Press statements by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and the Government Spokesperson Alina Petrescu following the Cabinet meeting

08 March

Sorin Grindeanu: Allow me to start by wishing once again a Happy 8th March and to announce what you already know, that Ms. Alina Petrescu has been appointed Government Spokesperson, and also some punctual things, namely: over the next period, we will submit to public debate the prevention law. It is an extremely important law for us and not only for us, but for all economic agents.

As aforementioned, in addition to the control part that many agencies, ministries, institutions have, I think that counseling part should be developed too. Whereby this law that we will submit to public debate in the following days, we cover this extremely important part which in my opinion is a key condition to secure the economic development conditions.

An equally important law as I have announced, is a draft law that we are working on, the draft law on strategic investment. We have extremely important fields and I would remind three of them, namely: transports, energy and defense where the lack of such law entails certain deadlocks which stop or refrain public investments. To be more clear on transports, there are well-known preliminary pocedures which last many times more than the execution of the respective work. Whereby this law on strategic investments, we want large investments to be made in a very transparent framework while ensuring a more dynamic pace of what is happening at this moment.

The last point is related to the visit to Brussels, namely meeting of the heads of state and government, members in PES – Party of European Socialists, and surely, bilateral meetings already established with the Austrian Chancellor, with French President, Czech Prime Minister, and Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

Alina Petrescu: Allow me, Prime Minister. First of all, I thank the Prime Minister for the confidence placed in me, I thank you for the warm welcome, I know it will not last, but this is why I am here, to make sure we have a very transparent communication, very fluid and effective between Government and citizen, through you. Thank you very much for your presence here. The schedule is tight, there is little time, and we go to Brussels, three questions for the Prime Minister.

Sorin Grindeanu: Please.

Reporter: Good afternoon. Welcome, first of all. I would have a question for Mr. Grindeanu: Mr. Dragnea made a suggestion regarding your departure for Brussels, to have a discussion, tomorrow, before the Council, with President Iohannis. I know you said yesterday that you agreed with his opinion publicly expressed, but did you intend to telephone him, to meet there somehow, to discuss about Romania’s mandate?

Sorin Grindeanu: I had a discussion with President Iohannis, we have a common stand which I made public, so did the President, I enhance it. Therefore, this discussion took place.

Reporter: So, did you meet these days or had a telephoen discussion? If you can give us some details, that, usually...

Sorin Grindeanu: I met with Mr. President and we have a common stand. Thanks.

Reporter: Did you meet yesterday with the Finance Ministry and ANAF, with the 14 points presented by ANAF which may lead to improving the ANAF – taxpayer relationship. Did the ANAF representatives tell you once with that plan, what amount will reach the budget receipts as a result of implementing the 14 measures?

Sorin Grindeanu: Beyond the dry figures that those from ANAF have to reach anyway, I think more important are those 14 measures and the implementation deadline –April 15 for improving ANAF activity. Further to budget approval and of the activity they are performing, a schedule related to their monthly receipts(...). It is something that they will achieve. I have no question marks for the time being relative to this plan which was drafted every year and it is nothing new.

Surely, now, there are very big challenges because there have been very many measures adopted on the first Cabinet meetings, part of the programme for government, and of course, we intend to achieve more things as incomes and collection compared to previous government. This means of course streamlining the ANAF activity. These 14 measures are the first and their implementation deadline is April 15.

Reporter: I would like to ask you about a memorandum you had on the daily agenda, financial aid for former President Emil Constantinescu. Can you give us more details? Have there been other personalities that benefited from this financial aid earmarked from Education Ministry’s funds? Thank you.

Sorin Grindeanu: I have a simple answer: at least as long as I am Prime Minister, there has not been a similar point on the meeting agenda but it is not a first time. A similar memorandum was approved last year too. These things have been done, they are linked to promoting the Romanian educational system to whom former President Emil Constantinescu has contributed and still contributes like in the past years. The amount, around 15.000 lei is allocated from the Education Ministry’s budget.

Reporter: You are a member of PSD too. There is currently a scandal with the former Prime Minister Victor Ponta and one of his dissatisfactions was that you hold counsel with Victor Ponta, but you decide as Liviu Dragnea wants. He said he would tender his white resignation to PSD President. How do you comment this scandal and what do you think it should unfold?

Sorin Grindeanu: I think Victor Ponta should remain in PSD. He led one of the most performing governments after the revolution, he ran well not only one Cabinet but several even, there have been four if I am not mistaken. Briefly, my opinion is that Victor Ponta should remain in PSD, former president of PSD, and I think this will happen.

Alina Petrescu: Thank you very much.

Reporter: Linked to the strategic investment project, in addition to amendments you intend to make to the Procurement law, what other provisions do you have in mind?

Sorin Grindeanu: These provisions are linked to issues, but they will be subject to public debate, to issues that would very much simplify these procedures. It will not make them non-transparent, but more transparent, and simpler, I can give you very many practical examples in which, as I told you, the beginning, the pre-feasibility studies, the feasibility studies, the eventual expropriations, the design, so as to speak about infrastructure works, last many times more than the execution of that work. This is the departure framework. Three fields will be attained: transports, the army, defence and energy so that these strategic investments be performed in a transparent way and I underline this, in a transparent and more dynamic pace, so that, for instance, regarding transports, what is laid down in the Master Plan through the Government Decision issued last year, to be able to implement as I said, in a more alert way.

Reporter: I would have two additions if possible: first of all, regarding Victor Ponta, you said that he should remain in the party, he ran well the other four Cabinets, as you said, was it question for Victor Ponta to come up as member of Grindeanu Cabinet? Will he takeover a Ministry?

Sorin Grindeanu: These are speculations. Allow me not to answer to...

Reporter: Therefore, only speculation, is not...?

Sorin Grindeanu: You could see the changes in the Cabinet.

Reporter: Well, there could have been a discussion about it.

Sorin Grindeanu: Thank you!

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