Theme: Executive Meeting from 17.07.2013

Statements by PM Victor Ponta at the beginning of the Executive meeting

Victor Ponta: Good afternoon, distinguished colleagues! We start our weekly Executive meeting. Probably, on 30, there will be the budget rectification. I want only to announce you all that today, we have, at confidential, true, because it has always been so, and this is normal; I have not understood exactly who told us to present now what we want to negotiate with IMF, because there is not negotiation anymore, then, we tell them to watch tv, to see the IMF delegation what we want to do, but today, we have the negotiation mandate.

Vice Premier Chitoiu and the Budget Minister Liviu Voinea will have the coordination but each of you, with various topics, you know very well, you have the schedule of meetings. Things are very clear and obviously, we will communicate them to Parliament too, and all the other public institutions. We are not in the situation from 2009, we do not need the money we are to receive from the European Commission or the IMF. It is however good that through a new agreement, we borrow cheaper to fund the deficit and the debt and in this way, the future Governments will benefit, and especially the citizens will benefit from the fact that they will pay less, the loans, first of all, as we pay now what Boc Cabinet consumed, that is life, some consume, others pay. But I do not want those who follow us to pay for what we are doing now.
Loans are much less cheaper, interests smaller, and for our essential investment and jobs plan, the guarantee for investors of an agreement with the European Commission – IMF is extremely important, provides stability and predictability.
This year, I believe that we are the only country in which all heads of large international financial institutions, IMF, World Bank, EIB, and EBRD were in Bucharest, early this year. They conveyed a message of credibility and solidity of Romania, of development potential and this is a thing the foreign investors want to hear from such persons. If they read the Romanian press, they would probably run away from Romania, but as of the moment the large international institutions show that Romania completed well an agreement, it has potential, development potential, further on, that is the sign we can rely on in the future.
I want to ask you all outside, the Ministers who accompanied me in the presentation last Thursday, to take very in serious the tasks falling to you from that national investment and jobs plan. I rejoiced the criticisms including because we put forward names of companies, figures, invested sums and jobs. The criticisms did not made clear which company does not come, or what sums is not invested or which job is not created. It is good they talked about all these, and obviously, our hope in the future cannot rely but on an economic development, investments, jobs creation and thus, we can have more budget collections, so as to keep our word. Last year, we kept our word with everything we pledged regarding pensions, pays. I think that the President promulgated other important pledge we made in the electoral campaign, the one pertaining to the law whereby we do justice to retirees in the military, defence, interior areas. It is about a number of 17.000 -18.000 persons who were wronged, and whom we pledged to find a solution and I am very glad that yesterday, the President promulgated the law and thus, we honored other of our important pledges, the only thing which remains, it rests what we promised and what we did out of what we promised.
Hopefully, upon rectification, for the joy of farmers, we keep other important pledge, that regarding the VAT on bread. We hope to manage, on 30, to give the good news and especially I want this initiative to prove to be fair, in the sense that we combat fiscal evasion and we have better collections to the budget. If we have bread, it is already one step ahead in our development.
I assure you that I want to have as soon as possible a Transport Minister. I want to reshuffle as soon as possible; there are enough extremely serious problems. I want to ask you, Mr. Secretary of State, obviously, informing me every time, to work together with the Ministry of Finance.
I saw that today we have the budgets of some of the railway companies. Also, we are looking for solutions to solve all of the historical losses, especially from passengers, where something must be done. Infrastructure has losses due to failure to collect debts and, in turn, infrastructure owes to suppliers.
So, I ask you at this time, until the 30th, together with the budget minister, to find solutions for companies to continue to function as better as possible. I want to express my solidarity and understanding with those who eventually feel the danger that not everyone remains at CFR Passengers and CFR Freight. There will not be, as far as I know, thousands of layoffs, as announced at television. But indeed there are areas where staff will no longer be justified, particularly in the auxiliary area, and in fact, I still see that there is desired a higher subsidy. The subsidy comes from the people’s money, the subsidy does not come from the Government’s yard, it comes from the money of people. I mean, we have to decide, do we take money from people and give more subsidies to CFR or we try to have lower losses? Nobody from passenger transport has profit as far as I know.
I want to thank all the ministers who have participated in the exceptional visit of French delegation last week. The Prime Minister, however, was accompanied by other Ministers. The main focus obviously went to talks at the premier level, but I think the discussions between ministers were extremely good. We have a new emotional relationship first, and economic and political second, with France. All the projects you have talked and you have started, I'd like to follow them and keep our word, to move further on regarding the area of economic cooperation, but also on the research, education, culture, all other things related to France.
Monday, I will be along with some of you on visit to Spain, another country extremely important to us, not only historically, but because we have over a million Romanians there. Over one million Romanian living in Spain and obviously during discussions with the Spanish Prime Minister, we will talk about our economic and political relations, but also about Romanians there. It is a country in trouble now, economically, but I do not want to forget our traditional relations or, again, the fact that over a million Romanians are living there and I want to find all the solutions we have to improve these relations. Otherwise, positive messages to those who deserve it. I understand today, Minister of Education, that we will adopt an act whereby you can reward those 100 students, how many of them took ten at the baccalaureate?
Remus Pricopie: 124, but there are few who have obtained passing mark, after the complaint. So around 130.
Victor Ponta: Good. I understand that I talked about those who cheated, and it is good to sanction and punish them. I think there are fewer than in previous years, but it is still news. But, if possible, let us talk about those who took ten that we just speak about the worst, instead of talking about the good part. They create the impression that we do not have good kids, which is not true.
Also, I join your congratulations for the outstanding achievements in International Physics Olympiad and I finally tell you that within the Government. We tried at the General Secretariat on a model that other government administrations have it for a long time, do an internship program. The young people you can see there are part of this program. For two months, instead of vacation, they will be at the Government. I ask you all, if possible, to receive at your Ministries internship young people. If we convince them to stay in Romania, and not to emigrate, I think it is the most important thing and I want to encourage you to do so.
Same with the scholarships, Minister, I thought - how good it is to be President, you are generous on people's money. The gas pipeline is built from our money, is it right, Minister Nita? Scholarships are given more from our money, right? It's so good to be generous from others. It is too bad that the previous Government failed to do anything, not to increase the number of visas, or to build the gas pipeline with the Republic of Moldova.
I want to ask you all to treat seriously the relationship with the Republic of Moldova. We had a very good meeting with Prime Minister Leancă. Again, we work, Prime Minister Leancă and me, too. I ask you all to support all the projects we discussed. I asked you Minister to see where the funding for the feasibility studies for the bridge comes from, new bridges across Prut. I want to urge you all, who have projects, Interior and Defence Ministries to back them. All that we can do for the Republic of Moldova, I want to be done, not at the level of statements. We want to do even more serious things than the statements, and I will ask you all to pay maximum attention to this relationship. On August 27, we start the works, hopefully, Minister Nita, isn’t it?
Constantin Nita: No, earlier.
Victor Ponta: Do you exceed the plan now? They did nothing for four years, and they expect us to exceed the plan. We start earlier.
Constantin Nita: We do not exceed, Moldavians open the works on August 27. We have to open them earlier.
Victor Ponta: Surely? I want to see together with Prime Minister Leanca when the works at Ungheni start. I thank the press, we pass to our daily issues and in the end, and we let you know the decisions made.