Statements by Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and the Cabinet members at the start of the Cabinet meeting

28 December 2017

Mihai Tudose: Good afternoon, distinguished colleagues. Distinguished media coleagues, I start by giving the floor to the Finance Minister, in order to defuse a rumor that we kept hearing this morning. I understand that it has been taken over and repeated on all media channels. Minister, please.

Ionuţ Mişa: Mr. Prime Minister, media alleges that it has been discussed that the deadline for the entry into force of the Ordinance 79, which regulates the fiscal-budgetary and transfer-of-contributions measures, would be extended. Of course it's a fake piece of news. It is not true. This is not the case. The Ordinance is following its course. The prolongation of the term that we will be discussing today in the government meeting is linked to the implementation of the unique account, and this unique account, the single account implementation will be prolonged by mid-2018, so it is entirely another topic and about a completely different theme.

Mihai Tudose: Thank you! We go to good news. Today, we will adopt measures to preserve the revenues of the IT sector employees, also, from research –development, for persons with disabilities and seasonal workers. And the best news at the end of the year will come from the Transport Ministry, who succeded in accomplishing two issues: on the subway and rapid roads and highways, some great news. Please, Minister!

Felix Stroe: Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished members of the Government, I would have to inform you that on Sunday, December 24, the Transport Ministry submitted the rewritten application for the Metro line, M6, although the funding request was accepted by the European Commission, namly the link between the subway network with the International Airport Henri Coanda –Otopeni. It is a metro line, is 14.2 kilometer in length, encompassing 12 subway stations, with a total project value of 1,391 billion euros. It's a very good thing. At this stage, things cannot go back, we have the funding provided. The EUR 300 million difference for fully achieving the station, of the metro line will be assured by EBRD that offered to provide this financing. It is about a very serious financial institution – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Therefore, it is a good news. The M6 line has all financing provided, and it is on the right path, it cannot be stopped. I would also like to inform you, Prime Minister, distinguished members of the Cabinet, that the National Bank of Romania confirmed that EUR 439 million entered the country’s acounts, this following the acceptance of the previously announced applications, it is about Gurasada –Simeria, Campia Turzii – Ocna Targu Mures and Sebes –Turda. Therefore, money is already in the country’s account. Second issue I would like to bring to your knowledge is the fact that the Transport Ministry in cooperation with the European Funds Ministry prepared a memorandum which was discussed in principle, with Madam Commissioner on Development and Transports, from the European Commission, a memorandum which, once adopted, will ensure the start of the preparation of a prtfolio of transport projects about to be implemented over the forthcoming period. If you allow me to present some considerations why we strove to achieve this memorandum: we have intensively worked over the past two months alongside colleagues from the European Funds Ministry, under the coordination of Minister Marius Nica. We moved to drafting this memorandum, taking into account the fact that developing a technical –economic documentation of quality takes long time. But, it is absolutely mandatory because without a quality documentation, thorougly prepared, as I said, we would later encounter big difficulties in achieving the projects. Then, we achieved this portfolio of projects, public priority projects of infrastructure, to attain an anough matury level to start auctions and implementation as of 2009. The advance preparation of a portfolio of public projects presents a series of advantages, among which: avoidance of time waste, and the risk of losing available funds within the current and future programming period, possibility of accessing other financing mechanisms, even of competitive ones, especially given that funds allocation is envisaged for the transport field, on this principle: efficient allocation of available European funds based on data regarding projects which can be implemented, improving Romania’s negotiation capacity in the conditions of a clear knowledge of the projects about to be financed; increase in the absorption level in the current programming period. In fact, this package of priority projects will be entirely financed by a renowned financial institution, by EBRD, and includes the following projects: Brasov – Pascani –Iasi – Ungheni highway project, in line with the provisions of the General Transport Master Plan of Romania, the above mentioned project is 336, 5 km long and with an approximate cost of investment amounting to 3.08 billion euros. The project encompasses several highway sectors, thus: Brasov – Bacau section, Moldova 5 highway, 160 km in length, with an investment cost of 1.84 billion euros, Bacau – Pascani section, 81. 2 km long, with an investment cost of 485.5 million euros, and Pascani –Iasi- Ungheni section, 81.2 km long, with an investment cost of 485. 5 million euros..., Bacau –Pascani 81, Iasi –Ungheni, 95, 2. In total, it is about 3.08 billion euros. The road project Transregio of express road Brasov – Targu –Mures. In line with the provisions of the General Transport Master Plan of Romania, the above mentioned project is 161 km in length, and an approximate investment cost amounting to 100.2 million euros. Transregio express road project Brasov –Targu –Mures. In line with the provisions of the General Transport Master Plan of Romania, the above mentioned project is 161 km in length, and am approximate investment cost of 100.2 million euros. Transregio Road, with four circulation lanes, will ease the road connection among Romania’s regions, respectively between the two important county capitals.

