Statements by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting

29 August

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Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon! Romania’s economic interests promotion requires the support of our ambassadors and consuls too, that I had the pleasure to meet at the beginning of this week. I presented them the Government’s priorities and the important projects that we have, in the perspective of the takeover and exercise of the presidency of the Council of the EU. I placed a special emphasis on strategic investments, attracting foreign investments and enforcing measures for the absorption of European funds, and the development of large-scale public-private partnership projects.

Another message I wanted to highlight is related to the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Romania will successfully rely on the exercise of the presidency for strengthening its role and credibility as EU member state. The Cabinet that I am leading is firmly committed to the preparation efforts for the takeover and exercise of the presidency of the Council of the EU, in order to prove for the first time since accession, how we translate into reality our country’s pro-European political vision and how we will support by action the European interest.

Support measures granted on time to farmers produced the expected effects. In the first seven months of the year, Romanian farmers benefited from 2.29 billion euros from European funds, amounts actually invested in agriculture and rural development. By the end of the year, an additional amount of one billion euros will be earmarked for Romanian agriculture, and this year we will reach 3.29 billion euros -European money earmarked for financing agriculture. The results of good measures in this sector are already visible.

In terms of summer harvest, Romania obtained for the first time over 10.2 million tons of wheat, although, as we know, it was not a year favorable to agriculture from the weather point of view.

Estimates of the results of autumn crops are encouraging, with a beneficial impact on food security of the population, but also from the perspective of the weight of this sector and the food industry in GDP.

Last year, for instance, agriculture contributed by 0.7 percentage points to Romania's economic growth of 6.9%. We expect that this year too, this sector will contribute to GDP growth. In addition, during the first five months of this year, we recorded a trade surplus of 150 million euros in foreign trade with agricultural products, with agriculture contributing by 8.2% to Romania's total exports. Here is another reason to support investments in this sector from national and European funds.

With respect to the continuation of some important investment in rural development, on today’s meeting agenda, we have a memorandum on a 450 million euros loan to be contracted from EIB. The funds are for the co-financing of projects from European funds, i.e. through the National Rural Development Program 2014-2020. The loan agreement was negotiated with the support of the Ministry of Public Finance in advantageous conditions for Romania.

Today, we are approving the substantiation study on the construction and operation of the Ploiesti-Comarnic-Brasov motorway segment, as well as the operation of the Bucharest-Ploiesti highway. The substantiation study was drawn up in line with the provisions of Emergency Ordinance no.39 / 2018 on public-private partnership. As you know, the substantiation study for this strategic investment project, decided to be carried out in public-private partnership, was discussed in a first reading in a previous Cabinet meeting. The awarding procedures and competitive dialogue with investors will start in September in order that we will manage to sign this particularly important contract by the end of this year. The highway connects the capital with Braşov, crossing the Sinaia-Buşteni-Azuga-Predeal tourist axis. The design and implementation are estimated to last maximum four years starting 2019. At the same time, state bonuses are also provided, if the construction works are completed in advance, and also penalties for an eventual delay.

The private investor will operate the highway for 20 years. The estimated total cost of this investment amounts to about EUR 1.36 billion.

The National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis also has other studies for the public-private partnership projects and, as they will be finalized, they will be approved in the Government. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Government Spokesperson will detail the normative acts we will adopt on today's Cabinet meeting.



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