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

30 January

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Viorica Dancila: Good afternoon. The public data of the budget execution for 2018 shows that the Government fulfilled with responsibility all its commitments and took measures which proved to be good for Romanians.

Just in one single year we managed what other Governments didn't achieve in an entire term of office. The state budget revenues in 2018 amounted to over 295 billion lei, which represents an increase by 32 percent compared to 2016 and the share of revenues in the GDP reached 31 percent against 29 percent in 2016. The Gross Domestic Product increased in 2018 by over 25 percent compared to 2016 and stood at 949.6 billion lei.

Through the measures we took, we obtained a significant increase in the amounts collected from the European Union. Thus, the money received on account of payments made in 2018 reached a record figure of over 27 billion lei, or 5.8 billion euro. It is an increase of approximately 58 percent from 2017. As we committed, we increased the income of pensioners and healthcare and education sectors employees, and we allocated funds for higher investments by 28 percent compared to 2017. We implemented all these measures by complying with a smaller deficit than the one forecast, namely 2.88 percent of the GDP.

Beyond these figures which prove a good government, I would like to highlight the fact that the people have always been at the core of the measures taken by the government coalition. Therefore, I want to assure everyone that in 2019, too, we will continue to provide a better life to the Romanians. I salute the provisional agreements Romania reached this week during its mandate at the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, in connection with three important topics for the European citizens. All these provisional agreements are to be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.

The first dossier refers to the legislative package whereby the consumers will be better protected and enterprises will be better supported if they want to extend their activity on the European Single Market. Another dossier in which we made progress is the revision of the directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogenic chemical agents at work. The third provisional agreement refers to an improvement in the EU's visa code, which is aimed at facilitating tourism and business travels. Two important informal meetings of the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States will take place these days, in Bucharest, in the context of Romania holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union. I hold the belief that together we will succeed in solving as many dossiers as possible of those on the table so that we provide concrete responses on the future of Europe.

During February 6 - 7, I will pay a working visit to Brussels, where I will participate in one of the first events organised by Romania in the context of holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council, in cooperation with the European Parliament. This is the conference on 'The fight against anti-Semitism, a common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe - from policy to action.' Furthermore, on this occasion, I will also participate in the plenary session of the European Committee of Regions to present the priorities of Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.

Today, we will also discuss the necessary documents for preparing Romania to switch to the European single currency, drawn up within the National Committee established for this purpose. The switch over to the euro is a complex, large-scale project that needs to be thoroughly prepared by engaging specialists, the academia, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, civil society and, of course, all the relevant institutions in the area. Last year, the committee - which included representatives of these structures - had an intense activity with bimonthly meetings. As a result, two documents were produced: the national plan for the switchover to the euro and the substantiation report of this plan. Today, the Government will acquire these documents in view of politically assuming them. Subsequently, they will be forwarded to the European Commission. Implicitly, we take on the objective of Romania adopting the euro currency in 2024.

It is essential to enter a stage prior to this process, namely the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and, also, take the necessary measures in order to increase the competitiveness and ensure a sustainable economic growth, so that the switchover to euro bring benefits to Romanians. We continue to grant aid to farmers by backing the pig and poultry breeding programmes. We have on today’s agenda two draft laws whereby we bring a set of clarifications for the good unfolding of the programme aimed at supporting the pig and poultry breeding sectors. There are measures conducive to better supporting the farmers’ activities. Through these amendments, we facilitate access to financing for farmers who want to develop their investments, including by granting an advance of 30 percent of the overall eligible expenditure. We are making today another step towards implementing the programme: „Investing in children, investing in the future”, whereby we will support the construction, refurbishment and endowment of 1,000 kindergartens with sports profile. We will adopt a Memorandum establishing a state aid scheme with a multiannual budget of 500 million euros, with financing starting this year. The state aid scheme addresses private legal entities, including NGOs, associations, foundations, federations and sports clubs. The aid will consist of both de minimis aid of up to EUR 500,000 of eligible expenditure and state guarantee for loans of up to 50%. It is a promising project whereby we want to create conditions for encouraging children to practice sports, given the health benefits. At the close of the Cabinet meeting, the Spokesman will detail the legislative documents that we will adopt on today's Cabinet meeting. Thank you!

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