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Thursday, 23 Nov

Address by Prime Minister Mihai Tudose during the censure motion debate in Parliament

Address by Prime Minister Mihai Tudose during the censure motion debate


Mihai Tudose: Distinguished colleagues, first, I appreciate the gesture of the Liberal Party’s colleagues to let a newer colleague to read the motion text, not assuming basically the contents. Ladies and gentlemen, a censure motion is a constitutional right and mostly, a democratic exercise. Unfortunately, you have turned this legitimate right into an opportunity to be populist, demagogue, to make a show based on a totally broken reality scenario. But I take this opportunity that you have given me to tell Romanians and you what has happened and what has been achieved this year in office and what is actually the reality.

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Mihai Tudose: Let them, Mr. President, that there is a way of manifestation! That's what they can! I say this because obviously we have different landmarks in terms of reality. Right from the beginning of the censure motion, you said that we have managed to cause generalized chaos in vital areas such as healthcare, education or infrastructure. What chaos are you talking about, dear colleagues? Let's take them one at a time!

Healthcare. This year, we have had record investments in the health infrastructure, which resulted in the modernization and expansion of 17 public hospitals, capital repairs to other 8 public hospitals, the completion of the Brasov Maternity Hospital and the Emergency Hospital for Children in Iasi, the largest in the North- East region. The land for the future regional hospitals in Cluj, Iasi and Craiova were identified, and taken over by the Government to start the construction, also for the Republican Hospital of the Capital. 100 million lei were allocated for medical equipment for 22 hospitals, other EUR 66 million for emergency care units( UPU), EUR 230 million for outpatient facility equipment, EUR 18 million for integrated community centers and I would also like to give you just a few examples. 277 anesthesia machines were delivered to the operating blocks - these are allocated to 50 healthcare units. The acquisition of 12 CT scanners has begun, so today, when you lodge your motion and invoke health chaos, all county hospitals in Romania have this type of equipment. Steps have been taken, 21 nuclear magnetic resonators are being purchased also, for all county hospitals to have this type of equipment. In addition, five radiotherapy equipment was commissioned for five oncology centers in the country: Baia Mare, Constanta, Galati, Fundeni Institute and Elias Emergency Hospital. If you dub this situation chaos, we assume this kind of chaos. Probably it was quiet when you closed the hospitals. Then it was quiet, indeed.

Furthermore, you mentioned the chaos in education. I remind you that this was the first of many years when school textbooks were delivered in time, at the start of school year.

They have not learnt from notes, like in your time. Secondly, we finalized the construction of 46 kindergartens, 24 schools.

Significant progress has been achieved in the dual education, where we managed to achieve more than 100 classes. With respect to the measures taken in support of students, I can tell you that we granted free rail transport for all students.

The student scholarship has been increased by 2.5 times, from 83 lei / month as I found when taking office, to over 200 lei / month per student. We launched the "Romania employs" programme, ie the largest package of measures for the unemployed and the improvement of the situation on the Romanian labor market. Through this programme worth EUR 550 million, we support both employers and those who want to find a job by offering incentives to promote these young people. We launched the most important project in recent years to train 55,000 primary and secondary school teachers, for them to teach under the new framework plans and curricula corresponding to the two education cycles. The funding programme was signed in Parliament, you could have got acquainted with it.

