Chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea and Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici participated on Wednesday at the meeting of the Association of Romania’s Municipalities.
Last week, the Association categorically rejected the proposals of the Ministry of Public Finance that certain categories of devolved expenditures be transferred to the local budgets, and asked the Executive to fully commit to the state budget expenditures related to the protection of children and disabled persons, as per the governing program.
On February 3, after the meeting of the PSD National Executive Committee, president of the Association of Romania’s Municipalities Robert Negoita announced that the Social Democrat leader had promised him that he will meet with members of the Association to discuss the 2019 draft budget.
This week, the leaders of the ruling coalition sat down every day with the Finance Minister for talks on this year’s budget blueprint.
President of the Senate Calin Popescu-Tariceanu came to Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Liviu Dragnea’s office on Wednesday morning for a new meeting of the ruling coalition on the 2019 state budget topic.
Subsequently, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Deputy Varujan Vosganian also arrived at Dragnea’s office.
Also invited to attend the discussions were representatives of Transport Ministry and Romania’s Association of Municipalities as well as representatives of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) .
The leaders of the ruling coalition also carried out talks on Monday and Tuesday on the same topic, namely the 2019 state budget.
Mainly discussed was the issue of budget earmarks for local communities, in the context in which, last week, the Association of Municipalities of Romania categorically denied the proposals of the Public Finance Ministry regarding the full takeover of certain categories of decentralised expenditures and requested the Executive to assume entirely, from the state budget, the expenses related to child protection and the protection of persons with disabilities, according to the governing programme.
SocDem’s Dragnea says mayoralties to have at least budget amounts of 2018
The local administrations will have as incomes on 2019 at least at the level of 2018, on Wednesday said the Social Democrats’ leader Liviu Dragnea, at the end of a meeting with the representatives of the Municipalities’ Associations in Romania.
According to him, the funds allocated at national level for the local administrations will record in 2019 a 27pct growth.
“In the talks I had with the Gov’t’s representatives in the past days and with other colleagues in the Parliament, with president Tariceanu (leader of the co-ruling Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, ed. n.) I have been reassured by the Gov’t that the local administrations will have at least the budgets they had in 2018 and a great deal of the mayoralties will have even higher incomes, in addition with the spending included from the payment of the caretakers of the disabled persons, and as for the counties and the communes, the incomes will be substantially higher. It is a 27pct increase all in all for the local administration from quotas broken from the income tax and from the VAT, to come to the local administration compared to the previous years,” Liviu Dragnea asserted.
According to the PSD leader, the broken quota from the income tax for the local administrations will grow to 60pct and gave assurances that the Gov’t will allocate funds for all mayoralties or county councils that could not cover their spending.
Mayor Firea: Bucharesters’ budget, decided “behind closed doors,” lower by 180mln euros
The budget proposed for the City Hall through the draft posted on the website of the Ministry of Finance is reduced by about 180 million euros, the fate of Bucharesters being decided “behind closed doors”, General Mayor Gabriela Firea said on Wednesday before the meeting of the Romanian Municipal Associations.
“So far, I have not been officially invited to any meeting. Practically, the fate of Bucharesters was decided behind closed doors by some people who did not have the legal right to say their opinion about the capital’s budget,” she said.
According to Gabriela Firea, the draft budget under debate entails “a cut of almost 180 million euros, roughly 25% of the budget, which will greatly affect all public services in the capital” – public transport, district heating, lighting, water supply, sanitation, hospitals and social protection.
She mentioned that the budgets of the sectors had been increased, but, in her opinion, these cannot offset the cutting at the central level.
She added that the City Hall has no surplus last year and is up to date with all the payments.
“By the new budget paradigm or philosophy that the ministry has created for the first time and which cuts such a large amount to the City Hall, several laws are violated,” Gabriela Firea said, adding that she would present materials supporting this claim, including at the Government and the Parliament.
6th District Mayor accuses Gabriela Firea of lying: She was called for discussions on the budget
Gabriel Mutu says the District Mayors and the General Mayor were called by the Finance Minister on January 30 to discuss on the budget, and Gabriela Firea is lying when stating she was not invited. Mutu says he has the messages which confirm the invitation and he doesn’t want to be forced to make them public.
“Both the General Mayor and my colleagues who are the Mayors of the Bucharest Municipality districts were invited at the meeting with the Finance Minister on January 30, 2019, on the budget. I have personally sent to her the message with the invitation and the proposed theme, one day before, as well as a reminder in the morning of the day set for this meeting. The fact that all the other mayors were there, while the General Mayor is lying today, saying that she didn’t receive this invitation, shows the lack of a real interest for the applied discussions on the budget and on redistributing the revenues to the Bucharest people. I don’t want to be forced to publish the evidence of sending these messages, but they exist and support my statements”, the 6th District Mayor Gabriel Mutu wrote on Facebook.
The clarifications came after General Mayor Gabriela Firea stated on Wednesday that she has no reason to resign and claims that she had no meeting on the budget until now, and the decision were made behind the closed doors.
.A member of the Opposition accuses Firea of “climbing” the mayors’ scandal
National Liberal Party (PNL) Spokesman Ionel Danca stated on Wednesday on Facebook that Gabriela Firea has “slum nerve”, since the Bucharest Municipality had the highest budget in the country in the last two years, and now the Mayor “has climbed the mayors’ scandal” related to the local budgets.
“Firea has a lot of slum nerve! She climbed the mayors’ scandal related to the local budgets, in the circumstances in which the Bucharest Municipality had the highest budget in the country and did nothing for Bucharest in the last two years. You must have a lot of nerve and be Firea, to be able to come after two years of your mandate, in the circumstance in which you had money, and say you couldn’t do anything to unblock road traffic, modernize public transport, anything for the Capital’s Ring Road, for rehabilitating the RADET network, building the metropolitan hospital or endowing and sanitizing Bucharest’s hospitals, because of PSD, of which you are a member, and because of your own Government”, Ionel Danca wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
The Liberal claims that Gabriela Firea wants to be excluded from PSD and blame Liviu Dragnea for the unfulfilled promises related to Bucharest.
“Firea is a fake mayor for Bucharest and has nothing to do with the city’s management, same as the fake Italian physician who was nothing to do with medicine. Sooner or later, Firea will also be caught she lied. Firea wants to be excluded from PSD and blame Dragnea and PSD for all her failures in Bucharest. But regardless of how much Firea tries to get away from Dragnea and PSD, they are equally scammers. It’s the Firea (e.n. – nature) of PSD to lie, deceive people, steal public money and blame others”, Danca added.