The Prime Minister Florin Citu will present, on Wednesday, in the Parliament, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). The two Chambers will convene in joint plenary session starting with 13:00 hrs. Subsequently, parliamentarians must vote to ratify the EURATOM Decision, in order to allow access to European money.
Ludovic Orban, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies announced on Tuesday that the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies will convene on Wednesday for talks over the National Plan of Resilience and Recovery (PNRR).
Romania has pledged to submit the plan to the European Commission by the end of May.
PNRR and pensions – discussed by ruling coalition on Tuesday
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and pensions were among the topics discussed on Tuesday by the ruling coalition leaders.
“We discussed more on PNRR, we detailed, we clarified a few more aspects,” Deputy Prime Minister Kelemen Hunor, leader of UDMR (Democratic Union of Hungarians of Romania), said at the end of the meeting, specifying at the same time that there was no party at the coalition meeting, in the context in which the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Ludovic Orban, celebrated his birthday on Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Dan Barna said the discussion within the coalition government was “very good.”
“Most of the discussion focused on the PNRR, since we intend to send it to the Commission on Monday. Some very important details have been settled, I am optimistic,” said the USR PLUS (Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity, Solidarity Party) leader.
He noted that the issue of raising child allowances had not been addressed.
Also, when asked about the fact that the Minister of Labour, Raluca Turcan, stated at the PNL (National Liberal Party) meeting that the draft pension law was not presented in Brussels as shown in Romania, Barna said: “At the moment this is the conclusion we reached at the meeting of the coalition. It is very clear – and this is a commitment made to the Commission – that we are talking about a new pension law.”
He also said he had not heard “any reproaches” in Tuesday’s talks. “But there are things that needed to be clarified, related to the scheduling of payments, related to the way we structure this allocation of the almost 30 billion between loans and grants, these are issues that we need address due to the feedback received from the Commission,” added Deputy Prime Minister Barna.
Prime Minister Florin Citu also claimed that he did not attend a party, but a meeting of the ruling coalition, adding that he had no information that a festive meal had taken place at the same time.
Asked what the Government Decision stipulates regarding festive meals, weddings, baptisms, if they can be done during this period, the Prime Minister answered: “From June 1.”
“Such events can take place during this period as well, but with a mask. (…) I can’t comment on something that I haven’t seen,” explained Citu.
Deputy PM Kelemen: PNRR is highly balanced, Romania might officially submit it to EC next Monday
Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNNR) is a “highly balanced” one that will cover all important segments, from transport to health, from education to environment, from local public administration units to research and digital transformation, according to Deputy Prime Minister Kelemen Hunor, who says that Romania might officially submit the plan to the European Commission next week on Monday.
“First of all, from the very beginning, we in the coalition said that we will come to Parliament before ratification, so it’s not that Brussels has insisted or anyone has insisted; that has been our talk since January, but we wanted to have something to come before Parliament with. Tomorrow [Wednesday] there will be a debate, as requested by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), from 13:00hrs, the prime minister will unveil the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), after which there is room for debate and then a vote will follow not on PNRR, but on the ratification of the treaty. We have to ratify it tomorrow; that is an important thing, before it appears in the Official Journal by June 1. If all the EU member states ratify by May 31, then we can already take out the loan on July 1, which is important, because there are already countries waiting for funding under similar plans,” Kelemen told TVR 1 public broadcaster on Tuesday when asked about the latest development in the drawing up of the PNRR.
He voiced hope that, following the discussions, everyone is clear that the PNRR is “a good project.”
“It is a plan that must be endorsed by everyone, which needs some reforms as well, because we are talking about two components: grants and loans. For each member state there is an expectation, there are criteria for each state, what reforms must be done, because it is still taxpayers’ money and you have to make some reforms that can support the economy in the medium and long term if you invest in certain sectors. And there are some expectations about the green component and digital transformation. There have been many, many discussions since January that will last until tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and until Monday, when Romania officially submits it, because so far this plan has not been officially submitted, it was not a very urgent matter, because we established from the beginning that we will submit it in May,” said Kelemen.
The deputy prime minister underscored that, from the point of view of the ruling coalition, the PNRR is a “highly balanced plan that will cover all important segments, from transport to health, from education to environment, from local public administration units to research and digital transformation.”
“All components are highly balanced. I even proposed in an extremely careful way, for example, everything that is at the Ministry of Development or in the province of the Ministry of Development, I said let us go for something when it is not decided politically, each local public administration unit, county seats, cities, towns, have at their disposal a certain amount and can choose from various projects they want to finance, for example urban mobility. For transport, they identify exactly the motorways, the railway segment where investment will be poured into throughout 2026. (…) We have insisted and fought a lot for infrastructure and they have accepted and there will be a lot of money for the road and railway infrastructure; but here, too, we have to see one thing: you have to go with mature projects, with already made projects, because otherwise there is no way you can sign the contracts until next year and carry through these projects by 2026,” he underscored.
Kelemen added that as far as agriculture is concerned, there was only one unresolved issue, the one related to irrigation.
“So we have to secure funding for irrigation from the national budget or possibly from another programme, that was the only thing, let’s say, where barriers could not be overcome,” Kelemen said.
He mentioned that there will also be components on the environment side, including funding for small towns of under 2,000 inhabitants.
He added that, in his opinion, the first batch of money under the PNRR, and reimbursements, would be made in 2022.
“It depends a lot on us. If we submit it on May 31, let’s say that in two months the project is evaluated, the project is approved, which means in July discussions start to sign the contracts that have to be signed by the end of the year or by early next year. Of course, immediately after that happens, the money comes in, if the projects are ok (…). I do not want to say that this year money will come under the PNRR, nor do I rule out getting funds by the end of the year for certain projects that are ready, that are mature enough (…) but I would rather say early 2022,” said Kelemen.
Asked whether the minimum pension contribution period will be maintained or increased, the PM said that “the pension law will be published, it will be transparent, there are several stages.”
Compiled from Agerpres