Speaking about infrastructure, at the time of taking over the office, all infrastructure projects, but all, were either blocked or did not exist. Throughout the year, we have managed to redress this situation, to achieve significant progress. As regards motorways, the procedure for conveying to the European Commission the financing application for the Sebeş - Turda motorway project has been finalized. Also, for Ploieşti - Braşov, the Government started the agreement procedures with the World Bank, and the first lot was already contracted. Regarding the Sibiu - Pitesti highway, the bids for lots 1 and 5 were opened and for the express road in the Pitesti - Craiova highway, the bids for all lots were opened. Altogether, this year, we sent to ANAP design and implementation works worth 14.8 billion lei. Auctions amounting to more than 2.8 billion lei from European funds were launched for the railway, in the field.  The construction of the Lacul Străuleşti - Progresul metro line, within the 4 Metro line also started this year. In air transport, it is the first year of many years when two new aircraft were purchased for TAROM. Also, Henri Coanda Airport underwent modernization, 67,000 square meters of runaway were paved, and terminals were modernized, and the processing capacity of the passengers on both streams was doubled. In short, we have achieved in one year, what you did not, along with the technocrats, all the while you were in power. Also as regards the investment chapter, I would like to mention, and you said that you collected impressions from the people you met - ask them about the PNDL too! PNDL 2, PNDL(National Programme for Local Development)  enters the second phase in 2018, and the level of public investment will increase. Unfortunately, neither PNDL1, worked in your time. This year was not a year conducive to investment, here you are right, because we had nothing to continue, we had to seed, build, make projects, and submit them. With regard to large infrastructure, auctions exceed on SEAP, over 4 billion euros.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was a brief answer, only to the first phrase of  your motion. Punctually, if we were to answer your questions or the issues raised, things would stand this way. You said that: „Dare to believe”, - our programme for government, voted by millions of Romanians was an illusion. If it seems an illusion to you that after 9 months, we have a 7 percent economic growth, the largest in EU and the second in the world, after China, and in the last quarter, we reached a 8. 8 percent economic growth, then, you are living in an illusory world. Another illusion may seem to you the fact that the state revenues grew in the first ten months by 20 billion lei, from 187 billion lei, in 2016, to 207.5 billion lei in 2017, or it seems other illusion to you the fact that we managed to have more than a quarter of a million new employment contracts. You said that we took over a stable economy, alleging that all premises were good. Perhaps you also referred to the letter from the European Commission that you exceeded the deficit in January. The „brave” technocrat Cabinet spectacularly missed the agreed deficit target of less than 3%. Romania achieved the counterperformance of having the biggest increase in the EU budget deficit from 0.8% in 2015 to 3% in 2016. Practically, last year's government transgressed all the limits set within the famous MTO. Where was  your alleged stable economy? The one in which we found all programs and all managing authorities blocked? The one in which farmers complained that they received no subsidies in time? Or we did not manage to have an excessive deficit without taking any economic measures in favor of citizens or investors? If you make comparisons with last year’ situation, , let's say the European funds absorption rate was 0.24 last year. Very good for what happened then, wonderful. It is really a lot for what the former government represented. At the same time, this stable economy that you are talking about, that the Ciolos Cabinet let behind, had just finished a financial exercise with lower revenues than the previous year, by about 9.8 billion lei. There are figures from statistics and that decrease back then was for the first time in many years. What you claim to be the purchasing power last year accounted for only 50% of this year's purchasing power, if we refer to retirees, and by 10% less than this year, if we refer to employees . In addition, it is good not to forget that in 2016, only 6 state aids were granted, whether coincidentally or not, all of which are foreign-owned companies, compared to 8,900 companies this year, maybe not a coincidence, all with domestic capital. 

Therefore, please stop giving us as example a government that brought the country to a deadlock. We made big efforts to set things back on  track and we have succeded it to a large extent. It is nevertheless a lasting effort to redress all we found broken. You said in the motion: you told nothing to public sector employees about the fictitious salary increases. It is a bit odd to tell this, exactly you who, when in office, cut wages by 25 percent, and while we continue to let you down, we assure you that we are a responsible Government, bring about welfare and not austerity. Let us present you some figures: last year, we had 58.7 billion lei spent on payroll, this year – 68.9 billion, next year- 81.9 billion on the public sector payroll. Obviously, for you, this seems a decrease. This year, public sector wages increased on average by 21.2 percent, and private sector wages  by 12. 4 percent. The most important growth as I announced in the programme for government, was the healthcare sector salary growth, which accounted for 35. 9 percent. Yes? I understand that you have no contact with reality but with the one who provides you the quotes. Also, in 2017, we increased the minimum wage by 16 percent, from 1250 to 1450 lei, and in 2018, to 1900 lei. You accused us that the shift of contributions from employer to employee will be a failure. Dear (opposition)colleagues, you have been striving hard to induce the population the fear that as of January 1, wages will drop. Meanwhile all people of good faith realized that you and your associates launched fake news. Wages will obviously grow. Now, you have slightly changed your message: well, they are increasing, but not very much. Next year, you will probably lodge other censure motion for not having increased too much, and it is not sustainable. Truth is simple, there are real benefits which this measure will bring to all employees in Romania, both on short term, by revenues increase and on long term, by ensuring bigger pensions for retirees. 

