Weekly Policy and Political Report Political Evolutions August 6 – 13, 2018
On Friday, August 10, approximately 100,000 people gathered in Victoria Square to challenge the current Gov’t coalition. Contrary to other such rallies from the past, this one was marked by violent incidents (e.g. the gendarmes used pepper spray and water cannons on protesters). At day’s end, several hundred people had received emergency care. However, despite protests continuing throughout the weekend and gathering tens of thousands of people, no other major occurrences have been noted. As expected, reactions from the whole political spectrum followed suit. On the one side, there is President Klaus Iohannis and opposition parties PNL, USR and PMP, all of which are (somewhat) overtly proponents of the protests. On the other side, intuitively, the ruling coalition tries to discredit the rally. 


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Fiscal Policies Review, August 6 - 13, 2018
On August 6, the Ministry of Public Finances put up for debate the budget adjustment (general budget & social insurance budget). The official press release informs that the positive adjustment keeps under the deficit target (2.97%) with a GDP growth of 5.5%. In nominal terms, the GDP advanced to RON 945 billion from the initial estimation of RON 907.9 billion. As announced by PM Dăncilă in the sitting held on August 2 when the adjustment was first presented, additional funds go to local budgets (RON 1,125.9 million), Ministry of Health (RON 333.6 million), Ministry of Finances (RON 1,278.8 million), Ministry of Interior, National education, Transports, Agriculture, SGG, FNUASS, Social Insurance Budget. On August 6, the Central Bank decided to maintain the key interest rate at 2.5%. Two days later BNR Governor Mugur Isărescu presented the August report on inflation. The main message was against stimulating the demand, as it will lead to higher imports. The Governor also pointed out that the GDP growth is rather closer to the 4% tier than to the 5.5% announced by the Government. In the context of the budget adjustment and of the growing risk of exceeding the deficit, considering BNR’s warnings on inflation, the Government put up for debate the new Pension Law. According to Minister of Labor Lia Olguța Vasilescu, the retirement age remains unchanged. The pension budget will also have to be increased by RON 15 billion by 2022, Minister Vasilescu also highlighted on Friday, August 10, as “pensions will be doubled.”


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, Political Evolutions, July 30 – August 6, 2018
Dragnea’s Antena 3 interview In an interview for Antena 3 TV station, PSD President Liviu Dragnea presented the characteristics of the upcoming pension law which, according to him, is to double the current amount of each pension by 2021. He also mentioned the possibility of starting impeachment proceedings against President Klaus Iohannis, adding that a document accusing him of high-treason is being compiled. Dragnea’s rather vitriolic reaction came just after President Iohannis attended National Liberal Party’s National Council. Iohannis at PNL National Council President Klaus Iohannis attended PNL’s National Council where he tackled the ruling coalition’s governing program and the recurrent subject of rule of law abuses, as well as the artificial growth of salaries and pensions.  He urged PNL to take action and to continue to challenge PSD & ALDE’s initiatives that damage Romania’s credibility both internally and abroad.


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Fiscal Policies Review July 30 - August 6, 2018
In an interview for DCNews, FinMin Teodorovici argued that the minimum wage should only be enforced to public administration and not to private companies. Two days later, Minister of Labor Lia Olguța Vasilescu contradicted Teodorovici, stressing that the minimum wage will not be eliminated. On the other hand Teodorovici’s statement gained traction from the business environment, the Association of Romanian Businessmen calling for public debates on the issue of maintaining or eliminating the minimum wage. On Wednesday, August 1st, the Constitutional Court of Romania published the motivation behind the decision of unconstitutionality of the Draft Bill for the creation of the Development and Investment Sovereign Fund (FSDI). CCR’s decision highlights that regardless of the legal nature of FSDI, its establishment must be enacted as an administrative measure, (Gov’t’s decision) and not through a law adopted in Parliament. On July 18, the Court ruled that the Fund must be established through Gov’t Resolution. The National Council for SMEs (CNIPMMR) argued against the establishment of the Fund, deeming it illegal.              


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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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