Theme: Executive Meeting from 30.07.2013

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

Distinguished colleagues,

Good afternoon. I apologize for delay; it happens so when it comes to budget issue or rectification. There have been many discussions. I want to thank all who understood that these were the funds.
Also, during the past days, the very two Ministers, Vice Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Budget Minister, alongside each of you, had long, difficult negotiations, but fruitful with our international partners.
Practically, tomorrow, the representatives of the European Commission, IF and we can announce the elements of a future new agreement. I intend on the one hand, having the agreement with the European Commission and the IMF, to make public for the first time both the memorandum with the EC and the letter of intent with the IMF. You know that when I was in Opposition, I asked this, now, we are in power, I asked, with their opinion, I want that in the shortest time possible, eventually tomorrow or whenever possible, to make them public, they are not secret. Furthermore, alongside you, at the beginning of the parliamentary session, I will address the Presidents of the two Chambers with the request for us to be able to present before Parliament, the elements of a new agreement so that it is a decision not only of the Romanian Government, but of the Parliament too and of all political responsible forces. We may find as usually irresponsible in Parliament or Cotroceni, who will be against, it is their problem. I alike you are here by people’s vote, the Parliament’ support, and I think it is our duty to present to people who voted us and the Parliament the elements of a new agreement.
I feel even more responsible alike you, in front of those who voted us in December, but especially in front of those who one year ago, alike me and you, made a responsible and courageous act for this country, they voted at the referendum for the resignation of the President. The fact that we were 90 percent, it was not enough. I want to say once again how much I appreciate what those who came to vote, dared to do, and the fact that we are further on compelled to implement the ideals of these people for a better Romania, a more stable economically and socially Romania and a Romania in which abuses of an abusive and unpopular system to be as rare as possible. It still happens, I see with great sorrow, but I hope to be as rare as possible and to find in the future all ways whereby we implement what people wanted last year, on July 29.
I return to rectification, by the way linked to what we pledged in the campaign and people gave us their confidence. By rectification, I repeat, it is not money for everything we wanted to do. There are nevertheless some of the most important things.
First of all, we have the VAT cut at bread. I rely on the fact that being a partnership between Government and producers, it will prove that what we have always said, namely that a 9 percent VAT does not mean less money to budget, but combating tax evasion and even additional cashing or decrease in the bread price. If this first project proves successful, it means that next year or whenever we will have the necessary conditions, we can extend it to basic food.
It is very important for us not to be alone now, only the Government on the one hand, all producers and in the end, each of us, those who buy a bread, to ask the receipt to that bread, to prove that it is a fairer tax system. 9 percent does not mean only losses to the budget, but a stimulating way to combat evasion and decrease the tax pressure on producer. As we kept our word in many other respects, last time with pensions for those who lost in the military and domestic system, the same we attain other important objective, that with VAT on bread and I want to believe that this is not only a moral repair, but a successful project.
We have money earmarked for the Healthcare Ministry. We covered not collection from the claw back tax and there are more than 500 millions, through Healthcare Ministry, they go to National House, for medicines. Also, the money necessary for the continuation and completion of works to the highest number or as many of the maternity wards possible…We succeed so many, Minister, with 90 millions…

Eugen Nicolaescu
We hope 12 this year.

Victor Ponta
12 in this year. There remains.

Eugen Nicolaescu
Of the 20 that we have contracted.

Victor Ponta
How many?

Eugen Nicolaescu
There remain 8 until next year.

Victor Ponta
Eight to be finished next year. Alike, for schools, we earmarked some two weeks ago, nearly 70 millions for microbuses, now, you have 40 millions for the works continuation at schools contracted with the World Bank. I hope some of them to finish by September 15, the others until the end of the year.
There are also other Ministries that received what was absolutely necessary. At Justice, besides the functioning of the National Authority of Penitentiaries, we have money earmarked for the implementation of the new codes. I think that, on our MCV area, we fulfilled all our expectations and responsibilities and they do not further depend on us. Regarding Interior, I know 70 millions are not enough, Minister, but they are good anyhow…
I would like to mention 38 millions from Lottery profit to finalize the sports halls and ANL works.
There are some other allocations for culture too, I think we solve what is hottest, Minister. First of all, we have money for the National Theatre; we earmarked some money for Romanian Opera. We start to cover the things contracted time ago – our curse, we keep on paying old things. We have the money to close the PNDI, Bechtel, to finalize the border securing contract and for the advance for multi-roll aircraft. Right?

Mircea Dusa
Even if we are not an economical Ministry, we made a serious contribution to budget income.

Victor Ponta
You made your contribution and you took it back.