You said that the Romanians’ purchasing power is plummeting in full economic growth. Completely false! The employees’ purchasing power rose by 12.6% in the first eight months of this year and that of pensioners by 14.6%. Let's not forget that this increase in purchasing power also takes into account the inflation, I have heard comments: yes, but inflation has increased! Purchasing power is judged by taking into account inflation, which in the first 10 months was 0.95%, ie below 1%, according to government programme data. You all claim that only by September 1, we exceeded Romania's debt level by 0.8% of GDP. I remind you that under the programme for government, we committed not to exceed 39% of GDP in 2017, Romania being one of the countries with the lowest indebtedness level in the European Union. On  September 1, this indebtedness level was 37.4% of GDP, so by 1.6% of GDP less and not as you falsely claim, in your motion. Further on. You say that we have the smallest investments, since Romania's accession to the European Union to date. Finally, something real! But only if we talk about 2016, then yes, this is true. Back then, investment reached a historical minimum. In 2017, investments only suffered in the first part of the year because, as we have said, there were no mature projects that could be implemented. Moreover, the managing authorities responsible for attracting European funds were not accredited. Only in October this year, the sums attracted from European funds amounted to 4.8 billion lei, more than 20% of the sums attracted in October, November and December, altogether last year. You mentioned the poor VAT collection. In connection with hasty measures, one day you changed the Fiscal Code regarding three important measures in January, but you do not consider your actions. We reduced VAT by one percent, compared to last year, VAT receipts are by 238.5 million higher this year, after the first 10 months, although VAT was lower. So, the hole you're talking about, in VAT collection is in your imagination, as long as revenues did not plummet, but rose. It was a 7.9 percent growth third quarter this year, compared to third quarter previous year. I repeat, although VAT was lower. 

You stated that private investment declined by 20 percent over the first nine months of the year, compared to last year. Direct foreign investment, distinguished colleagues, private ones – as you call them, are of two types: foreign direct ones in economy, in companies capitalization, and these grew by 13. 3 percent over the first eight months of the previous year, from EUR 2.47 billion to EUR 2.8 billion. Yes, you are right - the inter-group or interbank credits were reduced as a result of the April reduction in the minimum reserve ratio by the National Bank, which resulting in 285 million euros being sent abroad by banks, to their parent companies. If this is a problem for you, enquire at the National Bank; as soon as you get an answer, make it public.

You say that I promised mayors that 100 percent of the income tax will  return to local authorities. Yes it is true. And we'll keep our word. We will do this through the State Budget Law. Moreover, also through the State Budget Law, each town hall, each county council will also have a minimum operating budget ensured, at the level of 750 lei per inhabitant, for each town hall, and 250 lei per inhabitant, for each county council. At the same time, we will make sure that no locality will have a smaller budget than last year’s.

You actually take a risk, claiming that we lost money from car tax collection. Two brief statements: besides the fact that this tax was declared illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union, should we understand that you want us to introduce a new tax for Romanians? Fortunately, the good news for the Romanians is that you are not in office and you will not introduce it. Also in your motion, I could read something very serious, namely that education would be in decline and that students would not have textbooks. I've already answered this. There were no textbooks in your world. This year's difference compared to last year: last year, 700 million lei were spent on textbooks and supplements. This year, they were provided with 40 million lei. You may ask some questions about who spent the money and how.

You are talking with a lot of cynicism about vaccines. When taking over from the wonderful government, only 12% of Romania’s children were vaccinated. 12%. Today,  it is 77%. Dear opposition colleagues, we all understand that you must justify your presence in Parliament and your activity in front of the electorate, or in front of the 2,000 people brought from all the counties of the country, but do no longer spread false news and try to come up with solutions for the citizens or for your citizen, the one who gives you advice for the censure motion. Romania has a stable, sustainable economic situation, recognized by all European and international bodies. Now, when the European media has began to call us the "European tiger", coming up with false news about how tea sugar disappears during our government, about how the bee does not fly anymore, and the disaster begins in Romania if something does not happen, you, through this approach, you do harm to the country. Thank you, dear colleagues!





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