Weekly Political Report February 12 - 19, 2018
Social Democratic leadership convened on Wednesday, February 14 in a National Executive Council (CExN). At the end of the political meeting, PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea announced that 27 Secretaries of State (out of a total number of 96) are going to be replaced after they have not pass the evaluation conducted by the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition. ALDE’s Călin Popescu Tăriceanu confirmed that 4 ALDE Secretaries of State are going to be replaced. Also before Wednesday’s meeting Dragnea denied rumors about a DNA-DIICOT merger. At the end of the meeting PM Dăncilă also denied rumors about this merger. Apart from the replacement of Secretaries of State, Dragnea also announced that PSD’s Extraordinary Congress is scheduled for March 10 or 17. Reconfirming Liviu Dragnea’s position within PSD is on the agenda of the announced Congress, and PSD is also expected to elect new vice-presidents. A number of SocDem leaders were surprised to hear about the Extraordinary Congress scheduled for mid-March.


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Weekly Political Report February 5 - 12, 2018
PM Viorica Dăncilă met with US Ambassador Hans Klemm on Monday, February 12. The visit comes after last week Hans Klemm suggested he should meet the new PM as he knew little to nothing about her. During the meeting the two officials reviewed the Strategic Partnership, Dăncilă pledging to expand it especially in its economic aspects.             At the end of the Permanent National Bureau (BPN) held on Monday (February 12), Liviu Dragnea stated that the evaluation of Secretaries of State is going to be the only point on the agenda of the National Executive Committee (CExN) scheduled for Wednesday, February 14. Dragnea added that the Government is expected to propose a reorganization of several institutions. However, Viorica Dăncilă said that so far there was no talk about merging Governmental institutions.


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Weekly Political Report, January 29 – February 5, 2018
President of the European Council Donald Tusk sent an official letter to PM Dăncilă (January 30) congratulating her on new position. Tusk's message also included a fair warning: "The rule of law and irreversible progress of the fight against corruption, in accordance with the high standards of the Romanian society, remain essential for ensuring that all Romanian citizens fully benefit from all opportunities of EU member." A similar message was delivered by Jean-Claude Juncker: "The #EU would not be complete without Romania, nor would #Romania be complete without the anchor of EU values", Juncker tweeted.  The letters sent by the two officials do more than congratulate Viorica Dăncilă for her new position, as they reinforce EU institutions’ interest and focus on the policies adopted by the Romanian Government. Dăncilă herself stated that she wants to “expand the European dimension of governance.”


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Weekly Political Report January 22 - 29, 2018
With 282 “for”, 136 “against” and one abstention the Parliament validated the Government proposed by PSD-ALDE on Monday, January 29, 2018. This is the third PSD – ALDE Government validated in Parliament within a year. After Mihai Grindeanu and Mihai Tudose who averaged a six-month term, Viorica Dăncilă takes over the Government.               After the Dăncilă Government was validated in Parliament, the new Government is sworn into office in a ceremony hosted by the Cotroceni Palace. The Presidential Administration announced the swearing-in ceremony for Monday, January 29, at 19:30.             President Klaus Iohannis leaves Romania on January 31. President Iohannis goes to Brussels and has scheduled meetings with Jean-Claude Juncker. Also that day, Iohannis and Juncker are going to hold a joint press statement, most likely on matters pertaining to Justice. Later that day, Iohannis meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk and EPP chairman Joseph Daul.             In Parliament the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies resume their ordinary session starting with February 1st 2018.             The new Government is expected to hold its first weekly sitting on January 31. Form 600 is most likely going to be on the agenda. During his hearing in the Joint Committees for Budget, Minister for Public Finances Eugen Teodorovici suggested that a normative act designed to avoid wages in IT to go down (after the transfer of social contributions) could also be included on Government’s agenda. Although first talks on this issues included the possibility of granting a form of state aid for IT companies so that they do not have to cover the cost of transferring contributions, FinMin Teodorovici stated that he does not prefer this option.             The new Government comes after two previous governments fell in six months. The Dăncilă Government also comes after a positive economic period, and is tasked with preparing for the Centennial and for the Romanian presidency of the EU Council. The last two events have a deep symbolic charge which could be exploited by the political opposition. 2018 is also a pre-electoral year situation which could revive political arguments. At the same time, the evolution of justice reforms proposed by the ruling majority may also turn into a liability, as it could result in the loss of access to European Funds (if Romania goes down the same path as Poland and the EC acts accordingly).


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Special Political Report - Proposed Government, January 29, 2018
The Parliament was summoned in an extraordinary session for Monday, January 29, to validate the new Government proposed by PSD-ALDE ruling majority. Proposed Ministers' hearings are to take place from 08:00 to 14:00. Next on the agenda, starting with 15:00, the designated PM is to present the Governing Program 2018-2020 and the list of ministers, followed by debates and the investiture vote in the joint plenum. 


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