Fiscal Policies Review, May 14 - 21, 2018
On May 20, the news broke that a draft bill on regulating privately administered mandatory pensions (Pillar II) is on the Gov’t’s legislative program for 2018. The official document reads that contributions for July – December 2018 are to be suspended. Minister of Labor Vasilescu promptly reacted and stressed that Pillar II will not be dissolved, while Ion Ghizdeanu, president of the Committee for Strategy and Forecast stated that publishing the information was only a material error.  Immediate negative reactions to the news came, among others, from the Association for Privately Administered Pensions, Romanian Business Leaders, PNL’s Florian Cîțu, and former PM Victor Ponta. On Monday, May 21, PSD’s Liviu Dragnea said that Pillar II may or may not be suspended based on Gov’t’s assessment. On May 15, Deputy PM Viorel Ștefan held a press conference where he presented the status of the Romanian economy in 2018’s first quarter. Among the main points presented by the official: pensions’ fund deficit reduced to less than half of its value in 2016, the country’s economic growth ranks fifth among the 28 EU countries, the number of unemployed individuals reduced by 92,000 since 2017, 695,000 Romanians are no longer in the poverty risk zone. Deputy PM Ștefan stated that the Government aims for investments to be become the main economic engine in 2018. On May 16, PM Dăncilă announced a new state aid scheme. The program is designed to support foreign investments of more than EUR 10 million. The PM sees the new program as a clear signal that the Government wants to encourage major investments in Romania.


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, May 9 - 16, 2018
The past week was dominated by a series of subjects that are expected to continue shaping the public agenda over the coming weeks. PM Viorica Dăncilă’s visit to Israel, reactions to Gov't's decision to relocate the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem, and more recently to Vatican generated debates over who holds prerogatives over Romania’s foreign policy. Whereas the President’s public intervention indicate that the Government does not have the authority to relocate the Romanian Embassy to Jerusalem or to represent Romania abroad, the ruling coalition argues that PM Dăncilă and President of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea have the liberty of meeting their counterparts whenever needed, without asking for Iohannis’ approval.


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, May 2 - 9, 2018
On May 7, President Klaus Iohannis made an official statement concerning the budgetary exercise of the first quarter of 2018. Iohannis used this opportunity to ask once more for PM Viorica Dăncilă's resignation, referring to the ruling coalition’s inability to propose a feasible economic program and arguing that the lack of predictability creates an unsafe environment for economic growth.   PSD President Liviu Dragnea reacted swiftly, rendering the President’s viewpoints as invalid, since "statistics" contradict him. Moreover, he added that Iohannis’ political goal was to justify his request for PM Dăncilă's resignation. Dragnea accused Iohannis of presenting "false economic data and lies” in order to cover that Dăncilă’s visit to Israel was in fact the cause behind Iohannis' request. Dragnea stressed that, according to him, there is no reason for the PM to resign, since the Governing Program is on track. 


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, April 25 - May 2, 2018
After last Friday, April 27, President Klaus Iohannis announced that he withdrew his confidence from the head of the Government PM Viorica Dăncilă and asked for her resignation, reactions from relevant actors continued making headlines. Prime-Minister Dăncilă stated there is no inter-institutional conflict between the Gov’t and BNR, mentioning that she is to have a meeting with the bank’s governor sometime this week. Dăncilă stressed that Iohannis’ end goal is to destabilize the relationship between the Gov’t and the Presidential administration, while purportedly aiming to “mediate an imaginary dispute” between the Executive and BNR. Dăncilă also dismissed an eventual unexpected visit from the President to a Gov’t sitting, underscoring that Iohannis’ right to be there dependends on whether a subject on the agenda requires an intervention from the head of state.


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission,  April 18 - 25, 2018
On April 20, the Government put up for public debate a Draft Bill approving the long-term "Strategy for Romania 2040”. The document provides for the establishment of a committee chaired by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, currently PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea, whose purpose is to elaborate upon the country’s socio-economic priorities and public policies of strategic importance. This steering committee for the "Romania 2040" Strategy is to begin working on June 1st, 2018, and is scheduled to reach its conclusions by June 2019.


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