On May 20, the news broke that a draft bill on regulating privately administered mandatory pensions (Pillar II) is on the Gov’t’s legislative program for 2018. The official document reads that contributions for July – December 2018 are to be suspended. Minister of Labor Vasilescu promptly reacted and stressed that Pillar II will not be dissolved, while Ion Ghizdeanu, president of the Committee for Strategy and Forecast stated that publishing the information was only a material error. Immediate negative reactions to the news came, among others, from the Association for Privately Administered Pensions, Romanian Business Leaders, PNL’s Florian Cîțu, and former PM Victor Ponta. On Monday, May 21, PSD’s Liviu Dragnea said that Pillar II may or may not be suspended based on Gov’t’s assessment.
On May 15, Deputy PM Viorel Ștefan held a press conference where he presented the status of the Romanian economy in 2018’s first quarter. Among the main points presented by the official: pensions’ fund deficit reduced to less than half of its value in 2016, the country’s economic growth ranks fifth among the 28 EU countries, the number of unemployed individuals reduced by 92,000 since 2017, 695,000 Romanians are no longer in the poverty risk zone. Deputy PM Ștefan stated that the Government aims for investments to be become the main economic engine in 2018.
On May 16, PM Dăncilă announced a new state aid scheme. The program is designed to support foreign investments of more than EUR 10 million. The PM sees the new program as a clear signal that the Government wants to encourage major investments in Romania.
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