end of last year. Dragnea made no statements before the meeting.

The budgets of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), Protection and Guard Service (SPP) and Special Telecommunications Service (STS) register year-on-year hikes ranging from 4.8 to 69 percent according to the budget bill.

According to the bill, SRI has a budget of RON 2.4 billion, up by 4.8 percent year-on-ear; STS has a budget of RON 604 million, up by 69 percent; SPP has a budget of RON 233 million, up by 20 percent; SIE has budget of RON 309 million, up by 8.5 percent.

Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici stated on Saturday, for Digi24, that the budget bill will be approved by the Government on Tuesday and sent to Parliament on the same day. Teodorovici claims that it is “a revolutionary budget” and informs that the main credit authorities will have to have each expenditure approved by the Finance Minister and will be fined if they do not comply.

Before the meeting, House Deputy Speaker Florin Iordache stated for MEDIAFAX that the budget bill for 2019 will also be presented, a bill that will be adopted by the Government on Tuesday and will then enter the parliamentary procedure. The Social Democrats pointed out that it is too early to talk about the elections.

“The party will adopt political decisions, depending on how we will position ourselves in the future. Where there were problems in certain branches, for example in Braila, where Tudose left, interim leaderships will be appointed. At the ExCom we will discuss issues pertaining to the party, to organisation, to efficiency, and at the groups we will discuss the legislative priorities. There are several committees where we don’t have chairmen, deputy chairmen and so forth. Organisational issues. It’s normal to make nominations for the Standing Bureau within both the House and the Senate, additions to the committees. The projected budget that will enter the parliamentary debate next week, after the Government adopts it on Tuesday, will also be presented at the ExCom,” Florin Iordache stated on Saturday for MEDIAFAX.

Former European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu stated on Saturday, for MEDIAFAX, that the 2019 budget will be a topic that will be tackled at PSD’s ExCom meeting. He pointed out that there must be dialogue between all ExCom members, and in case the Social Democrats engage in discussions between grouplets then “those responsible must take responsibility.”

“PSD’s ExCom will discuss the budget. A very important topic for Romania’s future. The best solutions must be found so that local authorities would be satisfied. Last but not least, the budget for investments must be raised by continuing the hiking of revenues. We need a realistic budget in relation to the governing programme. I’m convinced that through dialogue we will find the best solutions, as a team. We all have to get involved. If we stake on discussions between grouplets, then those responsible should take responsibility,” Victor Negrescu stated.

Regarding the recent resignations from the PSD, Negrescu considers that “we must go beyond personal stakes and reunify the Romanian left wing.”

“I hope that the PSD will issue a message of unity in the current political context and the context of the departures from the party. We must go beyond personal stakes and reunify the Romanian left wing. The PSD is the largest party in Romania, and it must undertake this responsibility unless it wants the erosion to continue. However, I believe we can discuss these things within the party, and I believe we must devise a new strategy for the Social Democratic Party,” the Social Democrat concluded.

 

Codrin Stefanescu on defections from PSD: These days we too will transfer other MPs

 

PSD Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated on Saturday, referring to the resignations registered last week, that the party is set to transfer other parliamentarians in the following days, pointing out that these defections cannot bring to its knees “a party that belongs to Romanians.”

“Regarding these departures, meaning those who signed the letter, we assumed, and we knew and suspected and were ready for these departures. That is why two days ago we in fact announced that the establishment, which is ordering these departures and is creating all sorts of parties – from the USR to the PMP, so on and so forth –, cannot bring to its knees a party that belongs to Romanians and that party is the PSD. We too are ready. We too will transfer other parliamentarians these days, parliamentarians who are fed up with this Securitate-Basescu style in which other political parties are being led, and we will strengthen the PSD’s parliamentary groups,” Codrin Stefanescu stated for RomaniaTV.

Last week, several Social Democrats resigned from the PSD and joined Pro Romania.

The most recent announcement was made on Saturday by Adrian Pau, House lawmaker representing Timis County, who said he will join Pro Romania because he no longer “finds his bearings” in the party led by Liviu Dragnea.

Likewise, ex-Premier Mihai Tudose announced on Tuesday, on Facebook, that he will join Victor Ponta’s party. House lawmaker Georgian Pop announced on Thursday that he will leave the PSD and join Pro Romania. Pop was Secretary of the Standing Bureau of the House.

House lawmakers Oana Silvia Vladuca and Corina Bogaciu also joined Pro Romania, Bogaciu resigning from the PSD last November. Last but not least, Senator Adrian Tutuianu also joined Pro Romania after he was excluded from the PSD in 2018.

 

Negoita announces Oprisan proposed him to be excluded from PSD: It wasn’t subject to any voting

 

3rd District Mayor, Robert Negoita, announced that the PSD Vrancea leader Marian Oprisan proposed his exclusion from the party at the meeting of the Executive Committee, but the proposal wasn’t subject to any voting.

Asked on Sunday at the parliament if Marian Oprisan proposed his exclusion from PSD at the meeting of the Executive Committee, Robert Negoita answered: “He proposed my exclusion from the party. It wasn’t subject to any voting. Yes, something like this”.

3rd District Mayor, Robert Negoita, was very vocal regarding the amounts allocated to the local administrations in the draft budget for this year. He stated on Sunday, before the CEx meeting, that huge amounts of money have been cut and a large part of the municipalities cannot bear the expenses, stressing that the 2019 draft budget doesn’t observe the governing program, and this is why he wants Liviu Dragnea to talk to the district mayors, too.

