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

09 January

Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon! Happy New Year! Today’s Cabinet meeting is the first this year and the first in the new capacity of the Executive as coordinator of the entire process of exercising the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

It is an honor and a responsibility for Romania, but also for our government team. As Prime Minister, I will coordinate the exercise of the Presidency, with the full and active involvement of all of my colleagues in the Cabinet. There are issues discussed and prepared in detail. Mr. George Ciamba, the Minister Delegate for European Affairs, presented yesterday in Brussels, during the first session of the General Affairs Council in the rotating presidency’s mandate, Romania’s priorities during the six-month period in which we will hold the rotating presidency. Tomorrow and Friday, we will receive the visit of the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Parliament, the members of the College of European Commissioners and together we will mark the official launch in Bucharest of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in two symbolic buildings for our country, the Romanian Athenaeum and the Victoria Palace. At the beginning of next week, on Monday and Tuesday, to be more specific, I'll have several official meetings in Strasbourg and I'll present in the plenary sitting of the European Parliament the priorities of our Presidency's mandate. We are fully aware of the opportunity we have to act together for Romania and for the EU. We are ready at both the technical and political level. I hail the initiative of the Ministry of Communications that launched through Romfilatelia a stamp issue dedicated to Romania's presidency of the EU Council.

I assure you that we will fulfill our part of unbiased mediator, consensus' facilitator, that we will have as priorities the challenges that exist at European level. I'm talking about Brexit, the post-Brexit future EU, the elections for the European Parliament, the Multiannual Financial Framework, the common agricultural policy, the cohesion policy - as traditional policies, as well as the new challenges linked to the foreign policy, migration, terrorism, current politics. Likewise, I want to assure you that each minister of the Cabinet has on their work table the dossiers at European level and that as of 21 January, they will attend the specialized committees' works of the European Parliament. Taking over the presidency takes place in the context of Romania's high and sustainable economic growth in 2018. I will give you some data to confirm this: Romania is among the first EU member states in terms of economic advance. The growth rate for the first 9 months of 2018 was 4.2 percent, double the European Union's economic advance of 2.1 percent. This growth adds to the 7 percent advance in 2017. The Romanian industry supports the sustainable economic growth. In the first ten months of 2018, the volume of industrial production increased by 4 percent compared to the same period last year. This was mainly due to the manufacturing industry, which recorded a 4.9 percent increase. I would also notice the industry turnover, which increased by 12.9 percent. Romania continues to gain new markets through more and more competitive exports in the European Union. In the first 10 months of 2018, Romania recorded an increase in exports by 9.2 percent, while in the 28 member states, exports increased by only 5.3 percent. Romania ranks 7th in terms of overall export dynamics, ahead of strong states such as France (4.6 percent), Germany (4.1 percent) and Italy (3.8 percent). The growth rate of Romanian exports in the European single market was almost twice higher the average for the EU countries (10.5 percent vs. 5.4 percent), which means that Romania has gained new segments of the European single market. Thus, exports to Germany in the first nine months of this year were higher by EUR 1.2 billion than in the same period of 2017. Exports to Italy increased by EUR 500 million and those to France by 400 million euros. Employment improves. Romania has fulfilled its commitment undertaken under the Europe 2020 Strategy. Unemployment has thus reached historical minimums. In the third quarter of 2018, the employment rate for the 20-64 year olds was 71.3 percent, exceeding by 1.3 percentage points the national target of 70 percent set in the context of the 2020 Strategy. The number of exmployees exceeds the threshold of 5 million following the creation of nearly 100,000 new jobs. Romania has also registered one of the lowest unemployment rate in the EU, 3.9 percent compared to 6. 5 percent in the entire European Union. Based on this encouraging balance sheet, which shows that Romania has a dynamic economy in EU, we will establish the priorities for this year, extremely important for our country from the economic angle too. In the context of these days’ events, I highlight the fact that Romania’s EU funds absorption rate reached the EU average. Thus, according to the European Commission’s data, by the end of 2018, Romania has an overall absorption rate of 26 percent whereas the EU average is 27 percent. At this chapter, the funds for agriculture play a great economic and social importance. The presented data prove the important contribution as aforementioned, the agricultural sector makes to the economic growth, this being a priority sector supported by Government through legislative measures and the funds constantly allocated from the budget, and also from European funds.

In the first days of the year, Romania received EUR 807.5 million from the European Commission. There are funds granted to farmers from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. As a result of well-organized work and compliance with the subsidy scheme for farmers, we will receive another EUR 452 million in early February, which means a total of EUR 1.2 billion, money that EU granted for Romania's agriculture. To establish very clearly what we have to do this year, we need a detailed report of the measures included in the Programme for government which were adopted and implemented during 2018. I requested the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis to draw up this report, in collaboration with Ministries and governmental institutions. The document will reflect the measures taken in all fields of activity, the investment projects completed during 2018, and the status of those pending completion. I consider that it is our duty, and also in the spirit of the governmental activity’s transparency, to make known the effects of the measures we have taken, the unfolded governmental programmes, investments made both through national budget and European funds. For this reason, after its adoption on today’s Cabinet meeting, this document will be published and distributed to the central and local government institutions. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Government Spokesman will detail the legislative documents we will adopt on today’s meeting.



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