Weekly Policy and Political Report, September 24 - October 1, 2018
Romania's rule of law to be discussed in the European Parliament The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is to analyze on October 1st the situation in Romania concerning the rule of law, alongside VP of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. The plenary of the European Parliament (EP) is to discuss the issue on October 3rd and PM Viorica Dăncilă is invited to attend the session. On October 1st, MEP Claudia Țapardel from the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) released a statement criticizing the debates for this week, arguing that Romania is used as a scapegoat and ”is discriminated at the EU level”, with no sign of European unity on display. She added that a discussion on the priorities of Romania’s EU Council Presidency and the future of the EU would have been more productive. Furthermore, she accused the leader of the EPP group, Manfred Weber, of coordinating an “offensive” against the legitimately instated Gov’t of Romania, in the context of his aspiring to the Presidency of the European Commission.  Based on the upcoming debates, PNL Senator Alina Gorghiu requested the ruling coalition to issue a GEO in order to stop the entry into force of the amendments brought to the justice laws, seeing it as the only reasonable political solution at this time.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, 17-24 September 2018
The executive committee (CEx)of PSD convened on September 21st to vote on whether or not to remove President Liviu Dragnea from the helm of the party.  At the end of the meeting, Dragnea stated that there were only eight votes against him (compared to 56 proponents). He further commented that he did not want to propose a vote on the expulsion of Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea from PSD, but that ”no more insubordination shall be tolerated”.  Even the so-called ”dissidents” PSD VPs Paul Stănescu and Adrian Țuțuianu stated that the governing programme is to continue without any changes in the party’s ranks.  Nonetheless, the latter presented an internal survey reflecting the decreased voting preference for Liviu Dragnea.  At day’s end, Gabriela Firea rendered herself disappointed by the lack of support for their stance (“There were 25 signatures on the common declaration regarding the status of PSD; in the meeting, only 11 supporters remained”). On a related note, PNL is to analyze the opportunity of submitting a draft resolution for Dragnea’s removal from the Chamber of Deputies’ leadership.  President of the Pro Romania party, Victor Ponta, is to propose an amendment to the regulation of the Chamber that would echo PNL’s initiative and remove the President with the vote of a third of MP’s.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, 10-17 September 2018
PSD Governing Program: PSD released a schedule with its legislative priorities until the end of 2018. The Sovereign Development and Investment Fund, the draft GO on the Lobbying Law, "Investește în Tine" program, the draft Bill of the "Romania 2040" strategy and the GO on the Law of companies with the state as a majority shareholder are among the subjects on the agenda. The Three Seas Initiative Summit is hosted by President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest between the 17th and 18th of September. Its aim is to improve the interconnectivity between the Central and South-Eastern European countries that are in attendance, focusing on the transportation, energy and digital sectors.  The cohesion between all EU Member States and the US economic presence acting as a catalyzer for the region are also on the agenda.  In a message of support for the summit, US President Donald Trump reflected on the need to strengthen energy security and praised the efforts to construct gas pipelines in the region that would deepen integration. Cohesion Funds: For the 2021-2027 period, Romania could benefit from a 10% increase in cohesion funds if the Multiannual Financial Framework is approved as it is now, stated EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu, on September 15th.  She advocated for more responsibility in applying for EU funds, as well as reducing bureaucracy and enhancing administrative capacity.  Crețu expressed her disappointment with Romania’s inability to make proper use of EU funds, informing the press that only four projects concerning transportation infrastructure have been submitted since 2014. She highlighted the importance of the Sibiu-Pitești highway both for the country and the EU as a whole, naming it ”the missing link” in the European transportation section connecting the area from Rotterdam to Constanța. 


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, 3-10 September 2018
The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea, attended a talk-show on Antena 3 TV station where he mentioned the current pressing issues for the party (and for himself). The internal divide within PSD continued to grow after last week’s statements of Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea against Dragnea. The PSD leader also mentioned in passing the ruling coalition’s political priorities for the upcoming Parliamentary session: the Sovereign Development and Investment Fund, the laws on national security, referendum on redefining “the family”, the off-shore bill, the Romania 2040 strategy and the lobbying law. He reiterated his support for PM Viorica Dăncilă and the current Gov’t, even though an evaluation of ministers’ activity is expected to happen this week. He added that there is a distinct possibility that some ministers will be replaced by early October.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report 27 August - 3 Septembrie 2018
            On Monday, September 3, the Parliament convened in the Autumn legislative session. The main points on the ruling coalition’s legislative agenda are: the new pension law, amendments to the offshore law, the new pension law, the lobby law, the establishment of the National Agency for Wiretapping or the Romanian Agency for Strategic Investments and Exports, as well as the reexamination of the Criminal Codes and Justice Laws. The main priorities of the ruling coalition revolve around deep economic measures and significant amendments to the justice system.


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