Weekly Policy and Political Report, January 18-22
Debates over the modification of the electoral legislation continued over the past week, with the two main politic parties taking opposite sides in the debate over the two-round local elections to be held on June 5. PNL demanded PM Dacian Cioloș to pass an emergency ordinance modifying the electoral law for the locals to a two-round system, while PSD strongly opposed this request, arguing that it is unconstitutional to amend the electoral law during the election year. On the other hand, Constitutional Court Judge Augustin Zegrean informed that as long as the elections are organized in a democratic manner, the number of rounds or the modification of the law are political matters that do not interfere with the provisions of the Constitution.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, January 11-15, 2016
Last week confirmed the positive economic outlooks for Romania in 2016, with an anticipated growth of 3.9% this year, the highest growth rate in Europe. Also, World Bank and IMF announced the continuation of their cooperation with Romania, and in the case of IMF, a new representative in the person of Reza Baqir. World Bank and the Government have signed a Memorandum that will enable the international financial institution to continue providing technical assistance services to Romanian public institutions until 2023. This agreement comes in the context in which PM Dacian Cioloș announced a reorganization of the public authorities along EU standards. The agreement also comes in line with the main aims of the technocratic Cabinet, namely modernization of the state apparatus and reshaping the relation between citizens and public authorities, and the absorption of EU funds, since the assistance services will be financed via the European Structural and Investment Funds, within the 2014-2020 period.


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Progress Report on Fiscal Policies January 11-15, 2016
The most important topic of the past week has been the publishing in the Official Gazette of the Implementing Rules of the Fiscal Code, which clarify and detail the methodology for tax legislation. As a novelty, the Government informed that these rules include concrete examples, in order to ensure the coherent and simple implementation of the new Fiscal Code. The Ministry of Finance had already announced in December that implementing rules focus on "concrete examples for the interpretation of certain provisions of the Fiscal Code”. Although fiscal methodologies are designed along the line of transparency and efficiency, representatives of the business environment criticized fiscal authorities for being 'out of touch' with the realities of the market.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, January 4-8, 2016
The beginning of the year officially marked the entrance into an electoral year that has to offer a series of novelties when it comes to both electoral legislation, and political forces taking part in the elections. Also confirmed by PM Dacian Cioloș, one of the technocratic Government’s top priorities is to ensure fair and orderly elections, a challenging task given the changes brought to the electoral process. PM Cioloș also announced that he would not run in the elections, and insisted that the upcoming elections must be an example of good organization, considering that Romanians can vote for the first time via postal voting.


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Progress Report on Fiscal Policies, January 4-8, 2016
The most important topic of the past week has been the coming into effect of the Fiscal Code. According to the new Fiscal Code, 2016 comes with lower prices on products and services given the VAT rate decrease to 20% and in some cases of up to 9%, as well as the cut on the tax on dividends to 5%. Having to meet investors' need of a stable and predictable fiscal policy, the Government faces a major fiscal change, namely the decision of whether no-income individuals should contribute to the social insurance program. The Government is currently considering removing the contribution to the public health services fund for persons who have no income, and in this way amending the Fiscal Code. According to the proposed provisions, people with no reported income should pay health contributions amounting to 5.5% of the minimum gross wage, or RON 57 (EUR 12.6) per month. So far the Government has only expressed such an intention, as the actual change is yet to be taken.  


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