Cabinet Meeting

Friday, 07 December

Statements by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting

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Viorica Dăncilă: Good afternoon. I would like to begin by congratulating all Ministers, and also those who contributed to the preparation of Romania’s first mandate at the Presidency of the Council of the EU. After the meeting with the Conference of Presidents held Bucharest this week, I had a meeting with the College of Commissioners. We discussed our priorities during the rotating presidency, and also the way we will cooperate with European institutions. Several Ministers had meetings with the European Commissioners, with chairs of the EP committees, and also with rapporteurs.

I want to congratulate the Ministers who took over, to coordinate activities within the Council of the EU. As the President of the European Commission mentioned, Romania is ready to cope with its responsibilities and the recognition of this fact could only make us glad, given some criticisms in the public space in the last period. The European partners noted after these discussions that each Minister in part masters the dossiers on the table, that there is total involvement from each Ministry, and the discussions we have had within the College of Commissioners, on the current challenges at European level, have shown that we master these issues, that we have an ambitious, realistic approach and at the same time we want the Presidency of Romania to the Council of the European Union to be successful.

The only uncertain situation we have at this moment is the one created by President Klaus Iohannis by his blocking the appointment of Ministers in two important fields – I am referring to Regional Development and Public Administration, and also to the Ministry of Transports. I think that it is not the political game that should dictate during this period, I think Romania’s interest is important. We wish to successfully exercise the rotating Presidency in all areas of activity, and this can only be achieved by conferring full authority and legitimacy to all Cabinet ministers. We cannot afford to change Ministers after the dossiers have been taken over, after the priorities have been established in each field. This is why today, I have notified the Constitutional Court of Romania to settle this blockage created by the President. We did not want this, I do not want this, as I said previously, but Romania and Romanians’ interest is above ambitions, political game or electoral campaign.

Government will continue preparations within the established deadlines, with the same seriousness and professionalism. Alongside the Cabinet members, we will continue talks related to taking over the presidency, and its exercise, and on December 12, I will present in the Romanian Parliament the final form of the programme of the rotating presidency that Romania will takeover starting January 1, 2019. Last but not least, I also hailed the fact that the President of the European Commission, Mr. Juncker reiterated the fact that Romania will join the Schengen Area before the current term of office of the European Commission finishes. From a technical standpoint, we are aware that our country meets all criteria and I think this is an act of justice, an act of normality, an act whereby Romania is treated like the other EU member states.

We are discussing on today’s meeting the Government Decision under which the gross minimum wage will rise to 2,080 lei, and 2,350 lei respectively, for employees with higher education and one year length of service. This decision will come into force on January 1, 2019. We adopt this act having in view the ordinance amending the Labor Code that introduces the notion of differentiated minimum wage. The increase of the national minimum guaranteed gross wage to 2,080 lei represents an increase of 9.47 percent, and the 2,350 lei for higher education employees with at least one year length of service represents an increase of 23.68 percent. Therefore, we are meeting our commitment to increase the population’s incomes and I want to underline on this occasion that the state sector wages will continue to increase, according to the Unitary Pay Law, passed by the Parliament.

The construction of next year’s budget envisages the increase of public sector wages and pensioners’ incomes as set out in the Pensions Law, in other words, not only that wages and pensions will not freeze, but they will increase. I say this because certain information emerged in the public space that can trigger uncertainty and I think it’s not right to cause concerns, to play with the feelings of the pensioners and of the employees and bring false information in the public space. I wanted to put an end to these ungrounded speculations.

Through today’s decision, we carry on with a measure that has contributed to the development of Romanian tourism. We will grant holiday vouchers worth 1,450 lei to public sector employees for the next two years, 2019 and 2020, as well. More than 1,200,000 people have received holiday vouchers this year, which they used in accommodation units in Romania.

This led to a 5 percent increase in the number of tourists in our country until September, compared to the same period last year. Moreover, compared to last year, it is a 10 percent increase in requests for permits for accommodation units in Romania.

„Start –Up Nation” – programme to back the entrepreneurship launched by PSD – ALDE government proved to be a success. On the first edition of the programme, in 2017, more than 8,000 new businesses and more than 20,000 new jobs were established. There are results which encourage us to continue this programme in a simplified form but one which would better meet the expectations of the young people who want to start a business. The second edition of this programme, which we adopt on today’s Cabinet meeting, is designed to provide support for 10,000 projects. Each beneficiary can receive 200,000 lei. We will extend more attention to business development in areas where there are fewer SMEs, and we will provide stronger support to entrepreneurs, by eliminating some administrative procedures and granting some funding under the form of advance money.

On today’s Cabinet meeting, we came up with measures to back the agricultural sector. On the one hand, we have increase the amount earmarked to pay the fuel subsidy in agriculture, by 67 million lei, so that the total amount reaches 487 million lei this year. On the other hand, we have approved the amounts earmarked to support the livestock sector . The total amount for 2018 stands at nearly 486 million lei, more than EUR 104 million.

Other good news given this morning by the European Commission pertains to the aid for combating swine fever. Thus, Romania receives a grant amounting to 34.278.750 euros, representing 75 percent of the eligible costs that our country engaged through urgent measures designed to combat the swine fever.

We will also take several measures and we will secure the necessary funds for social services for vulnerable categories and for supporting local authorities.

 The war veterans and widows will receive an aid like every year to cover expenditure with heating and electricity bills. We took the decision to increase this aid to reach 400 lei. The money will be distributed once with the pension for December. At the same time, we allocate to local communities the amounts necessary to support care facilities for children in social protection system and for persons with disabilities. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Government Spokersperson will detail the normative acts we will adopt on today’s meeting. Thank you.



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