Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, February 1 - 7, 2018
In Parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies resumed their ordinary session on February 1st, 2018. The MPs elected the leadership of the two Standing Bureaus and the leaders of political groups in Parliament. On February 7, the Chamber of Deputies and Senate's joint session included: Preparations for the presidency of the EU Council, a draft Resolution for establishing an inquiry committee for the no-confidence vote against the Grindeanu Gov't, as well as a Resolution aiming to elect the members of the Committee tasked with controlling the Romanian Intelligence Services (SRI), among others. PSD Senator Titus Corlățean was appointed President of the Special Committee in charge of coordinating the parliamentary activities required for the preparation of Romania's Presidency of the EU Council.


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Fiscal Policies Review, January 29 - February 5, 2018
Last week’s fiscal domain was dominated by Form 600 (revenues other than wages). On January 31, the Gov’t adopted EO 2/2018 postponing the submission deadline until March. FinMin Teodorovici announced a new version for Form 600 that would reduce bureaucracy. PM Dăncilă (Feb. 4) gave a new deadline, March 1st, for the new Form replacing the current one. This new form is also going to be adopted through an Emergency Ordinance, raising the number of EOs needed for this single form to three (so far). Deputy PM Viorel Ștefan (Feb. 5) announced that those who did not submit Form 600 (no longer mandatory after GEO 2/2018), benefit from healthcare insurance, a measure which will be implemented through yet another GEO. Viorel Ștefan also announced that the bill on establishing the Sovereign Fund will be adopted this summer.


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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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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, January 25 - 31, 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. The new Government was sworn into office in a ceremony hosted by the Cotroceni Palace the same evening (19:30). In his speech Iohannis highlighted that this is PSD's third Government in a year, a Government that comes "after the double failure of the previous two Governments." Iohannis also expressed his hope that the ruling majority puts a stop to the "governmental hopping".


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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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