After the Government adopted the 2019 budget last Friday, Parliament’s leadership approved on Saturday the timetable of its debate on the state budget for 2019. The amendments will be tabled until Monday at noon, and the final vote is scheduled on Friday.
According to the timetable of the debate and adoption of the state budget for 2019, approved during the meeting of the House and Senate’s Joint Standing Bureaus, parliamentarians will be able to table amendments until Monday at noon, and the amendments will be centralised by 2 p.m. the same day.
Parliament’s special committees will issue their reports starting on Monday at 3 p.m.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House and Senate’s Budget-Finances Committees will draft the reports that will be tabled within the Joint Standing Bureaus on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The joint meeting of the two Chambers of the Legislative, focusing on debating and adopting the budget bill for 2019, will start on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The final vote is scheduled on Friday, February 15.
According to the Regulations of the joint meetings of the two Chambers, the state budget and the state social insurances budget are adopted by the majority of House and Senate lawmakers present.
Afterward, the two bills are set to be promulgated by President Klaus Iohannis.
After the Government meeting last Friday, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici presented the budget bill approved by the Government, which entails an economic growth of 5.5 percent, an average gross salary of RON 5,163, a budget deficit of 2.55 percent – on a downward trend –, and the attainment of a number of 5.282 million employees.
Subsequently, the Finance Ministry (MFP) published on Friday evening, around 10 p.m., a new budget bill featuring a budget deficit higher by RON 1.3 billion compared to the initial version published on January 31.
“The state budget features RON 164,543.4 million in revenues, and RON 258,735.1 million in commitment appropriations and RON 200,700.2 million in budget appropriations, namely a deficit of RON 36,156.8 million,” reads the budget bill published on Friday evening, February 8, on the MFP website.
On the other hand, in the budget bill published on January 31, revenues totalled RON 164,727.9 million, while expenditures totalled RON 254,115.1 million in commitment appropriations and RON 199,584.7 million in budget appropriations, resulting a deficit of RON 34,856.8 million.
Thus, the deficit has been hiked by RON 1.3 billion, revenues have been lowered by RON 184.5 million, and expenditures have been hiked by RON 4.62 billion in the case of commitment appropriations and by RON 1.1155 billion in the case of budget appropriations.
On the other hand, at the brief presentation, MFP representatives claimed that the deficit will remain stable at RON 26.118 billion, namely 2.55 percent of GDP, if the estimated GDP remains unchanged at RON 1,022.47 billion.
More precisely, new budget revenues are estimated at RON 342.675 billion, namely 33.51 percent of GDP, in contrast to the previous RON 341.51 billion (33.4 percent of GDP), representing a growth of RON 1.165 billion. New expenditures are estimated at RON 368.793 billion, representing 36.07 percent of GDP, in contrast to RON 367.628 billion (35.95 percent of GDP) previously, namely a hike of RON 1.165 billion.
Raluca Turcan: The budget has been transmitted within an unconstitutional framework. Gov’t deliberately infringes upon the Constitution in order to gain time
After the 2019 budget bill was tabled in Parliament and the timetable of the five-day debate was established, Parliamentarian Raluca Turcan (PNL) stated that the bill has been transmitted within an unconstitutional framework and accused the Government of deliberately infringing upon the Constitution in order to gain time.
“Let it be very clear! The PNL wants the country to have an adopted budget as urgently as possible. But a constitutionally-adopted budget. Debated and amended in view of Romania’s development needs. Unfortunately, the budget has been transmitted within an unconstitutional framework. PNL has credible information that the Government is deliberately infringing upon the Constitution in order to gain time for the expenditures it must cover. The city halls’ investments are compromised in 2019. The expenditures that the Government put on their lap last year will have to be covered!” Raluca Turcan claims.
In her opinion, the 2019 state budget bill must necessarily meet several conditions of legality and constitutionality.
According to Turcan, the state budget effectively enters debate when Parliament adopts the law approving the capping of certain indicators specified in the fiscal-budgetary framework for 2019.
“It is the law on whose basis the whole budget is built, and it contains the limits regarding the budget deficit, public debt, expenditures on personnel and all other budget parameters. It is the mainstay law on which the budget is built and it’s not yet the rule,” Raluca Turcan points out.
