Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban at the start of the Cabinet meeting of August 27

27 August



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Ludovic Orban: Election campaign kicks off. During the meeting, we will adopt the amendment of the Government Decision on the state of alert, to establish the main rules to be obeyed during the election campaign and following the adoption of the Government Decision, the joint order of the Internal Affairs Ministry, Health Ministry, and the Standing Electoral Authority, with more detailed rules, will be detailed. Regarding rules, it is clear that we will impose the obligation of mask-wearing for candidates and teams of supporters during election activities, even outdoors, in the campaign actions in public spaces, in the door to door direct campaign. We will have to make decisions related to election events which will be limited to a number of maximum 50 persons in closed spaces and a maximum of 100 persons in open spaces. Obviously, participants in all election events must obey similar rules to those of the cultural type events, keep the physical distance, wear the mask, and use disinfectants. We will need to require hands disinfection for all candidates’ supporters, upon the materials distribution, to avoid virus transmission risk through the campaign materials. Of course, the rule would be that the materials are self-help materials, or these materials to be distributed by mail. If there is a hand to hand distribution of materials, the disinfection obligation will exist for each candidate. In this regard, Minister Vela, I ask you to take all measures, for all subordinate structures, so that we have a campaign that is carried out in accordance with the law, ensures compliance with the measures we take and we have virtually no violations of the law that may affect activity in this campaign. In this respect, in addition to the effective responsibility for ensuring a democratic campaign, you must also be involved in ensuring compliance with health protection measures during the campaign. You will need to train all subordinate staff who are involved in enforcing these regulations. I'm sure you'll be prepared.

Also, today, during the break we will take after the presentation of the normative acts, we will adopt in CNSU the decision that we have to transpose later in the government decision, until September 1, regarding the opening of cultural activities in closed spaces, from September 1. It's about shows, theatres, concerts, cinemas. We will also have to adopt the rules on the resumption of activity for indoors restaurants, hotel restaurants and boarding houses. The CNSU decision will be transposed into a government decision by September 1, so that joint rules orders on rules can be sent. In the case of cultural activities, a joint order will have to be issued, which must already be put up for public debate, tomorrow, a joint order of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Health. And regarding dine-in services, there will also be a joint order: of the Minister of Health, the Minister of Economy and the President of ANSVSA. We will have to ensure rules that minimize the risk of the virus spreading once these activities are resumed, and I am convinced that the regulations will be clear so that they can be observed. In this respect, I call on the responsibility of all institutions, of economic agents that will resume their activities, to be partners with us in ensuring compliance with the rules, so that there is no increase in the number of positive cases.

The investment plan that we need to streamline, also includes economic measures. I'll take them one at a time. We have a deadline until September 1 to launch the call for investment grants under the Regional Operational Program: measures 2.1 and 2.2. Minister Stefan, are we ready?

Ion Ștefan: Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, I can inform you that, today, before the government meeting, we fulfilled one of the measures provided in the National Economic Recovery Plan, namely Order 3,685 was published in the Official Gazette no. 684, which allows entrepreneurs to come ...

Ludovic Orban: It allows them to access investment grants.

Ion Stefan: This call for projects is a new call, the non-refundable value of these projects amounts between 1.5 million and 6 million euros, it targets SMEs, and we can finance the construction, modernization, an extension of spaces, production, service delivery.

Ludovic Orban: When do we launch the call for projects?

Ion Stefan: I would like to tell you that the POR Management Authority is ready to publish tomorrow on the Ministry’s site this call for projects, therefore, as of tomorrow, the entrepreneurs can study and prepare the projects.

Ludovic Orban: The over contracting on the other grants, grants between 50 thousand and 200 thousand euros and between 200 thousand and 1 million euros, which are on 2.1, or on 2.2?

 Ion Ștefan: I would like to inform you that, on this call for projects, we have funding of 550 million euros, and the other two calls for projects, which have been concluded, are as follows. In the 2.1 call, where 2,465 projects with a value of 387 million were submitted, only 2,067 projects with a value of 327 million passed the first evaluation. From these projects, within AMPOR, 125 projects arrived, in order to sign these contracts, with a value of 20.69 million euros. This call for projects on 2.1 has funding of 130 million euros, as we have committed through the investment program. We have, as you say, another call for projects, 2.2 this time, with a financial aid between 200,000 euros and one million euros, a call for projects that ended on July 4.

Ludovic Orban: The submission ...

Ion Stefan: Yes. 1,995 projects were submitted, with a value of 1.357 billion. I would like to tell you that we have allocated only 450 million euros for this call for projects.

Ludovic Orban: That's it, that's all we could do. We see. If you have the opportunity of overcontracting, we can make this decision. Thank you, Minister. Therefore, you launch the call for projects tomorrow, at the latest on Monday?

Ion Ștefan: Tomorrow, this call for projects will be on the website of the Ministry of Public Works.

