Weekly Policy and Political Report, Political Evolutions July 23 – 30, 2018
  On July 24th, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated that the referendum for redefining the current meaning of the term “family” from the Constitution is to be held either on September 30th or in the first week of October. He believes that the Senate should vote on the issue immediately after the end of the Parliamentary recess in September because 3 million citizens support the initiative. On a related note, Dragnea also mentioned that in autumn a separate discussion should be started on a law that deals with civil partnership. “I never was and never will be intolerant (…) We need to clarify the notion of family, but also that of “civil partnership”. Dragnea stated, however, that he maintains some reservations with regards to the possibility of same-sex couples to launch an adoption claim. According to ALDE Vice-President Andrei Gerea, the party is not opposed to the referendum but does not consider it a priority. In his view, economic issues should take the forefront. On the other hand, opposition parties claim that the referendum is just a smoke screen to distract voters from the real issues at hand (e.g. the justice laws).


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Fiscal Policies Review July 23 - 30, 2018
Discussions over the fiscal amnesty continued over the past week, FinMin Teodorovici highlighting that it will only include state-run companies with historical debts, and that erasing individuals’ debts, albeit his party colleagues, are out of the question. According to the FinMin, erasing state-run companies’ debts would help them resume their economic activity. Taking into account the deficit increase, an issue that has a potential snowball effect, FinMin Teodorovici presented alternative sources for public finances: insolvencies, cigarette smuggling & VAT recoveries. It is expected that the Gov’t amends insolvency legislation, fact also confirmed by PM advisor Darius Vâlcov. A growing public presence, Vâlcov presented the main lines the Gov’t is expected to pursue this autumn: insolvencies, Pillar II pensions, and the Sovereign Fund. Last Monday (July 23) PM Viorica Dăncilă presented her cabinet’s six month report. The overall positive conclusions highlighted investment and wage increases. More so, the Gov’t shows that revenues to the budget spiked by 12% in Q1 2018 against Q1 2017. However, also last week, the FinMin presented rather worrisome figures on the budget deficit which spiked to 1.61% in June, from 0.88% in May.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report Political Evolutions July 16 - 24, 2018
Six months into her term, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă presented a review of her Cabinet’s activity. The 47-slide presentation covered topics ranging from macroeconomics (total budget revenues, tax revenue, deficit to the pension fund, EU funds absorption rate, public investments, FDI, unemployment rate) to social measures, de-bureaucratization, healthcare, education, agriculture, local development, strategic investments. The self-assessment focused exclusively on positive figures: higher revenues to the budget (+12%), a lower deficit to the pension fund, EU funds absorption rate spiked to 19%, RON 9.1 billion in public investments, and a solid increase of FDIs (EUR 2.21 billion in Q1 2018. The pension point was increased to RON 1100, and the minimum pension is now RON 640 instead of RON 520. When it comes to infrastructure and stimulating the economy, the PM pointed at the amended legislation on public procurement and at the new legislation on PPP, legislation that is designed to drive projects forward.             The only downturn was in income tax which dropped from RON 14.5 billion in Q1 2017, to RON 11.7 billion in Q1 2018. “You all know that this is due to the decreased income tax from 16% to 10%. (…) On the other hand, the transfer of social contributions from employers to employees brought RON 12.6 billion compared to Q1 2017.”


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Fiscal Policies Review, July 16 - 23, 2018
In an intervention for a national news station from July 17, FinMin Eugen Teodorovici said that the Executive will adopt measures on fiscal amnesty only if such measures prove to be helping the economy and if there will be no objections from the EC. Minister Teodorovici argued that out of the RON 100 billion total value of fiscal debt, only RON 17 billion are recoverable. Previously that day, sources within the Ministry of Finances, had spoken about the same conditions, adding that the measure will apply for companies and individuals who were in debt up until December 31, 2018. An article published by Focus Energetic on July 19, claimed that the legislative proposal for capping gas prices will result in the dismissal of Bogdan Chirițoiu, president of the Competition Council. Later that day, the Ministry of Public Finances retracted the draft resolution from their website, with FinMin Teodorovici explaining that the subject will be approached once again when everybody will be ready. On July 22, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea announced that the new Pensions’ Bill will be discussed by the Government this year, following to be implemented starting 2021. On July 23, PM Dăncilă presented an activity review of the first 6 months from the activity of her Cabinet. ·   The National Prognosis Committee revised downwards the 2018 economic growth estimation, from 6.1% down to 5.5%. ·   A press release issued by the Ministry of Public Finances on July 20, shows that ANAF had a 13.5% increase in budgetary revenue collection in the first semester of 2018, compared to the same period in 2018. ·   On July 18. State Secretary within the Ministry of Finances Attila Gyorgy answered an interpellation regarding the Sovereign Fund.   ARRIVED   A draft Government Resolution on approving the 2018 National Statistics Program was adopted by the Executive on July 17. GEO no. 73/2018 on amending GEO 109/2011 on corporate governance was adopted by the Government and published in the Official Gazette. The draft bill on approving the GEO was registered with the Senate.     DEPARTURES Law no.  177/2018 on correlating legislation with the changes implemented by GEO 79/2017 was published in the Official Gazette. Law no. 181/2018 on approving GEO 1132017 was published in the Official Gazette.    


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, July 4 - 18, 2018
The Parliament ends the extraordinary session this week on July 19; this means that until either a new extraordinary sitting is called, or the autumn ordinary session begins, the Government cannot adopt Emergency Ordinances. The Gov’t scheduled one last Sitting during which it can pass Emergency Ordinances for Thursday, July 19, the last day of this summer’s extraordinary parliamentary session. There is a possibility that the Parliament is called in an extraordinary session at the end of August. Over the past couple of days national media outlets covered rumors according to which the Government prepares an Emergency Ordinance on pardoning and amnesty; the rumored GEO was labeled a “second GEO 13”. G4Media broke the news on Monday July 16 citing governmental sources according to which JustMin Tudorel Toader had a meeting with PM Dăncilă. G4Media’s sources argue that PSD’s Liviu Dragnea is pushing for the adoption of the GEO. The same day, Minister Toader also met with Senate Speaker Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (ALDE). Allegedly, Tăriceanu does not endorse the GEO.


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