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

08 February


Viorica Dancila: Distinguished colleagues, as you know, following latest debates on the effects of the pay laws, and shifting contributions from employer to employee, some problems have arisen. There where problems have been identified, I requested immediate balancing measures, in order that no socio-professional category registers losses. Today, we will adopt a series of measures to mantain the net monthly income at least at the level of December 2017 for private sector employees benefitting from income tax exemptions. There are four categories, namely: IT employees, research –development and innovation employees, seasonal workers, and employees with severe  or accentuated disability. For these categories, the state will assume the payment of a part of the health insurance contribution through a simplified mechanism. This incentive will address employees whose employers did not suceed to maintain the December 2017 salary level from their own resources, and who at the same time did not diminish the overall staff costs compared to previous month. Other provision of the emergency ordinance we will adopt today ensures at least that the net income for public and private  sector part –time employees is kept at the same level. More precisely, as of January 2018, the personnel employed on individual part-time work contract will have the social security contributions for health and pensions (CAS and CASS) retained only from the salary earned, even if this is smaller than the minimum salary per economy, and the difference will be incurred on behalf of the employee by the employing budgetary institution or by the private employer.

Another measure is the one directed at the unemployed and the categories of employees who are in the sick leave period and benefit from social health insurance allowances, for which the basis of calculating the social contributions will be reduced from the value of 35% of the gross average salary, corresponding to the number of working days from the sick leave, to the income actually achieved. In the near future, we will make sure that the Unitary Pay Law will attain its objective of bringing order and equity to the pay system. On the other hand, I would like to call on Cabinet members and media representatives, trade unions, employers and all the other categories involved in these debates, to show openness and accountability in public communication. I think we are all pursuing the same thing.

Distinguished colleagues, I asked in the previous Cabinet meeting that the adoption of the law on combating domestic violence to be accelerated, and we have on today’s meeting agenda this draft law of the Labor Ministry. We have two important issues to solve. First of all, we want the police officer to have the right to immediate action to protect the victim and remove the aggressor in domestic violence cases. This measure will be implemented in cases of imminent danger to victim’s health and safety. We will therefore create a legal instrument whereby domestic violence will be drastically deterred. The legal procedure is stipulated in the legislative act. Secondly, we want equal opportunities for women and men in Romania to be actually secured. I think this is very important. As a result, we will introduce the obligation for legal entities in the public system and also in the private sector, with more than 50 employees to have an equal opportunities expert in their staff structure. We do not want to increase bureaucracy with new positions. We want this task of experts to be actively and effectively performed. Through this normative act ,we will also regulate the notion of "gender violence", according to the Istanbul Convention. You will agree with me that the many cases of abuse presented by media or monitored by nongovernmental organizations demonstrate that these regulations are necessary and urgent.

Last but not least, I want to give you two good news about large amounts of money entering the country. I am glad that I can announce you that this year, farmers will receive in advance the subsidies for agriculture. It is worth mentioning that last year, they were paid on time, compared to 2016. On February 3, over EUR 400 million entered Romania’s accounts, this amount representing the reimbursement of related payments from the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (...). This amount adds the one received on January 5, amounting to EUR 660 million. It’s already over one billion euros for Romanian farmers, which stands for 60 percent of the ceiling approved, EUR 1.8 billion. To date, EUR 1.3 billion reached the farmers, therefore, 70 percent of ceiling. It is about 723,000 farmers who received subsidies out of the 885,000 who filed applications.

Last but not least, according to the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration, the Chevron petroleum company will pay the Romanian state the amount of  USD 73.45 million  plus interest. The Court ruled entirely in favor of the Romanian state. Chevron is obliged to this payment for the failure to comply with the Romanian oil law. In this context, I want to send a firm message in the sense that we want to further be partners with large companies, but the Romanian law shall always be observed and the Romanian state must defend its rights. Thanks to media.

At the close of our meeting, the Spokesperson will deliver his briefing presenting in detail the draft laws adopted on today’s meeting.

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