Ludovic Orban: Minister Popescu, are we ready with the draft normative act on ELECTRIC UP?

Virgil Popescu: Yes, Prime Minister. It was in the first reading last week. It is about the financing of a package of solar panels of minimum 27 kW, maximum 100 kW, together with a charging station for electric or plug-in hybrid electric cars. The maximum grant is 100,000 euros, minimum 30,000 euros. We have prepared the emergency ordinance and, when you ask us to talk about the additional list, we will ask it to be included on the additional list.

Ludovic Orban: All right. Here, I am convinced that Minister Boloș gave you the good news, namely that I have received the approval of the European Commission for the investment grant program or for working capital for SMEs. Minister Bolos?

Marcel Boloș: Indeed, this approval came yesterday, we are ready starting September 1, to officially launch the call for projects that is dedicated, this time, to the Ministry of Economy, and, from September 15, I believe that companies can already submit financing applications for accessing the billion euros we pledged.

Ludovic Orban: Here we are prepared in terms of the application, so that applications can be submitted online?

Marcel Boloș: Yes, the application is designed only online, including the evaluation part, is designed online, so the bureaucracy for this ... Together with the Ministry of Economy, we worked on this application and it is designed so as to minimize the part of bureaucracy for project submission.

Virgil Popescu: Mr Prime Minister, with all modesty, the Ministry of Economy will manage this application.

Ludovic Orban: It doesn't matter, it's important to manage it well.

Virgil Popescu: We will manage it very well.

Ludovic Orban: I think that the model for issuing certificates for emergency situations is a model that you can replicate. We have seen that there is a market expectation related to grants, especially grants for investments, for working capital, for restarting, especially for areas that have been under restrictions.

Virgil Popescu: Just today, before the start of the Cabinet meeting, I had a new discussion with the director of STS. He also gave me access to the application, to do some tests, to see it. We still have some small elements in the background, which we will probably solve tomorrow, in the following days (...). The application is tested, it is also checked for security, and we will have no problems with it when we release it.

Ludovic Orban: Yes. In the field of agriculture? Mr. Secretary of State, did you get the approvals on the ordinances with the support measures?

George Scarlat: Yes, Prime Minister, we are ready, we have all the approvals taken for all the draft emergency ordinances on state aid schemes, both in the cattle sector and in the pig and poultry sector, and we also have the approvals obtained for the government decision with the de minimis scheme for the beekeeping sector.

Ludovic Orban: All right, put them on the agenda then. Proposals for the introduction of normative acts on the additional agenda, please. Minister Bode.

Lucian Bode: Mr Prime Minister, following the discussions with Mr Cîțu and taking into account the fact that, at the last rectification, the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications received a rectified budget with 814.71 million lei, of which 130 million lei were allocated for the capital increase, used for the purchase of locomotives and the modernization of the current ones. I propose you to agree with introducing on the daily agenda, in the first reading, of a draft emergency ordinance for the amendment of the Government Emergency Ordinance 135/ 2020 regarding the state budget rectification for 2020, amendment of normative acts and establishing budgetary measures. I sent to the Competition Council the request …

Ludovic Orban: All right, in a first reading.

Lucian Bode: In a first lecture, in order to clarify it with the Competition Council and the Finance Ministry, and hopefully, we can adopt this draft normative act at the first Cabinet meeting.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you. Minister, Popescu.

Lucian Bode: Thank you.

Virgil Popescu: Mr Prime Minister, please agree with the introduction on the daily additional agenda, of the Emergency Ordinance on funding SMEs and the HORECA field in order to install the photovoltaic panel systems, in order to generate electricity  for the production of electricity with an installed capacity between 27 kW and 100 kW, required for own consumption and the delivery of the surplus in the national energy system, as well as 22 kW recharging stations for plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles, through the "ELECTRIC UP" Financing Program. And I would also like to reintroduce (...) the government decision on aid for film industry...

Ludovic Orban: ... let's put it back on the meeting agenda. I agree with both draft normative acts. Minister Anisie. Therefore, the government ordinance and decision were reintroduced. Minister Anisie.

Monica Anisie: Prime Minister, please agree to include two draft government decisions on the additional agenda. The first is a draft Government Decision to amend and supplement Annexes no. 1 and 2 to the Government Decision no. 297/2020 regarding the fields and programs of accredited master's studies and the maximum number of students that can be enrolled in the academic year 2020-2021.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Monica Anisie: The other, draft Government Decision for amending and supplementing Government Decision no. 299/2020 on the approval of the Nomenclature for fields and specializations/university study programs and the structure of higher education institutions for the academic year 2020-2021.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Monica Anisie: Thank you.

Ludovic Orban: Minister Vela.

Marcel Vela: Mr Prime Minister, please accept on the additional list, the Government Decision on the opening of the border crossing point Borș II, for the transport of people and goods. I would like to inform you that we have completed everything related to the letters of agreement with the Hungarian side and we are ready to start this project.

