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Tuesday, 08 April 2014

PM Victor Ponta has attended the presentation of the Annual Activity Report of the Competition Council

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Statements by Prime Minister at the presentation of the Competition Council’s Annual Activity Report

    Victor Ponta: President, distinguished guests, representatives of European and international institutions, I am very glad to be for the second consecutive year, your guest at this evaluation moment, the annual activity report. I want to congratulate you for the excellent initiative too to have this special partnership with the profile institution from the Republic of Moldova and I think that everything Romania learns at European level in this period can be further conveyed for upgrading of institutions in the Republic of Moldova with a view to preparing for accessing to the standards and structures of the European Union. I thank you for this year’s activity, and obviously that the Government is the main partner and beneficiary of the Competition Council’s activities but beyond Government, I think the main beneficiary is the citizen, the consumer.
    I am a Head of Government and a politician who I think that, beyond what is being used in the political language and the wild competition or wild capitalism, I frankly believe that competition rules to be observed by all economic actors, provide the consumer with the best services, accessible prices, and that a market in which everyone observes rules, and in which an arbiter such as the Competition Council is really an arbiter, impartial, is to the benefit of all who are living in this country and the EU. From this standpoint, it is to the Government’s advantage too. I very much appreciate that in those two years since I cooperate with you as Prime Minister, the Competition Council was indeed an arbiter. In Romania, all arbiters are inclined to become players. Fortunately, the Competition Council resisted this temptation and remained an arbiter and for this reason, its results were appreciated both at European and national level. I think that in a country with so many controversies, the fact that your institution stayed always far from these daily controversies, is the appraisal and the most important recognition of the capacity to keep the arbiter status that you must have and which our society needs.
    For the rest, I want to thank you for the results you have obtained; it is about investigations, norms, interventions when the competition was distorted. 
    I was joking before starting the formal meeting with Mr. President that you have no special troops , no televisions, therefore, there are no breaking –news with what the Competition Council is doing, but the effect is much more important, as when an investigation re-establishes the fair competition on the market, the benefit is felt by each of the final beneficiaries. I do not want but to ask you to keep this line, of independence, professionalism, and even discretion, when there is the case, and I think this is the right line, and in Government’s view, everything related to legislative, the swift implementation of the changes at European and international level , institutional functioning , you have absolutely all the support .

These are, however, extremely important moments and situations in which the government decisions are influenced positively , by the consultation we have with you and I would like to thank you for this and I would just mean the what I think it is the greatest challenge of Romania, Europe, in this period , namely the energy market. I think that Romania had the courage to start what constitutes a genuine structural reform in the energy area. 
Obviously, the dangers are very big, because , on the one hand, the free market of energy , here , as in the case of electricity , led to a fall in prices and better quality services , and negative implications; another market which these days, we are trying to do as free as possible - gas market , shows us that not always what we aim we achieve as purpose; the idea of a competition and free market is ideal, but, for example , we have only two gas producers, it is really hard to keep a balance when you have only two players, and with respect to one of these players, decisions are made at Vienna, and as far as the other is concerned, I think they are taken at DNA. What is of interest for me and the Romanian society is that in fair competition conditions, the indirect beneficiary, namely the large energy consumers, those who create jobs, those who pay taxes, and ensure Romania’s export competitiveness, especially, but also on the internal market, to survive this reform that we make, otherwise, we could have reached as it happened in Romania, in the odd situation in which, the surgery is successful, but the patient is dead. This has happened before in Romania and I very much rely on the Competition Council and other field institutions’ expertise to have a successful surgery following which the patient to be healthy, strong and competitive and to keep the positive trend of Romanian economy. I think that it is not impossible surely to say the percentage in which, a part of this 3, 5 percent economic growth of 2013 in Romanian economy is due to the fact that we have a fairer market, a more competitive one, and we have to take care that in the period to come, we keep this competitiveness backing exactly those who make this competitive market ensure the development and welfare. In these conditions, I wish you success and I know that this year, under legal provisions, it is about mandates that should be renewed, I am glad that in other institutions, where the two mandates have already been fulfilled, nothing can be prolonged, in your case, I think that good things should continue, and you will have the Government’s full support, and despite all speculation, I assure you that if you invite me next year too, I will come next year too at this anniversary moment to congratulate you, to tell good things and to say that there is needed an independent institution to back the development of the Romanian society. Thank you and I wish you good luck.


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