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

08 August

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Good afternoon. As you know, we started an extensive process of amending legislation for such tragedies such as the one in Caracal that has shaken the entire society, don’t ever happen again.

In today's meeting, we are discussing in first reading a draft law that establishes clear procedures for searching missing persons and improves their special search methods by eliminating administrative and institutional bottlenecks. We also regulate how to locate or track by technical means, to obtain traffic and location data, but also the way in which the forensic investigation must be carried out at the domicile, residence or headquarters of individuals. We are improving the activity of the Child Abduction Alert mechanism, an already existing mechanism, which aims to carry out procedures for the search of minors, in emergency and with increased resources, both at home and abroad. Through all these legislative amendments already under public debate, we aim to reduce the intervention time, to render more effective the action of the rescuers. I will request the Parliament to adopt this draft law in an emergency procedure. I received yesterday the report of the inter-ministerial committee on improving the legislation for emergency interventions, a report which was publicly presented by the Secretary of State Raed Arafat. The working group has already identified a package of 14 measures, with clear deadlines and well-defined persons in charge, that we are going to implement to render the response time more efficient in critical situations.

In the short term, we are considering completing the legislation for improving the localization system, starting the process of implementing the AML type localization, as well as growing awareness on the 112 Application. An emergency ordinance has already been drawn up to improve the operation of the 112 emergency call system, which has already entered in the approval and in the decision-making transparency procedure. I wish to adopt this normative act as soon as possible and I will ask the leadership of the Parliament to convene an extraordinary session for these measures to be transposed into law.

The Committee also identified the necessary solutions for a better implementation of the concept of integrated dispatch offices and continuous training of dispatchers. Also, solutions have been proposed for harmonizing the procedures for cooperation and management of calls for special situations. In parallel, an analysis of criminal legislation in the case of serious and very serious crimes was initiated at the Ministry of Justice.

A package of proposals for amending legislation will be drawn up, regarding several aspects: prohibiting the possibility of conditional release for serious and very serious crimes; a clearer definition of the act of kidnapping (a phenomenon that we have been witnessing more and more often in the last years towards vulnerable persons) and establishing by law greater punishment lengths; clarifying the duties of the judicial bodies and other aspects of the legislation in order to prevent other tragedies. As I have said before, we will take all necessary measures for the proper functioning of the institutions responsible for the citizens’safety and for strengthening the fight against crime.

We are discussing in the Government meeting today the first budget rectification this year. It is a positive rectification by which we ensure the increased payment of salaries and pensions, including the new increase that we will apply from 1 September this year. Moreover, this rectification ensures the continuation of investment projects in the priority areas. The positive budgetary rectification is supported by the growth of the GDP and the fact that in the first quarter of this year, Romania had an economic growth of 5 percent, the third-largest growth in the EU. All real economy branches recorded positive developments, the results in constructions, services and agriculture being particularly outlined. I asked this rectification to be done on clear principles so that the objectives assumed earlier this year be met by maintaining macroeconomic balances and strengthening the investors’ confidence in the economy. We will keep the budget deficit in the target assumed through the Budget Law, namely 2.76 percent. We will also keep investments in the priority areas – education, healthcare, and road infrastructure, as well as the measures to stimulate programmes for local communities development. I demanded the budget structure be correlated with the achievements in the first semester and be doubled by a firm commitment from the Ministries that what is established by the budgetary rectification should be enforced. I have seen all kind of public interpretations, I mention that the budget cuts proposed through budget rectification are done in the areas where there was a low level of spending of the allocated money. We also ensure through rectification the funds necessary for the proper functioning of local administration and financing of the investment projects. We supplement the funds for the National Local Development Program by 1 billion lei to which we add the available amount of 700 million lei from the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration.

We also increase the contracting ceiling for the Development and Investment Fund from 5 billion to 10 billion lei. I want to make it clear that, at present, over 12,600 investment objectives are being financed in the local communities, 70% of them in the rural areas. There are projects that contribute to the harmonious development of all localities through investments in water and sewerage projects, roads, schools, nurseries, kindergartens and sanitary units. Regarding investments, I want to convey a very clear message. The implementation of investment projects will continue and we have already taken a set of measures to boost the works. There are 12 large-scale projects under the coordination of the recently created Department for the development, promotion and monitoring of infrastructure investment projects, with works being carefully monitored, so that the projects be completed in the shortest time possible.

