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

11 May

Ludovic Orban: Dear colleagues, we convened the Cabinet meeting to debate and adopt a draft law which is a prerequisite for us to continue the battle for defending the health and life of Romanian citizens. As you know, last week, the Constitutional Court ruled over a Romanian Ombudsman's referral, and following the Constitutional Court's decision, we are basically in the situation in which this institution deprived the authorities of the necessary levers to effectively counter the spread of the epidemic and to be able to procure all the necessary instruments to protect Romanians against contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The state of emergency which was instituted by the Romanian President's decree will end on 15. We must have the guarantee that we will have available all the necessary instruments to be able to continue the activity we have carried out over the last 3 months, as the fight against the epidemic started before the state of emergency was declared. Why did we choose this solution? Because it is clear that the decision of the Constitutional Court greatly limits our margin of manoeuvre and to have full legitimacy to maintain those restrictions that are necessary to protect the health of Romanians, we decided to draw up and submit these draft laws. I want to thank the Minister of Justice, who coordinated this effort of drawing up this draft law in a very short time because the Constitutional Court issued the decision last week and compelled us to prepare the draft law very fast, and I invite Minister Predoiu to briefly present the elements of this draft law.

Cătălin Predoiu: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. Prime Minister, ladies, and gentlemen, this law aims to protect the lives and health of citizens amid the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Life and health represent fundamental values and rights in the constellation of rights recognized by the Constitution.

The draft law includes a series of measures which can be implemented during the state of alert, measures which can organize the unfolding of some economic-social activities within public institutions, so that citizens' health and life be protected in a coordinated and coherent manner, leaving, at the same time, freedom to carry out these activities in the given context. Regarding the structure of the draft law, it has a general part, general provisions defining its scope in terms of measures, in terms of addressability as persons, but also duration. This is a draft law that addresses the duration of the state of alert.

At the same time, it is a flexible project, which, by a framework rule, leaves to the authorities, in the future, the possibility to resort to such measures amid other epidemics, if necessary, but only in the state of alert. The substantial part, the middle one, I could say, of the draft law, includes contributions and proposals from all ministries with responsibilities in this context, concerns sectoral measures in each area, within the competence of each ministry. There are general measures that are known to the public, they were published on Friday on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and do not represent a novelty from this point of view. Regarding the final provisions, we regulated the fact that the concrete organization, in detail, of the implementation of the provisions of this law, falls undoubtedly to the responsibility of the ministries, the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations and other institutions with responsibilities in this context, through normative acts, but which are only organizational acts ...

Ludovic Orban: That is, decisions of the CNSSU and joint ministerial orders regarding the rules ...

Cătălin Predoiu: Right, based on the CNSSU decisions.

Ludovic Orban: Based on CNSSU decisions and possibly other subsequent normative acts.

Cătălin Predoiu: But strictly within the framework established by law and in the fields established by law, on the rights that the law is stipulating. I would also like to thank all the colleagues from the other ministries, I do not nominate any of them because, practically, all the ministries were involved, and I also thank the colleagues from the technical staff for this effort. At present, the draft law, if approved by the Government, will be submitted to Parliament and remain in the responsibility of Parliament...

Ludovic Orban: We will ask them to debate it as soon as possible, in an emergency procedure. Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. Minister Vela, please consider that the Romanian Ombudsman has notified the Constitutional Court about the regulations concerning the state of alert too, and here we must be prepared, because the trial deadline at the Constitutional Court is Wednesday, the 13th, and here we must be prepared with any amendment needed to be able to give the constitutional and factual legal reply so that we have a very clear normative framework regarding the activity of CNSSU and other entities within the alert state.

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