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

04 October

Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon! Before approaching today’s meeting agenda, I will make a presentation of the discussions I have had over the last two days, in Strasbourg. I conveyed a very clear message which I resume now: Romania maintains its European course and observes the rule of law. Romania has been and shall remain pro-European and nobody will be able to change this course. Nevertheless, I drew the attention that there is a lot of disinformation about our country, and the internal political struggle has no place at the forefront of an institution like the European Parliament. Those behind this disinformation are doing bad, overlooking what the Government has done so far, the measures that generated an economic growth of 7% and placed the Romanian economy at the top, at the European level.

A lot has been talked lately about justice, about the anti-corruption fight, but those who drew up the MCV reports ignored the effects of secret protocols between intelligence services and justice institutions. We proved that the existence of these protocols produced some breaches of human rights: millions of Romanians under surveillance by the secret services in the name of the anti-corruption fight, court rulings vitiated by the pressure of cases against magistrates, some being revoked, afterwards they were acquitted or the cases were closed; cases in court, based on falsified evidence.

The EU officials admitted for the first time that an investigation is  necessary to clarify the way in which these protocols influenced the act of justice. The interference in the justice act is unacceptable. Justice should guarantee the observance of the law, of the citizens’ rights and the independence of magistrates. This is what the amendment of the justice laws aims at. We gave assurances that we act in good faith, and that we want a fair and impartial justice system for Romania, and the amendments to legislation are compatible with undertaken commitments, with the EU regulations.

To this end, we will continue the dialogue that we have with the European institutions, with the experts of the Venice Commission. As I mentioned yesterday, Minister Tudorel Toader had a meeting with the representatives of the Venice Commission. Romania takes part to all current mechanisms and will take into account the recommendations. Those who disinform, forgot to mention exactly the Romanian Government’s openness to dialogue.

I brought up also the topic related to the way the Gendarmerie acted against some violent protestors at the August 10 protest. I brought arguments in this respect and requested that Romania be treated equally to the other member states.  I discussed about all these topics in Strasbourg with the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, with the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans. I consider that the intervention in the European Parliament and the talks in Strasbourg represented a good opportunity to show our arguments in an official framework. For a dialogue to be constructive, all parties involved should be heard.

There are only a few more days until the referendum for the revision of the Constitution, on the redefinition family. The Government took all necessary measures, both legislative and as regards the provision of funds. The authorities are on schedule as regards technical preparations. We want to ensure the best possible organization of this public consultation, so that the citizens’ opinion be faithfully reflected by the result of the vote. This ample consultation takes place following a society’s demarche, and is not directed against a minority.

The theme of the family has powerful resonance within our traditional values ​​and the consciousness of the Romanian people. I am confident that state institutions will do their duty to ensure the proper organization and  unfolding of the referendum.

The Start Up Nation 2017, launched by the PSD-ALDE government, has met its goal. Through this program over 8,000 companies have been set up in sectors with multiplier effect in economy, manufacturing, creative industries, services and IT. Most of the entrepreneurs who started up businesses through Start Up Nation are young people aged between 21 and 40 and currently offer jobs to over 21,000 people. It is also encouraging that over 80% of the newly created jobs are occupied by people in the target categories, I refer to the unemployed, young graduates, disabled people. We will continue this important program for the development of the Romanian business environment and we will improve it in order to give the entrepreneurs the chance to turn their ideas into successful business. We will allocate budget resources of 2 billion lei, so that we grant the non-reimbursable financing of 200,000 lei per each beneficiary, for 10,000 companies. The program for starting the second edition of the Start Up Nation has already been launched in public debate. This project is built based on the experience of Start Up Nation 2017 and meets better  the wishes and needs estimated by entrepreneurs at the start of their business. It will be a clearer program, with a simplified public procurement procedure, and the way it works with the beneficiaries will be uniform across the country, both in the case of regional agencies and partner banks. We want to encourage the launch of businesses in less developed geographical areas, in line with the sustainable development principles, enforced by the European Commission too and I trusted this program will meet the entrepreneurs’ expectations.

The Government that I am leading, constantly supports agriculture, a field with a significant impact, both economic and social. The good results in agriculture are determined to a large extent by timely agricultural works supported through the subsidies we are granting. Today, we adopt a Government Decision through which, starting October 16, the farmers in the plant and livestock sectors will receive an advance from the amounts related to direct payments per area, as well as from coupled aid for sheep and goats. Through this financial aid granted to farmers, nearly 2 billion euros will be allocated to agriculture, money coming from European funds.

Romanian tourism is a dynamic field, with growth potential. Data from the National Institute of Statistics shows that incentives such as holiday vouchers produce results and positive effects for the economy. The number of tourists accommodated in August 2018 was by almost 10% higher than in the same month of the previous year. Today, we will take an important decision to support this sector: reducing the value added tax rate for accommodation, restaurant and catering services to 5 percent, but also for the use of sports grounds, amusement parks and recreational   facilities. Romania will thus have the lowest VAT rate in the European Union in tourism, and experience from previous years proves that reducing this tax has positive effects in the economy.

We also support local authorities in need of funding for heat supply in the cold season. In this respect, local authorities can obtain loans in advantageous conditions from the Treasury within the limit of 450 million lei. These measures are aimed at ensuring an attractive business environment and at the same time respond to the need of funding public services. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Spokesperson will detail the normative acts adopted on today's meeting. Thank you



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