Another condition for the state budget bill is the amendment of Law no.273/2006 on local public finances so that income tax revenues can be legally allocated, in their entirety, to local public administrations.
“Because the budget has come 3 months late, it is necessary to make waivers from Law no.69/2010 on fiscal-budgetary responsibility. Under Article 26, this law clearly stipulates that “By July 31 each year, the Finance Ministry will forward to the Government the fiscal-budgetary strategy for the next 3 years… and the bill adopting the limits specified within the fiscal-budgetary framework… and the limits are mandatory for the next 2 budgetary years,” the Liberal MP points out.
“These are the constitutional steps that the PSD must MANDATORILY go through. Otherwise, it is a direct invitation to notify the CCR [Constitutional Court of Romania] and a consistent reason for the PSD to blame some imaginary enemies for its poor governance,” Turcan says.
The PNL proposes the urgent adoption of the law on budgetary caps, of the amendments to Law no.273/2006 on local public finances and of the waivers from Law no.69 on fiscal-budgetary responsibility.
“If PSD-ALDE does not go through these stages, I publicly warn that anyone has the possibility to turn to the CCR in what concerns the legality and constitutionality of the adoption of the budget. The PNL is not the enemy that the PSD has invented. They are the only ones guilty for the fact that even today the country does not have an approved budget. They are guilty for the financial blockage,” Raluca Turcan said.
USR: Deficit included in the budget bill tabled in Parliament higher by RON 1.3 billion compared to the one presented one week ago
The Save Romania Union (USR) claims that the deficit included in the 2019 budget bill tabled in Parliament is higher by RON 1.3 billion compared to the one presented one week ago, the conclusion being that “there are false figures in the budget.”
“In the first bill, the deficit was RON 1.3 billion lower than it is in the bill sent today to Parliament. How is it possible for the figures to change so much in one week? Simple, because there are false figures in the budget. A false economic growth, a false deficit, a false absorption of European grants, a false rate of collection,” the USR claims.
The USR’s conclusion is that “we will be RON 36,156.8 million in the red” and that “the PSD is hiking our national debt year by year.”
PRO Romania’s call to UDMR: Have the courage not to vote the lying budget of the PSD-ALDE coalition!
PRO Romania has made a call to the Democrat Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), asking the parliamentarians of this party to have the courage not to vote “the lying budget of the PSD-ALDE coalition” and warned that if the budget will be approved by the Parliament in its current form, the entire country, including the Hungarian community, will know that it was approved only with UDMR’s vote.
“The PSD-ALDE coalition presented the 2019 budget with a three-month delay, questioning the stability of the economy and the ability of the Government to honour all the promises made in the last year. We appreciate that the 2019 budget is not a realistic one, it’s a budget that does not have anything to do with investments, but it’s a budget built in order to blackmail the mayors in an electoral year. The PSD-ALDE promises made under a desperate wish to change people’s perception on a governing that is going to fail have not any coverage in the budget. The promised money doesn’t exist, the promised investments will never be made” reads the call addressed to the UDMR Chairman Kelemen Hunor and to the UDMR group leaders and signed by the Pro Romania Prime Vice President Daniel Constantin.
Pro Romania informs UDMR that the latter supports in Parliament “a governing coalition that has departed fundamentally from the original purpose it announced in 2016”, announcing that today, the PSD-ALDE coalition has lost its majority in the Deputies’ Chamber, due to the parliamentarians who left the two parties.
“At the same time, we ask you to publicly dissociate yourself from the PSD-ALDE coalition and the Government imposed by this coalition. There are people having a wide experience within the Union, some of them being in the first line of the political stage for almost 30 years. They can confirm that there was never such a poorly trained Government and ministers not having anything to do with the areas they rule. The myth of the PSD specialists broke down when the current leadership took the entire power”, Pro Romania explains.
The Chairman of the Union Kelemen Hunor is informed that although the Hungarian minority is important, the counties in which it has a majority and where the local public administration comes from UDMR are on the list of the poor Romanian counties.
“Unfortunately, UDMR’s support for the PSD-ALDE coalition hasn’t brought welfare for the counties administered by mayors and county council chairmen belonging to your Union”, Daniel Constantin wrote.