In addition, Bucharest General Mayor Gabriela Firea sent a letter to the Bucharest people, announcing that 25% of the municipality’s budget, which means EUR 180 million, is cut by the draft of the 2019 budget, and stressing that this is the proof that Liviu Dragnea hates the citizens. Firea asked Tariceanu not to let himself be lied by sketches.  (read here)

 

“Dragnea promised to me that he will meet the Association of Municipalities on Tuesday or Wednesday”

 

After the PSD CEx meeting in which the 2019 draft budget was presented, the 3rd District Mayor, Robert Negoita, stated that Liviu Dragnea promised to him that he will attend a debate of the Association of Municipalities on Tuesday or Wednesday, amid the dissatisfaction of the mayors about the allocated amounts of money.

“What I can tell you is that I had a discussion, Mr. Dragnea promised me he will meet the Association of Municipalities on Tuesday or Wednesday. He told me that he has to have a view on the budget until tomorrow evening, and also because we talked about certain wrong issues at the meeting (…), and after the situation will be clear, on Tuesday or Wednesday, there will be a meeting with all the colleagues in the Association of Municipalities”, Robert Negoita stated on Sunday, at the end of the PSD CEx meeting held at Parliament.

Asked if there is any possibility to postpone the adoption of the 2019 draft budget, which was expected to take place on Tuesday, due to this meeting, Robert Negoita said he doesn’t know.

Mayor Robert Negoita stated on Sunday, before the CEx meeting, that huge amounts of money have been cut from the budget and a large part of the municipalities cannot bear the expenses, stressing that the 2019 draft budget doesn’t observe the governing program, and this is why he wants Liviu Dragnea to talk to the district mayors, too.

The mayors of the municipalities in the country, gathered at the Romanian Association of Municipalities (AMR) on Wednesday, which is led by the 3rd District Mayor Robert Negoita, discussed with PM Viorica Dancila at the Victoria Palace, before the Government’s meeting. The mayors asked the Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici to allocate a percentage of 30% of the national budget to the local administration, given that they claim they are currently receiving less than 20%.

 

Draft budget 2019: 5.5pct economic growth, 2.8pct annual average inflation, 2.55pct cash deficit

 

The state budget for 2019 is built on a 1.02 billion lei gross domestic product representing a 5.5pct economic growth against 2018, a 2.8pct annual average inflation and an estimated 2.55pct budget deficit of the GDP (cash) and a 2.57pct of the GDP (ESA), according to data released on Thursday night by the Public Finance Ministry (MFP).

In 2018, the GDP saw 949.6 billion lei, according to MFP data, representing a 4.5pct increase against 2017, and the annual average inflation parked at 4.63pct.

Unemployment rate will slightly dip in 2019 to 3.2pct from 3.31pct in 2018, meaning that at end- 2019 the number of the unemployed will count for 287k people.

The net average income grows to 3,085 lei in 2019, from 2,685 lei in 2018, and the average number of the employees is estimated to go up to 6.655 million people, from 6.525 million people in 2018.

The revenues of the consolidated general budget for 2019 are projected at 341.4 billion lei, respectively 33.4pct of the GDP. According to estimates, the largest revenues are foreseen for the social insurance contributions – 11.5pct of the GDP, a 6.8pct VAT collection, excises – 3pct of the GDP, taxes on income and pay – 2.3pct of the GDP.

The spending of the consolidated general budget for 2019 is estimated at 367.5 billion lei, representing 35.9pct of the GDP. The largest share in the GDP is represented by the social care spending – estimated at 109.8 billion lei, respectively 10.7pct of the GDP (the same share as in 2018) and the staff spending – amounting to 102.5 billion lei (10pct of the GDP), yet on the medium term (2019 – 2021) a dropping trajectory of their share in the GDP is forecast. The spending with the goods and services are estimated at 46.5 billion lei (4.5pct of the GDP), up by 1.8 billion lei against 2018. Out of this increase, 1.5 billion lei is the budget of the National Single Fund of the Social Health Insurance.

According to the MFP, the main targets of the state budget for 2019 are the backing of the public investment, the education and health.

The spending with the investment are forecast at 46.8 billion lei (4.57pct of the GDP), up by 12.5 billion against 2018.

The expenditure with the public debt interest rates, estimated at 13.5 billion lei, see a smaller share in the GDP, of 1.3pct for 2019 vs 1.4pct in 2018.

The Health care is added rd 5 billion lei vs 2018, which means a 12pct growth.

The Education receives in addition to the share of 2018 some 9.8 billion lei, meaning a 47pct up.

The state budget for 2019 has also covered a 2pct of the GDP allocation for the Defence sector, as assumed by Romania to their NATO partners.

“The necessary amounts of money were ensured for the pensions’ increase by 15pct starting with September 2019, which is a 6.5 billion lei in addition to the state security budget.

For the support of the business milieu, the state budget for 2019 includes a series of commitment loans for several programmes.

 

PM Dancila endorses a relocation of budget funds from services to healthcare

 

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila endorses a relocation of budget funds from services to healthcare.

“We have three priority areas in which we want to make important steps: healthcare, education and public investment. Our budget will reflect these priorities and we will try to bring to the three areas as much positive elements as possible,” Dancila stated on Sunday after the meeting of the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) the National Executive Committee (CExN).

When asked if an opinion of Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) is needed in this case, she responded that this decision hasn’t yet been made.

“We will discuss it now,” Dancila added.

In his turn, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici showed that on Sunday evening an analysis will be carried out regarding the relocation of budget funds from services to healthcare.

“This evening, we will make this analysis after the discussion in the CEx meeting and, tomorrow morning, we will have the exact figure and the final version to enter Tuesday in the Government,” Teodorovici explained.

The Prime Minister also said that all the efforts would be made so that the draft project be adopted on Tuesday.

Viorica Dancila was asked also about the mayors’ requests.

“Some of the statements are real and where we have real observations we will regulate, some of them are in an electoral spirit and we have no reason to respect those,” the PM stated.

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