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

21 May 2020

Ludovic Orban: Good afternoon. I suggest that we are starting. Minister, are we ready with the emergency ordinance on the state aid scheme for large companies?

Florin Cîțu: Today, we will present in the first reading the memorandum scheme in Cabinet meeting and on next meeting, we will approve it. I will present the main details today. What we discussed, a maximum ceiling of 8 billion lei through this aid scheme. Companies with turnover bigger than 20 million euros will qualify for this aid, and the system will guarantee up to 80 percent of the loans, on a 6 –year period, but with subsidized interest no more than 50 percent...

Ludovic Orban: Therefore, maximum 50 percent.

Florin Cîțu: The aid scheme was notified to the European Commission through the Competition Council and we will negotiate the details of the scheme, we will do it exactly with the European Commission the way we did with IMM Invest.

Ludovic Orban: Is it an expected product and the loans for working capital and investments be granted under the same mechanism as for SMEs Invest?

Florin Cîțu: Right, yes.

Ludovic Orban: Ok. As you know, the decision of the Parliament to adopt the state of alert, complicated our existence and the distribution of masks to vulnerable people, which initially had to be done according to the mechanism I had thought, through the Ministry of Labor and with the support of the Post, was complicated. The Government was mandated through the Ministry of Health. Minister Tătaru, are we ready with the draft normative act?

Nelu Tătaru: Yes, we have it. I want to ask you to add to the additional list the Government Emergency Ordinance on the granting by the Ministry of Health, through the county and Bucharest public health directorates, local public authorities,  the necessary amount of protective masks for vulnerable families and people from the administrative-territorial units, as well as for supplementing the budget of the Ministry of Health from the Budget Reserve Fund available to the Government, provided in the state budget for 2020.

Ludovic Orban: 150 million, as we agreed, yes?

Nelu Tătaru: Yes, 150 million.

Ludovic Orban: So, for a mask, which is up to 2 lei, for a number of beneficiaries of about 1.1 million - no, that's estimated, the beneficiaries of various forms of aid under the Law on Guaranteed Minimum Income and the beneficiaries of the aid. Here, the Ministry of Labor should look very carefully not to omit any category from the distribution of these masks. Of course, such matters complicated our existence. Now we have to wait for the local administrations to send to the public health directorates the number of beneficiaries in each locality. Centralize the information and, depending on that, you know exactly how many masks we will buy.

Nelu Tătaru: Yes, and we distribute masks through public health directorates to local authorities.

 Ludovic Orban: I understand. It should be rapidly streamlined and here, we need short deadlines and the local authorities should send us the list of beneficiaries, the DSP should not stay, should send us immediately, the procurement should be carried out, in line with Law 55 provisions, which allows us a rapid procurement procedure. The procurement must be made transparently, to avoid any discussion on the smallest price, and after that, masks distribution should be ensured rapidly, to reach as soon as possible the vulnerable persons. Mrs. Vice Prime Minister, you know a report should be presented to Parliament on the state of emergency, and here, the Ministries and the involved authorities should present the activity they carried out during the state of emergency. I would ask you to coordinate this process.

Raluca Turcan: Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, it is necessary to put into practice all institutional actions in a report on the state of emergency. If we depart from a comparative analysis between Romania and other countries that faced at the same time with us this world healthcare crisis, we can see that Romania’s evolution was a net superior one. This is due to a joint effort of public authorities, civil society, companies and due to the special respect from people towards the measures adopted by the Government regarding social distancing, and healthcare rules, and we will finalize until the end of next week, this report that will be oriented towards three levels, namely: Government emergency ordinances, military ordinances, measures specific to Ministries, and all these in an especially difficult context, not only internationally but also internally, let us not forget that we had zero stocks, a hostile Parliament, weakened institutions, de-professionalized, and with not enough professionals, and these will be very well -reflected by our analysis.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you, Vice Prime Minister. I have good news for you. I have good news to give you: after a long period of time during which the Belina island and the Bratul Pavel were handled by the friends in Teleorman of the PSD [Social Democratic Party] and of Dragnea [former PSD leader], today, Belina island will be managed by the Romanian state again. Today we are signing the documents by which the Belina island and Bratul Pavel will be taken over by the Romanian Waters Company. The handover process will be carried out by leaving aside the agreements concluded by the County Council with that particular beneficiary that you know very well - Tel Drum, and basically, the takeover will be legal. Surely, afterwards, it should be seen what was illegally built on Belina Island, and all necessary measures must be taken. In this respect, the Environment Ministry will need to come up with an Executive Decision to regulate all aspects linked to the administration of Belina Island and Pavel Arm.

Secretary of State: I understand, Prime Minister. We will come with ...

Ludovic Orban: We are waiting for the government's decision quickly, so that we can end this sad episode through which the red barons tried to appropriate the Romanian state's properties, as their own. Minister Ciucă, the contract with IAR for the modernization of the Soim.

Nicolae Ciucă: Mr. Prime Minister, as we committed ourselves when we visited together IAR Craiova, we completed everything that meant the technical documentation in order to be able to start the procurement procedure for the modernization of IAR-99 aircraft and Upgrading Şoim planes and in this way we are waiting for the plant in Craiova to come up with the technical and financial proposal. We hope to conclude the contract in no more than a month.

Ludovic Orban: What is the financial allocation?

Nicolae Ciucă: It has a financial allocation, the first stage - 60 million euros, the second stage - approximately 40 million euros. As such, the Craiova plant has every chance to enter this relevant part of the Romanian defence industry.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you, Minister. I am convinced that the other projects to revitalize the defence industry will continue.

Nicolae Ciucă: Mr. Prime Minister, today we had a meeting with the union leaders from the defence industry, we discussed with them all these aspects, both their problems and our needs and requirements, but I think everything we discussed with the Minister of Economy, Virgil Popescu, has been done so far and we can be hopeful that the defence industry in Romania will be revamped.

Ludovic Orban: We also request to improve the offset mechanism, so that we can benefit from technology transfer and the realization of industrial capacities for each purchase we make.

Nicolae Ciucă: Exactly, all our decisions will materialize in the procurement activities and actions that we will initiate in the next period.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you very much, Minister.

Nicolae Ciucă: Thank you.

Ludovic Orban: We also have an objective that was established, namely the distribution of food aid within POAD, Minister Boloș.

Marcel Boloş: Yes, it is a number of 1,188,000 beneficiaries who are waiting for this measure and we come today with a draft emergency ordinance that regulates the distribution system of these food packages. In addition, we also have personal hygiene kits, which will generally reach people who do not have an income and are at risk of poverty. It is also a draft normative act expected by the food industry, as we are talking about a package that contains ...

Ludovic Orban: What is the value of the European funds allocation?

Marcel Boloş: 225 million euros. And I'll give you some examples: for white flour we support the bakery industry in the field with 35,000 tons of white flour, which would be bought from the market and reach the food packages or, another example, cornflour, 28,000 tons. Therefore, it is a project that the food industry is waiting for.

Ludovic Orban: The tender procedure ...

Marcel Boloş: It has been concluded, the contracts are concluded. The distribution of the personal hygiene kit starts on June 4 and the distribution of food packages starts on June 15.

Ludovic Orban: I think it's a good time for the distribution of these packages, which will reach vulnerable people.

Marcel Boloş: Yes, and we start with the counties that were affected by the coronavirus crisis, we try to send as quickly as possible this aid to the counties that are mostly affected by the current problems, in the field of public health.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you, Minister! Thanks also to the media.



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