The highway project Braşov - Făgăraş - Sibiu, in line with the provisions of the General Transport Master Plan of Romania, the motorway project is 120 km in length, and an estimated cost of 816,44 million euros. It is composed of several sectors: Sibiu - Tălmaciu de Nord, Tălmaciu de Nord - Bradu, Bradu - Perşani, Perşani - Vlădeni, Vlădeni - Braşov.

The express road project, four lanes, Buzau - Braila - Focsani - Tulcea - Constanta ... Brăila - Constanţa, in line with the provisions of the General Transport Master Plan of Romania, the express road project has 361.7 km in length, and an approximate investment cost of 1,822 billion lei. So this express road project will ensure a very fast link between Focsani, Buzău, Braila, Babadag, Constanta. We will also use funds from the ITI project for the development of the seaside and the Danube area. Express Road Project - South Road. According to the provisions of Romania’s Transport Master Plan, the above-mentioned project is 397 kilometers in length, and an estimated cost of 2.5 billion euros, and it is about Bucharest - Craiova - Drobeta Turnu-Severin - Caransebes - Lugoj. The road projects identified for preparation are investment objectives that are in synergy with the projects to be implemented under the Large Infrastructure Operational Program, POIM. Thus, the connectivity of the Sibiu-Brasov Highway is ensured with the Brasov-Bacau-Pascani-Iasi-Ungheni Motorway, as well as with the preparation and implementation of express road Ploiesti-Buzau-Focşani-Bacau. At the same time, the Bucharest-Craiova-Caransebes-Lugoj expressway will ensure the connection with the north branch of the four corridor Arad-Timisoara-Lugoj-Deva-Sibiu, respectively with the corridor Deva-Sibiu-Pitesti-Bucharest-Constanta.

In the rail sector, the railway rehabilitation project (...) Cluj –Napoca- Ilva Mica – Suceava – Pascani is a project also included in Romania’s General Transport Master Plan, is 488 kilometers in length, and an approximate investment cost of 1.95 billion euros. Bucuresti –Craiova railway rehabilitation project, also included in Romania’s General Transport Master Plan, the above mentioned project is 142 kilometers in length and an approximate investment cost of 1, 687 billion euros.  Therefore, as I told, funding these investments was discussed with an important financial –banking institution, with EBRD, a part of money for Braila, Babadag, Constanta is coming from the Development Fund for Seaside Danube Delta, therefore, financings are assured. If this memorandum is approved today, on the Government’s meeting, it is a package of projects which once launched, could not be stopped. We all have to carry through these projects. As necessary measures, I would like to present you, Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished members of the Cabinet, one: approval of the list of investment objectives from (...) transport, which will be prepared with priority with a view to funding and implementing in the next programming period, therefore, this memorandum: secondly: ensuring funding the preparation of the portfolio of projects through the funding scheme I talked you about: mandating the Transport Ministry and the Regional Development Ministry, respectively European Funds, to carry out negoatiations with international financial institutions, especially the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a view to identifying some additional funding sources in addition to non-reimbursable European funds, fourth: designation of the Ministry of European Funds for ensuring the European Investment Bank’support with a view to rendering operational the National Company of Road Investment within the agreement for services and technical assistance for projects(...) already signed. It is absolutely necessary that in a short period of time, we want to finalize this CNIR(National Company of Road Investment) in the first semester,  for it to become operational, and there is funding which is already discussed with EIB, which we could use to buy consultancy to do things in a professional way, after a Western model.

Therefore, it is about a package of priority transport projects for which there have been discussions of funding with international financial institutions, which we kindly ask you, Mr. Prime Minister, to bring to the Government’s discussion and to approve today. Thank you.

Mihai Tudose: Thank you, Mr. Stroe. Congratulations to you, your team, and also to Minister Nica. We need to move to the next level, as we have had projects so far, we finally have the funding and the determination to carry them through. I would like to thank the media colleagues. We are dealing with the meeting agenda. 

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