Mircea Dusa
Not entirely.

Victor Ponta
We have safe borders, we have aircrafts too, let us see how we do further on to pay as least as possible from the past, and to focus from now on what hurts the most in healthcare, education. Minister Campeanu, we have the money for the Romanian Post, isn’t it?

Mariana Campeanu
The budget was indeed fed up at the National Agency for Employment and Professional Training (…).

Victor Ponta
For the persons that will be laid off from the Romanian Post, right?

Mariana Campeanu
…for unemployment benefits and for …

Victor Ponta
Well. I have no other good news to give upon rectification, I want to ask you all to understand that it is about our government solidarity and that, alike all time, any additional money we are trying to earmark according to priorities.
I want to tell other things. On transports. The soap opera from Cotroceni studio. I think we should be those serious. We drafted all documents; I will request you Mr. Secretary of State to give again to the press, the three decisions of CSAT regarding the CFR –Marfa. It is true that they are contradicting each other, but in all three, there was the same president of CSAT, I issued the fourth which argues very clearly that it should be sanctioned by the CSAT when it is about taking over the control on a company. I will deal along the future Minister of Transports, but I am the one responsible. I hope the privatization procedure ends well. It is not well completed because of those who create parties now, we have performance management and we resume the procedure so that we can give a future certitude for CFR – Marfa.
With tax at Cernavoda. Mr. Sova, it was issued in the weekend, it was a queue on Monday.

Dan Sova
We issued on Monday, until 2.00 p.m. during legal holidays, too, as it was queue (…).

Victor Ponta
The idea is the following/ I do not want this summer to pass so, with those queues, as we do not want people to be mocked at. We have a two hour Bucharest – Constanta motorway, and I stay two hours. Please, together with CNDR, draft a project for us to implement this autumn, in spring at the latest, as not to have problems in the summer, and we have to lift the barriers. I understand that maximum eight is possible…but maybe, you will think in time and I will ask you to implement this. Vulnerable consumers receive heating aids. It is warm now and we do not think about winter, but winter comes quickly and I want us to have all necessary legislation.

Regarding European funds, Minister, I know that you ask money today too, it has been cashed in, we give you back, because you cashed from the Commission. Explain once again with private beneficiaries that are no more obliged to undergo all those lengthy and complicate procedures. I want to congratulate you for having found the most accurate phrase with ….what did you say? All those who criticized us, they participated with nothing; they did not voice their opinion about the 2014 -2020 strategy. They tell us it is bad, but when you asked them how to draft it, they were at Ciresica.
Therefore, all ideas are welcome, for the strategy to be as good as possible.

Eugen Teodorovici
We did that.

Victor Ponta
You finally said a good thing, I wanted to congratulate you for that.

Eugen Teodorovici
I hope there are many, but finally, thank you for that too!

Victor Ponta
Therefore, the one having views, let them tell them to you, I saw you consulted Ministries, NGOs, institutions, but those criticizing you on tv, have not expressed yet their opinion, they have nothing to say, how to be better, if they are not satisfied with what we are doing.

Eugen Teodorovici: Usually those who know less, criticize more.
Victor Ponta: Yes, these are the best at criticisms.
The last thing that I want to say especially that for two weeks, we will not see each other in this formula. Mr. Vice Premier Oprea will be at the Government, you gave me a list of the Secretaries of State at Ministries if you are going on vacation. I want you to think for the autumn, after the holidays, it's not too early to start building strategy for a hundred years of Romania - 2018. It may seem early, but it is not. We need to make an evaluation, to see what we aim for 2018, what this country succeeded or not to doing in one hundred years.
I have my problem with the highway to link three regions.
We have not succeeded in one hundred years to connect Ardealul with Moldova and Muntenia. We may nevertheless build in time our objectives for 2018.

A last thing/ I want to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that you took a stand towards the statements not only irresponsible, in my point of view, but also with penal consequences made by Mr. Tokes, and other gentlemen over there. I regret the fact of not having a President of Romania to meet his constitutional duties and take a stand when the territory integrity and the independence of the Romanian state are attacked.
Please do it yourself! The President of the country has other preoccupations in this period. Please take official stand, to inform the European institutions when European lawmakers or officials of other state make statements and put forward things against our national and European interests. I repeat, if we had a President, this was his job, not having a President of Romania, please, do it in his place.

I want to tell it publicly that in my view, the statements of Tokes and all others, are not only insulting, but they come against criminal law.
Maybe at a certain time, somebody, not us, as judiciary is independent, but judiciary will see if such things can happen in a country that respects itself and in an European country.
Thank you the press. In the end, if there are other decisions too, we will let you know.