Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca declared on Thursday in Brussels that the agenda of his meetings with EU and NATO officials included raising the Republic of Moldova’s export quotas, solving the roaming issue and providing grants for the settlement of energy bills.
“At each of the meetings I had, including with Mrs. EP President Metsola, with Mrs. EC President Ursula von der Lyen, with NATO’s Secretary General, I approached topics related to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. As concerns the Republic of Moldova, I brought up the difficult situation caused by the energy crisis and the steps Romania has taken to support the Republic of Moldova with electricity and gas supplies. We also discussed raising export quotas because this year it was possible to double the export quotas for goods produced by the Republic of Moldova, and another important aspect is that of solving the issue of roaming fees the Moldovan citizens should benefit from. We also looked at aspects related to the provision of grants that would allow the Republic of Moldova to pay its electricity and gas bills,” the Prime Minister told a press conference.
He also said that he presented Romania’s role in the region in the context of the Ukraine war.
“Absolutely all interlocutors voiced appreciation and praised our country for the solidarity it has shown ever since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine and for the measures we have taken to facilitate everything concerning the transport of grain and goods from and towards Ukraine. On the same tier is the relationship we have with the Republic of Moldova, ensuring the proper flow and streamlining traffic at the border crossing points with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and continuing to identify new solutions so as to increase the number of crossing points, something that was agreed upon and is going to happen. EU funds are assigned so that in the next period we will roll out concrete joint plans to increase these border crossing capacities,” said the head of the Executive.
All my interlocutors emphasized the support that Romania enjoys in achieving accession to Schengen
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca on Thursday stated that all the officials he met with in Brussels emphasized their support for Romania’s accession to Schengen.
“All my interlocutors emphasized the support that Romania enjoys in order to continue and complete the Schengen accession process,” the head of Executive told a press conference.
He mentioned the assessment mission on Schengen issues.
“The results of the evaluation committee are as positive as possible and ensure the continuation of the evaluation framework and discussions in order to clarify any problem at the level of any Schengen member state, so that when the decision is made in the JHA Council we can have support based on merit which our country must enjoy, a merit that must be recognized for everything it has achieved in order to meet all the requirements of the Schengen acquis,” said the PM.
He said that currently there are some problems that need to be clarified in the bilateral relationship with the Netherlands. In this context, he recalled that the Minister of the Interior, Lucian Bode, sent a letter to his Dutch counterpart for an additional mission regarding Schengen.
“I am convinced that, as it emerged from the meetings and discussions, all these issues will be resolved in a timely manner,” Ciuca added.
Ciuca, EC head talks aim at PNRR adjustments, 9.4pct GDP limit to pensions budget included
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca stated that within the discussions with President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leryen regarding the fulfillment of the commitments Romania has assumed within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNNR), also discussed, among other matters, was the topic of adjusting some targets and benchmarks and the possibility of replacing the provision regarding the percentage of 9.4pct of the GDP for pensions with a financial discipline indicator.
“We also discussed the aspect of adjusting a series of benchmarks and targets, so that they can be achieved by 2026. The pension chapter is of great interest. I specifically discussed this aspect, I presented that there is that limit of 9.4pct in the PNRR for the pensions budget and we agreed that it is possible to replace this indicator with another one, which takes into account the World Bank study and an indicator of financial discipline,” PM Nicolae Ciuca told a press conference on Thursday, at the end of his working visit to Brussels.
The PM mentioned that the discussion with the EC President was one of principle, following to go over the technical details at the level of experts.
At the same time, he mentioned that with regard to the decarbonization part, he discussed with Ursula von der Leyen and in this sense, the adjustments of certain milestones, namely that the production units on which it was decided to be taken out of service can be put into technical reserve and restarted when needed so that to ensure our energy security and the necessary consumption.
“I’ve explained that these energy groups, as they were assumed, are two 600 MW groups, of 300 MW each, and they are going to be taken out of operation and they are still functional and can be used, I asked for the agreement, so that they can be placed in the technical reserve so that when we need to ensure energy security and energy balancing, based on very well agreed procedures at the level of select committees, they can be put back into operation. In the PNRR there are included several energy groups that are scheduled to be decommissioned according to the commitment to decarbonization. It’s just that we can see at the level of the entire European Union, generated by the energy crisis, that coal is still used as a measure to ensure security,” Ciuca stressed.
As for the transport infrastructure, the prime minister said that during the discussions it was mentioned that certain adjustments are needed.
Both I and and the National Liberal Party support the increase in pensions and salaries
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca declared on Thursday in Brussels in a news conference that both he and the National Liberal Party support the increase in pensions and salaries, stressing that in order to establish the level of these increases, the budget that can be allocated must be identified.
“For each of them, I said, since the end of September, that we must have concrete figures related to the budget projection for the year 2023 and identify very clearly and transparently for everyone which is the budget from which we can make pension and salary increases. I am a supporter, including the PNL is a supporter, of increasing pensions and salaries. We see very clearly the evolution of inflation. It is already a fear that is being presented, including here in the euro zone inflation has reached 9.9%, and we cannot leave the citizens, we can’t let the pensioners feel the burden of everything that means the effects of the increase in inflation,” premier Ciuca assessed.
He was asked if the measures announced for next year regarding the extension of the energy price ceiling and the increase of the minimum salary to 3,000 RON will remain only at the level of promises or if some calculations have been made regarding their budgetary impact and financial sustainability.
The Prime minister said that there is a decision of the European Commission by which 10% of the cohesion funds, on the Financial Framework 2014 – 2020, can be used to combat energy poverty, support vulnerable people, support SMEs and provide jobs.
“Based on the budget and these funds coming from the EU, we need to make the necessary changes, to see how we can support the budget with this money and what money we have left to be able to increase pensions by 15%, if possible by more than 15%, and with the minimum salary at 3,000 RON. It is a figure that I discussed and I support it with all my strength, but we need the concreteness of the budget on the table,” the head of the Executive added.
Funds intended for the endowment component of the Army from the Defense budget will increase from next year to over 35%
The funds intended for the endowment component of the Army from the Defense budget will increase from next year to over 35%, on Thursday said Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, in a press conference, at the end of his two-day working visit to Brussels.
“It is very clear that, together with the decision to increase the Defense budget to 2.5% (from 2%, currently, ed. n.) the allocation to the endowment component will also increase. If, until now, from that 2% that was assumed by our country was the obligation that at least 20% be earmarked for endowment, we have exceeded this percentage of 20% up to this moment,” Nicolae Ciuca declared at the headquarters Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union.
In this context, the prime minister specified that the Army needs to be equipped with more Pirahna V armored vehicles, asked if Romania has a piece of legislation so that in the future it can sell such transporters that are also produced in our country.
“We will be in a position to sell when we have secured what is necessary for the Romanian Army. At this moment, compared to the framework contract, we still need more transporters than were thought in the respective program, so as to ensure a large unit, brigade-type capability that we have engaged at NATO and to be equipped with wheeled armored personnel carriers. The structure has changed. More carriers are needed, until we finalize and secure the carriers required for this capability we will not discuss the sale,” the PM explained.
Asked what is happening with the corvette acquisition program, Ciuca said that, from the data he has, “technical discussions” are currently underway.
“I have been hoping since two years ago that this contract could be signed. Unfortunately, all these problems arose related to the economic crisis, the increase in prices for materials and equipment. I suppose that those who really study in detail what the conditions in the contract are will finally reach a conclusion,” the Prime Minister explained.
Compiled from Agerpres