“Dear colleagues, it’s time for you to dissociate from PSD and ALDE, from Dragnea and Tariceanu. Neither Romanians nor Hungarians in Romania have a good life under this lying governing. Have the courage to ask for a fair budget for the development of both the regions having citizens of Hungarian ethnicity and the other regions. Otherwise, even your voters will suspect you of negotiating other obscure benefits, for different interests than the citizen’s interest, in exchange of supporting the budget proposed by the coalition. If this budget will be approved in its current form by the Parliament, the entire country will know it was approved only with UDMR’s vote. Including the Hungarian community!”, Pro Romania warns. The call ends with the formula “Have courage, Mister Kelemen Hunor! Have courage, dear colleagues from UDMR! Have courage not to vote the lying budget of the PSD-ALDE coalition!”.
Vlad Alexandrescu: In the new draft budget, the money allocated to disabled people and for the special centres for minors is ZERO. They’ve cut everything, absolutely everything!
The Save Romania Union (USR) Senator Vlad Alexandrescu accuses PSD of humiliating disabled children and adults, because in the draft budget the money for disabled people and for the special centres for minors is zero, the entire responsibility being left on the mayoralties, some of which have little money.
“PSD humiliates disabled children and adults! In the new draft budget, the money for disabled people and for the special centres for minors is ZERO. They’ve cut everything, absolutely everything! They left the entire responsibility on the mayoralties, as if the mayoralty of a commune or a small city that doesn’t have money for three light bulbs for public lighting, will be able to replace the money from the Government. Mrs. Dancila, Mr. Teodorovici, make a small effort to understand! This money is not pocket money, which can be ignored, they are vital for the families who can barely manage these difficulties even today. Don’t humiliate them more, the Romanian state has already did it and continues to do it for ten generations”, Vlad Alexandrescu says.
The USR Senator also accuses the governors that it wasn’t enough for them to cut money for investments in highways and hospitals to be able to pay special pensions and their relatives working for the state, now they want to destroy the most vulnerable people.
“At some point, Orlando Teodorovici promised to the parents of disabled children that he will correct this problem, but it seems it was a lie. He lied to those people who were desperate because they will no longer be able to take care of their children only to make them silent, and now he disappears. We will insist until you give the money back to these people who are doing superhuman efforts even today”, Alexandrescu says.
USR and PNL request parliamentary inquiry on the last budget adjustment made by the Dancila Government in 2018
Save Romania Union (USR) and national liberal Party (PNL) request for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry committee on the budget adjustment made by the Dancila Government in November 2018.
“USR and PNL request for the establishment of an inquiry committee on the positive budget adjustment made by the Dancila Government in November 2018. We want to find out how a POSITIVE budget adjustment was made by the Finance Ministry in November 2018, since the economic data indicate that the only budget adjustment option was in MINUS”, USR announced in a press release.
The USR Senator Adrian Wiener speaks about “masking the economic data” and appreciates that the budget deficit in the 2019 draft budget that increased “overnight” also indicates that the Government “falsifies” the figures.
“Masking the economic data of a state is a criminal matter, even if the PSD-ALDE legal advisors tried to exonerate those who signed them. We want to know the real data of the Romanian economy, how big is the disaster in which Dragnea-Valcov-Teodorovici dragged us, and which are the reasons making them bring Romania to the brink of an economic catastrophe. Arithmetic has a great disadvantage: in the end, somewhere, the figures don’t correspond, regardless of how creative is the accounting which Valcov and Teodorovici propose to us. The fact that the deficit in the 2019 draft budget approved by the Government has increased overnight by RON 1.3 billion offers one more clue that the Dancila Government is working with falsified figures”, Wiener stated.
USR believes that the delay in presenting the 2019 draft state budget has a direct connection with falsifying the economic data in the budget adjustment of November 2018.
Tomac: PMP has prepared 2500 budget amendments, we will fight for each of them
People’s Movement Party (PMP) Chairman Eugen Tomac announced on Sunday on Facebook that his party has finalized the preparation of the approximately 2500 amendments to the Budget Law, mentioning that his party will fight for each of them.
Tomac says the budget proposed for 2019 is a budget of “recession” and doesn’t solve any of Romania’s major problems.
