Statements by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting of December 30

30 December 2021

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Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Good afternoon. We will start this Cabinet meeting with a few details regarding the continuation of the activities necessary for preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic's fifth wave and surely, those regarding the continuation of the vaccination campaign.

Today, together with Minister Rafila, I had a meeting with the representatives of the associations of family doctors, that we consider as being the closest to citizens and also those who know best their local communities. I called on them to continue the efforts made so far so that we can overcome the pandemic in the shortest time possible. A very important aspect was what I learnt, that 90 percent of the family doctors are vaccinated which is a rejoicing aspect and I consider it the best example of trust in science that doctors show to their patients. We are building on this pillar the key role that family doctors will play in managing the pandemic, and we intend to boost their role in the new plan of our colleagues from the Health Ministry and we consider that through their involvement in increasing testing capacity, applying treatment and monitoring patients with mild forms, as well as informing citizens regarding vaccination against COVID-19, all these represent measures required to cope with COVID-19 pandemic's fifth wave. Together with the measures presented by Health Minister yesterday, these actions are designed to prepare as effectively as possible our response capacity to the COVID-19 pandemic's fifth wave. At the Government level, we will ensure the necessary resources to assist the healthcare system with coping with the pandemic, and consultations with specialists should remain a constant in managing the healthcare crisis.

In today’s meeting, we will continue to approve all elements representing the fulfilment of PNRR targets and milestones. It is the most important objective we have had by the end of this year and basically, the Government’s work, in addition to the current problems we had to solve, focused on identifying solutions so that these objectives, these targets and milestones, can be met.

It is the most important post-pandemic national recovery and resilience plan as I presented it each time, and I consider it is worth emphasizing once again and anytime I have the occasion, to mention that it is about a very important amount of money, 30 billion euros, which we need to access and manage properly so that we achieve the reforms and investments required to implement this plan. I had applied discussions with the members of the Cabinet, and I thank you once again for your efforts. We need to accelerate the work pace, to draw near the completion of this desideratum. We are talking about undertaken projects and reforms so that their benefits be felt by citizens and overall society.

I will give you some examples: in the field of education, an important objective put in accord with the national reform project „ Educated Romania”, is reducing the dropout rate through a programme we will approve on today’s meeting, and which represents a PNRR target. 2500 educational establishments in Romania will benefit from funding to prevent early school dropout, especially by children in vulnerable families. It is a measure that will radically change the future of many children and will assure them a better life.

As regards railway infrastructure, we will adopt an action plan aimed at increasing rail traffic by at least 25 percent, until 2026, and improving travel conditions. Railway transport should become a fast, comfortable and nonpolluting travel alternative, and we have funds available for this objective.

Extensive water supply and sanitation services, indispensable for civilized living.

Through an ordinance that we will approve today, we will make it possible to connect citizens from several communities across Romania to the public water supply services. Romania has available in the coming years through this program 968,000,000 euros for sustainable management of the water and wastewater sector. Basically, the first tranche of the old grant that Romania will benefit from, worth 1,800,000,000 euros, entered the country in early December. At the beginning of 2022, another 1.9 billion euros will enter the accounts of the Romanian state, representing the pre-financing from the loan granted to Romania, given that the Romanian side has fulfilled its commitments in this regard.

The funds that Romania will benefit from, next year, will finance reforms expected by citizens, but also investments in infrastructure and I will give the example of two sections of the Transylvania highway, respectively Nădășelu - Zimbor and Zimbor - Poarta Sălajului, energy renovation projects, development of electricity generation capacities. We also have an integrated development vision, and here I must emphasize that we need to further develop these mechanisms to ensure the inter-ministerial platform, which in turn must be an integrated one, correlated with the European Union’s mechanisms. All reforms and investments from PNRR are included in the programme for the government. And from this perspective, but also considering the importance of this project for Romania, we will take over the monitoring of the PNRR operationalization, at the level of the Prime Minister.

The relaunch of the Romanian economy after the pandemic and the infusion of almost 30 billion euros would not have been possible without Romania's EU membership. I would like to emphasize this because soon, on 1 January next year, we will celebrate 15 years since we joined the European Union. The economic and social benefits are the outcome of the united efforts of the European Community, in addition to those derived from our status as members of the family that guarantees the democratic values ​​and fundamental freedoms of the citizens. Thank you!

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