Fiscal Policies Review, May 21 - 29, 2018
On May 23, FinMin Teodorovici announced that by the end of June, beginning of July, a new concept on Pillar II will be presented to the public. A broad discussion concerning the issue will take place over the following “one or two weeks”. Also on May 23 evening, FinMin Teodorovici held a press conference; main points: public procurement and the introduction of centralized procurement. On Friday, May 25, FinMin Teodorovici came back on the subject and said that Pillar II is currently under analysis in order to be improved, however contributions will not be suspended. Initially Gov’t’s Legislative Agenda read that payments were suspended for six months (July – December). The Ministry of Public Finances published a press release stating that the Government does not intend to dissolve Pillar II, and that the EC has not been informed of such intentions, contradicting PNL Senator Cîțu’s claims. Divergences over the subject are expected to continue.             The EC country specific recommendation was received (May 23), as expected, with mixed views. Dan Nica, leader of Soc-Dem MEPs argued that it contradicts all “alarmist news” and that it confirms that Romania does not face short-term fiscal sustainability risks. On the opposite end, Dan Barna, USR leader, stated that the European Commission, naturally ascertains that Romania is in “full economic and justice slippage”.  


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Progress Report on the Priorities of the European Commission, May 16 - 23, 2018
A press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that it has taken note of specific country recommendations published by the European Commission in the framework of the European Semester 2018 and will coordinate the process of drawing up the national position on this issue in order to secure active participation in the decision-making process, which will result the Council of the European Union adopting such recommendations. According to the release, in the period immediately ahead, the proposals for recommendations submitted by the European Commission will be subject to an in-depth analysis at the level of the ministries responsible for the areas concerned so that the concrete implementation measures can be identified.


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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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