“Same as last year, they are inspired from PSD’s promises, the promises of those who dare to lie us for years ago, and the reality is more and more worrying. It’s a budget of recession, a budget that doesn’t solve any of Romania’s major problems. We must allocate money for nurseries and kindergartens, we must allocate money for ambulances, we must allocate money for infrastructure: the Bucharest Ring Road, the Bucharest – Brasov Highway, the Iasi – Targu Mures Highway; we must allocate money for Romania’s gas network. It is inadmissible to have in Romania, in the 21st century, cities and communes that are not connected to the gas networks”, Eugen Tomac wrote.
He claims that the budget is a “Dragnea brand catastrophe”.
“PMP will fight for each of the prepared amendments and we hope they will be supported by our colleagues who are parliamentarians from other parties”, the PMP Chairman added.
PNL: Budget features same fiscal vulnerabilities and risks in 2019 as it did in past years
National Liberal Party (PNL) Spokesman Ionel Danca has written on Facebook that the budget features the same fiscal vulnerabilities and risks in 2019 as it did in past years, adding that it is calculated based on overestimated revenues for whose failure the “felons” will not be held accountable.
“This posting contains essential elements for the responsible governance of public finances, and seriously harms the felons from the Dragnea-Valcov-Teodorovici trio, who should have known this before approving the budget, in order to understand how bad their budget planning is. In the country report that will be published this spring, which the National Liberal Party has obtained, the European Commission destroys the Government’s fiscal policy of recent years. The European Commission’s analysis shows that Romania’s budget is a false budget built on the clay feet of a fiscal policy that relies on fictitious revenues,” PNL Spokesman Ionel Danca wrote.
The Liberal warns that European experts are saying that the Romanian Government’s fiscal policy is chaotic, unpredictable and devoid of any undertaking of responsibility on the part of those drafting the budget.
“First of all, the Government’s budget expenditure policy is criticised, the raising of social expenditures at the expense of investments. Public sector salaries have been hiked in an ad-hoc manner (without economic substantiation). At the same time, public investments have dropped in 2017 to the lowest level since Romania joined the European Union, registering a slight rise in 2018. These policies have hiked the budget deficit and have stimulated private consumption at the expense of long-term economic growth. On the other hand, when it comes to revenues, European Commission experts warn that the Government’s policy lacks efficiency and puts Romania among the countries that have one of the lowest tax collection levels in the European Union. The share of fiscal revenues has remained at 25.8 percent of GDP in 2017, the lowest level since 1996 and the second-lowest level in the European Union, far below the European average of 40.2 percent of GDP,” reads the Facebook page of PNL’s spokesman.
Ionel Danca points out that the Romanian fiscal system’s efficiency in lowering poverty and correcting social inequality is limited.
“<One third of Romanians are exposed to the risk of poverty, the highest share among the member states of the European Union,> European officials say. On the fiscal revenues side, European experts hit the nail on its head and point to the major vulnerability of Romania’s budget: collecting the VAT. <The difference between the VAT owed and the VAT paid is the highest in the European Union and will reach 36 percent, while the European average is 12 percent.> In other words, more than a third of the VAT owed is not paid in Romania, and Dragnea’s clueless members of the Dancila Government are staking this year on a hike of more than RON 10 billion in VAT revenues,” Ionel Danca wrote.
According to the spokesman, European officials also note the flagrant infringement of the fiscal responsibility law on the part of the members of the Romanian Government.
“The fiscal responsibility law demands that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister sign a joint statement, under their sole responsibility, that the budget bill and the fiscal strategy observe fiscal rules and the principles of fiscal responsibility. In 2018, these fiscal regulations were grossly infringed in what concerns both the budget deficit and the structural deficit and in what concerns the expenditures on personnel in relation to total governmental expenditures, excluding European grants,” Ionel Danca’s Facebook page points out.
PNL’s spokesman concludes that, for felons accustomed to breaking the law, “the fiscal responsibility law is not observed in 2019 either, and Dancila and Teodorovici have excepted themselves, on their own, from the obligation to sign a statement under their sole responsibility that the 2019 budget observes the rules and principles of fiscal responsibility.”
In conclusion, Ionel Danca points out that “the budget features the same fiscal vulnerabilities and risks in 2019 as it did in past years, and we nevertheless have a budget featuring overestimated revenues for whose failure nobody will be held accountable simply because we have a budget built by a bunch of felons.”