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

27 September

Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon. I will start by pointing out the results of the working visit to Brussels, where I had meetings with several representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament. I had meetings with the chairs of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the European People's Party Group, the ALDE Group, and the Co-Chairs of the European Parliament's Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA).

The discussions were cordial, constructive and as open as possible. The message I conveyed to everyone I discussed with was that Romania is ready to responsibly manage European dossiers in our first mandate of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first semester of next year. In view of this mandate, I considered such dialogue to be necessary with all the political groups of the European Union's elected forum, as a first, at the member states level. We want a successful mandate, but we are equally interested in contributing to the consolidation of the European project, and this requires a consensus of all political forces, solidarity between member states and not new cleavages within the European Union.

I conveyed to the dialogue partners in Brussels the full availability for open dialogue with the representatives of the European institutions on all topics of interest, and I reaffirmed the the Romanian Government’s commitment to the democratic principles and values. Taking into account the debate scheduled for early October, in the European Parliament, I showed that, beyond the political disputes, Romania is one of the most pro-European states and has always observed its commitments to the European Union. I participated in Brussels in the meeting of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, where I had the opportunity to talk about the measures adopted at governmental level for promoting reforms at economic and social level, for boosting the living standards and stimulating investments. I emphasized that all these measures were aimed at Romania's economic revival, the achievement of social justice, the defense of citizens' rights and freedoms and the balancing of the state powers. The discussion about breaching the rule of law in Romania is a false topic, eminently political, and I brought arguments in this respect. As regards the amendments brought to the justice area, I highlighted that they were made with the observance of the European values, in agreement with the European directives, the Constitutional Court decisions, the ECHR [the European Court of Human Rights] jurisprudence and the recommendations of the Venice Commission. With respect to the protest that took place in Bucharest on  August 10, I stated that there is currently an ongoing investigation and that  we all should be equal in front of the law. If breaches of the legal framework occurred on either side, the guilty ones will be made accountable according to the law in force, but only a correct investigation can determine this. I have all the confidence that reason will manage to overcome all these manipulations or rumors intended to induce a wrong perception about the manner in which Romania implements the rule of law principles and the European values and principles. Boosting competitiveness is a constant preoccupation at EU level, and Romania should keep up to ensure the sustainability of the economic advance. Today, we have on today’s agenda an emergency ordinance which includes several measures required to improve the competitive environment, and implicitly, to ensure a competitive business climate in Romania, that would grant equal opportunities for business development. Amendments to legislation are designed to stop some abusive practices such as: repeated insolvencies with a view to evading the payment of obligations to partners and to state budget. We want to complete legislation for at least two reasons. Such a practice creates a non-competitive advantage to an economic agent in relation to its partners, as long as they do not pay their obligations to their partners and the state. At the same time, such an economic agent jeopardizes the jobs of its own employees and partners'  employees by avoiding effective reorganization measures. Financial data shows that current legislation needs to be corrected as quickly as possible. I come with two arguments. At present, more than 28,600 taxpayers with budgetary debts are under the incidence of the legislation on insolvency. Then, the amount of tax obligations accumulated after the entry in insolvency shows an increase by 15 percent compared to the value of arrears registered at the date of the entry into insolvency. In these conditions, we came up with a set of regulations to render more effective the procedure of insolvency. We consider both ensuring the conditions to redress the viable companies and protect public money by recovery of the debts to state budget. The future and quality of education that we provide to our children are inevitably linked to the continual adaptation of school to the technological evolution of upgrading teaching practice and the access to open educational resources. Today, we approve an extremely necessary Executive Decision, to offer as many children as possible in Romania the possibility to use in school, in the educational process, the information technology they are already familiar with. It is about a project in total amount of nearly 210 million lei whereby 4,500 secondary schools in the country will benefit from access to open interconnected data networks, including to internet, by means of a national integrate platform of the campus type. The new generations of pupils will be thus prepared for the digital era requirements, the project indirectly contributing to Romania fulfilling the target indicators from the EU digital agenda, namely until 2020, a percent of 50 percent of the pre-university educational institutions that use the web technologies and the open educational resources. We aimed that through this project implementation, we increase to 15 percent the share of teachers using internet in the teaching activity. A good share of the funds necessary to this project is formed by European money, respectively 177 million lei. In the healthcare field, today, we established the increase in the residency tuition figure, a decision that would contribute to preparing the medical specialized personnel in all country’s regions. We will increase the number of residency seats for 2018 -2019, from 5,000 to 5,415 in the context in which, for the previous year, there was  4,000 seats for the residency program. We want to bring other argument for improving the patients’access to medical services especially in disadvantaged areas from social –economic standpoint, by training an increasing number of specialists that would offer the necessary support for boosting the quality of the population healthcare. We want to ease the access of young doctors to the labor market and to ensure the necessary medical personnel for healthcare services granted in school clinics, ambulances services or operational centers. The employers hiring unemployed and persons from vulnerable groups and also the employees will benefit in short time of a consistent financial aid. We approve the implementation norms of the emergency ordinance whereby we increased subsidies granted to employers and employees. Therefore, we have a legislative framework and the necessary funds provided in the budget to meet the labor market expectations of stimulating the hiring of unemployed closer to retirement age, or who are for a long time in search of a job, as well as of the young graduates. I will give you some examples. In particular, the amount of the activation bonus granted to registered unemployed who do not benefit from the unemployment allowance is increased from 500 lei to 1,000 lei, in case they are hired full-time for a period of at least three months. Also, employers who enter into an apprenticeship or traineeship contract can benefit for the whole apprenticeship period, ie internship, of 2,250 lei per month for each trainee. This is a considerable increase, given that the amount previously granted was 1,125 lei per month for apprentices and 1,350 lei for graduates. Another measure: Employers employing young people at risk of social marginalization up to 26 years of age benefit monthly for a period of one to three years of an amount equal to the basic salary set at the time of employment for each individual. This aid is granted on the basis of a solidarity contract concluded by employer with the county employment agencies. There are good measures joining other decisions in the social field and whereby, we want to ensure good living standards for Romanians. We are permanently preoccupied with the situation of persons who are at risk of poverty, social exclusion and marginalization. Today, we come to support disadvantaged people through new relief measures. Low-income mothers at risk of abandonment will receive the necessary care products for the newborn first trimester. Homeless people will be offered clothing and footwear, sleeping bags and hygiene products. For all people in vulnerable categories, we will offer first –need products twice a year, as compared to once a year as they have received so far. These three measures are in line with the achievement of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the National Reform Program to reduce by 580,000 the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Spokesperson will detail the normative acts that we adopted on today's meeting. Thank you.

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