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

17 July

Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon! Although we received good news from meteorologists, we extend further attention to the situation caused by floods. I discussed with my colleagues, the Ministers. The assessment of damages needs to be completed, and intervention measures are needed for their remedy. Also, as I stated in a previous meeting, we need a change of outlook, i.e. to lay stress on prevention. In this respect, I established alongside Ministers, some directions of action. We were alongside people when they were affected by floods. As of now on, I will go on –site, as I want to check how the measures taken to assist people were implemented, and at the same time, what they need to return to normal situation. I am glad to give good news for TAROM today. Yesterday, it was signed the contract for purchasing five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, built specifically for our national carrier. The five aircraft will join the two Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft that entered the TAROM fleet in early June. The order  early this month is part of a wider contract, which also provides maintenance for the two aircraft already in operation of TAROM. The procedures have also begun for TAROM's technical division to become the official Boeing partner. Therefore, TAROM takes important steps in the air transport market, as we have assumed, and in the following period, the investments and development of the company will continue. We want to focus on prevention and, at the same time, be prepared to intervene quickly in emergency situations. At the initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on today's meeting, we adopt an emergency ordinance on the centralized procurement of helicopters and flight simulators for emergency management. The Ministry of Internal Affairs  will supplement the General Aviation Inspectorate with 22 helicopters and at least one flight simulator. Thus, the capacity of response and preparedness in case of emergencies will be significantly upgraded. The procurement will be made from non-refundable funds, under the Large Infrastructure Operation Programme, out of which the Ministry of Internal Affairs allocated about 600 million euro.The programme is aimed at developing the emergency response area. We continue today to take measures for the benefit of persons with disabilities, many of those were inspired by our talks with the representatives of NGOs, in spring, when we held consultations. Now, we introduce them in legislation, under emergency regime, so that they can be applied as soon as possible. I will outline some of these measures. Romania undertook the desinstitutionalisation until 2020, of the care of persons with disabilities. More precisely, we give up the centers with aspect of military barracks where hundreds of people with disabilities were housed, with often defective management and inadequately prepared staff to respond to the rehabilitation needs of persons in care. We will replace them with sheltered housing, independent life centers, rehabilitation centers, care and assistance centers, respite centers, crisis centers. Funding for these types of centers will be provided from the state budget up to 90 percent.

Local and county authorities have the time to convert mammoth centers by the end of the year, and if they fail to do so, they will lose 25% of the funding provided by the state budget annually. Thus, we want to stimulate the setting up of new types of centers, which will benefit from funding, as we mentioned previously, up to 90%. The emergency ordinance we are adopting today also creates the legal framework for the financing of protection measures granted by private providers, I refer here to associations and foundations, from the state budget. The paradigm is changing in the sense that there will be no funding for places in an institution, but for the services we offer. We focus on the needs of the individual, not on those of an old system, and which we have all seen that it has become ineffective. Another change concerns the introduction of a monthly allowance for a professional personal assistant who has disabled adult in care, so that he can provide housing, food and clothing. Thus, the carer of an adult with severe disabilities will receive 600 lei per month and the carer of a severely disabled adult will receive 750 lei per month. This allowance adds to the salary of the professional personal carer. This allowance adds to the wage of the professional personal assistant. The single ticket for interurban transport is also introduced by this emergency ordinance. So far, travel tickets have been printed by the carrier and ensured the journey, for example, either by train or by bus. As of now, the beneficiary of this travel ticket can use a combination of all modes of transportation. As to non-refundable financings, for the projects of the NGOs working in the field of protecting persons with disabilities, the financing percent will be amended. For instance, if so far, this percent was 90, now, it will be 98 percent. In other words, we are trying to support NGOs to involve even more, given that I noticed that they did not access nonrefundable funds, as they did not have the quota of 10 percent necessary to co-funding and money remained unspent many times. On today’s Government agenda, there is an extremely important emergency ordinance for managing the packaging waste.

The central objective of the measures introduced by this legislative document is to increase waste recycling and to thus put Romania on the European map of recycling and circular economy. Simply put, the measures introduced by this emergency ordinance bring about a change on the waste management approach so that we do not treat waste as something unnecessary, but as a resource that deserves and needs to be capitalised on.

I would mention in this respect that the main measures enforceable as of 2019 are: guarantee for reused packaging, and introduction of some performance indicators, both for the sanitation and sorting stations as well as for encouraging separate collection of waste at source and detailing the way how to apply the differentiated tariff to the population.

The role of each player in the waste management chain is also established, starting with the obligations on citizens, collectors, sanitation operators, and ending with those on producers, recyclers and local public administrations. A detailed schedule for the replacement of disposable packaging in the preparation of the European strategy for disposable plastic products has also been drawn up.

Today, we are discussing about a draft law to back cargo and passenger carriers. It is about the decision establishing the conditions and procedures for enforcing the state aid scheme pertaining to the excise at diesel fuel used by carriers. We avoided by this measure the increase the prices at road cargo and passenger transportation and implicitly, the increase in prices for other products and services. The estimated aid budget is 60 million lei, with the possibility to supplement it. The estimated total number of beneficiaries during the time valability of state aid amounts to nearly 1,500. Today, we will increase the ceiling of incomes up to which retirees can benefit from medicines at affordable costs  We rise from 900 lei to 990 lei the ceiling of incomes up to which the 90% compensation of medicines is granted; therefore, we have an increase of 10%. We want pensioners who benefited from a new increase in pensions from July 1 to retain this right, i.e. access to compensated medicines. This is the second increase in this ceiling by the current government. In June last year, we rose by 30% the income ceiling up to which retirees could benefit from 90 percent medicine compensation, that is, we increased from 700 lei to 900 lei. We have taken this measure just to ensure that more and more retirees can get the medicines at an affordable cost as this ceiling, I remind you, was frozen for eight years. Since taking over, we have proven through the measures that we have taken, that we are concerned about the situation of pensioners and all low income people. The Spokesperson will detail the legislative documents adopted on today’s Cabinet meeting, at the close of this meeting. Thank you.

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