Ludovic Orban: All right. Don't forget to ask for the decision ...

Marcel Vela: At the same time, I would have a proposal to supplement the Government's working agenda, with a decision to establish the expenses necessary for the preparation and conduct of local elections in 2020. It refers to defrayment of the transport expenses for the presidents of constituency electoral bureaus and their deputies from the domicile locality to the areas where they have electoral responsibilities.

Ludovic Orban: All right. Mr Ion Ștefan, we took the commitment together.

Ion Ștefan: Mr Prime Minister, we have a commitment and we keep our word, as it suits us. I propose that you agree to include on the agenda several normative acts, including the Government Emergency Ordinance on some measures to support the activity of some regional airports.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Ion Ștefan: Secondly, a Government Decision regarding the establishment of the Bălcești Town Hospital, Vâlcea County.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Ion Ștefan: A Government Decision on the allocation of an amount from the Intervention Fund available to the Government, provided in the state budget for 2020, for some administrative-territorial units hit by natural disasters.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Ion Ștefan: And a Government Decision regarding the allocation of an amount from the Budget Reserve Fund at the disposal of the Government, provided in the state budget for 2020, for Brașov County.

Ludovic Orban: For Brasov Airport.

Ion Ștefan: That's right!

Ludovic Orban: I agree with this point as well. Minister Alexe.

Costel Alexe: Mr Prime Minister, dear colleagues, with your agreement, if we can supplement the agenda with four draft decisions.

Ludovic Orban: Before you tell me, don't forget what I discussed, the draft government decision to allow the use of spaces near waters, rivers, lakes for recreational purposes, for example, bike lanes that can be very well on the waterfront and so on - it is a draft government decision that is expected, we discussed it with several MPs, and including representatives of local authorities.

Costel Alexe: Let me inform you that it is already in the public consultation on the website of the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, Mr. Prime Minister, as discussed in the previous meeting.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Costel Alexe: Returning to today’s meeting agenda, the first decision is on approving the location and initiating the procedures for expropriation of privately owned buildings, which is the corridor for the expropriation of public utility works of national interest "Securing flood protection works on the river Ialomița and tributaries, on the sector Slobozia - Țăndărei - Ialomița county, second stage, in Marculesti, Ialomita county.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Costel Alexe: Secondly, draft executive decision on approving the Agreement between the Romanian Government and the Serbian Government on cooperation in the field of sustainable management of cross-border waters, signed in Bucharest, on June 5, 2019.

Ludovic Orban: I agree.

Costel Alexe: we have two more draft decisions. The first draft decision of the government on the free transfer of the area of ​​143.92 ha, forest fund from functional group 1 - forest vegetation with special protection functions, subgroup 1.4.a. - specially arranged forests for recreation purposes (park forests), from the public domain of the state and from the administration of the National Forests Authority - Romsilva, in the public domain of Suceava municipality.

Ludovic Orban: All right. This is in accordance with the law passed in Parliament. We also have requested, for example, from Timișoara, where the forest is ...

Costel Alexe: We currently have discussions and requests from several public administrations, so that the forest passes from the public administration of Romsilva, to the public administration of the local public administrations, with the aim of establishing park forests, obviously using European funds too. The last draft decision refers precisely to the forest from Timișoara, draft decision on the free transmission of the surface of 580.57 ha, forest fund from the functional group I - forest vegetation with special protection functions, subgroup 1.4.- forests specially arranged for recreational purposes (forests-park), from the public domain of the state and the administration of the National Forests Authority - Romsilva in the public domain of the municipality of Timișoara.

Ludovic Orban: Therefore, it's on the agenda. Thanks, I agree! Minister Bolos.

Marcel Boloş: Mr Prime Minister, please agree with the reintroduction on the agenda of the government emergency ordinance on some measures for the draw –up of the national recovery and resilience plan necessary for Romania to access reimbursable and non-reimbursable external funds under the recovery and resilience mechanism.

Ludovic Orban: You have all the approvals, haven’t you?

Marcel Boloş: Out of 17, finance and justice, now I really received them in original, but they came quite ...

Ludovic Orban: All right, we put them on the agenda.

Marcel Boloş: And the Government Emergency Ordinance on some measures to support the territorial development of urban and rural localities in Romania, with funding from non-reimbursable external funds, as well as some temporary measures to support them.

Ludovic Orban: All right.

Marcel Boloş: Thank you!

Ludovic Orban: Mr. Secretary General.

Antonel Tănase: Mr. Prime Minister, please agree to the introduction on the additional agenda of a draft emergency ordinance to amend some normative acts, in order to extend the categories of payments that can be made through the national online electronic payment system. Through this normative act, the equivalent value of passports and driving licenses can be paid directly to the account of the National Printing Company and the Directing Company.

Ludovic Orban: All right!

Antonel Tănase: Thank you!

Ludovic Orban: Thank you! We move on to the debate of the draft legislative documents from the usual working agenda!

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