I will give some examples of recent accomplishments lately. Regarding the Sibiu –Pitesti Motorway, the Government Decision on expropriations for the Section 1 Sibiu –Boita was approved, a document that we will adopt on today’s Cabinet meeting. Thus, we allocate nearly 5 million lei to compensate the owners.

Regarding the Drajna Passage, the contract for the Feasibility Study was signed, and following discussions with the designer, he committed to completing the documents two months earlier than provided in the contract. Important progress has also been made in the case of the projects targeting investments on the Bucharest South Belt. For Lot 1, this week, the invitation to submit documents for the signing of the contract was sent to the contractor declared winner. And the design statement for Lot 2 was accepted in the Technical-Economic Council of CNAIR. Also, last week, the list of buildings that were to be expropriated was published and the necessary amounts for the compensation of the owners on the route of section 2 of the Expressway Craiova-Pitesti were transferred, and CNAIR sent the necessary clarifications for the Contract for the supervision of the works, which are in the public procurement procedure. The documentation related to the procedure for awarding the Contract for Design and Execution of Section 4, 31.88 kilometres of this Express Road, was sent for validation. Regarding the Târgu Neamț-Iasi Highway, earlier this week, the participation requests for the award of the contract were opened. Four investors have expressed interest in achieving this infrastructure project in a public-private partnership. Important progress has also been made in terms of investments in tourism after we improved the procedure for financing and developing projects in this sector.

Since the beginning of this year, two major investment projects have been unblocked and completed. These are the ski slopes at Voineasa and the one at Câmpulung Moldovenesc, both projects being provided with artificial snow installation and night installation. The financing contract for the expansion and modernization of the Dolphinarium in Constanta was signed yesterday. Also, last week, the financing contract worth 104 million lei was signed to build the ski slope from Borșa, in Maramureș county, and next week, the first tranche of funding will be paid for the project for a summer slope at Borsec.

Next week, the Ministry of Tourism will sign in Calarasi a financing contract for the construction of a tourist port in the Danube, worth 86 million lei, to stimulate tourism in this area. We want to make the most of the tourism potential of the Danube, and a tourist port in Calarasi will stimulate the development of small businesses in this area. We also continue the measures for the development of spa tourism, one of the most important resources for Romania, given that one third of Europe's mineral sources are found on the soil of our country. We are discussing in the government meeting today a draft decision on the Strategy for the Development of Spa Tourism.

The approval of this strategy consolidates the other measures taken by the Executive to stimulate this form of tourism, such as eliminating royalties for the use of geothermal and mineral waters for tourist purposes, but also the Investment Financing Program for the modernization and development of spa resorts. The Government’s actions in the last year to stimulate tourism have had the effect of increasing the number of visitors.

The number of overnight stays in tourist accommodation structures increased by almost 11% in June compared to the same period of 2018, and the number of foreign tourists at the border points increased, in June 2019, by 15.6% compared to the same period of last year. These figures again show the efficiency of the measures taken by the Executive to stimulate this economic sector. We will approve in today's meeting several measures to increase patients' access to high-quality medicines and medical services. Thus, we will supplement the legislation to allow patients with serious illnesses, which cannot be treated in the public system, to benefit from the settlement of treatments performed abroad or provided by private providers of medical services in Romania. We also make the necessary legislative changes for the introduction, development and implementation of a new subprogramme addressed to people with autism spectrum disorders, according to the protocol concluded with the profile associations. This measure will allow better access to integrated health services for people diagnosed with such disorders. At the same time, we extend the term of temporary exemption from the obligation to pay the clawback tax for drugs derived from human blood or human plasma. It is a necessary measure to ensure the presence on the market of some medicines that have no therapeutic alternative, medicines that are so necessary in case of serious illnesses. Minister Sorina Pintea will explain all these measures at the end of the Cabinet meeting. In today's meeting, we approve the supplementation of the funds for the 'Rabla'(vehicle scrappage scheme) programme with the amount of 135 million lei. Thus, we offer another 20,000 vouchers, worth 6,500 lei each, for those who wish to replace their old car with a new, less polluting one. I know it is a decision awaited by many Romanians, and also by the car industry. At the end of the Cabinet’s meeting, the Government Spokesman will detail the normative acts we will adopt on today’s meeting.

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