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Thursday, 15 December 2022

Press statements by Prime Minister Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă

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Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, what is your opinion about the boycott of Austrian companies, several state companies moved their accounts so far, and yet, the President made an official statement about it. What is happening in this context?

Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă: As I mentioned each time, it is a difficult situation for us, an unexpected situation. Furthermore, we consider that the decision not to have been accepted in the Schengen area was an unfair decision in relation to the steps and efforts that the Romanian citizens and authorities made. What is happening regarding the way in which we position ourselves towards Austrian authorities, we do it diplomatically and along the official relationship, without any other aspects that leave room for interpretation, and as far as the decision that each individual citizen makes is a decision that we respect, without having a behavior, an attitude to encourage in one way or another the positioning towards one or another company belonging to the Austrian state.

Reporter: What is happening with these state companies that...?

Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă: There is no rule, no decision at the level of state companies in this respect.

Reporter: In November, Mr. Minister, we see that inflation approached 17%. From the data you have, what will happen in the coming months when can we expect it to go down? Because it is one of the most expensive Christmas celebrations in recent years.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: The inflation data for November are the ones you mentioned. It reached almost 17%, compared to November of 2021, so we can say that inflation in 2021, in November, was much lower compared to the other months of last year, and following the analysis we did, when we received these figures, it was very clear that at the end of the year, inflation in 2022 will not exceed 13%. It's just a percentage, of November inflation in 2022 compared to November 2021.

Reporter: Do you expect that, from February to March, the prices will decrease? Romanians are waiting for this answer. When might they see lower prices?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: We talked with specialists from the Ministry of Finance, and the National Bank and we tried to identify the future evolution for 2023. From the data we received, there is a downward trend in inflation for 2023 and, as the analysis shows, it is quite possible that inflation approaches 10%.

Reporter: You said a little earlier that next year, in 2023, we could receive a positive result regarding entry into Schengen. How does the government see this? Could we see this in the year 2023?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: I announced from the very first evening that the decision to vote against our accession to the Schengen area prompts us to mobilize better so that we can meet this national objective. It is a demarche that we will continue. Romania deserves and must enter the Schengen area. We will continue to discuss with all our partners in the European Union, which, by the way, has been achieved. We all saw the support our country had in the European Parliament. I have not been able to see what happened and the results of today's meeting at the European Council. But I am convinced that all these statements of support had the same evolution in the European Council, and if Mr. President announced that there is this possibility in 2023, all we have to do at the governmental level is to continue and intensify our efforts to reach this desideratum.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, we see very large amounts in the GDP presented in the budget for next year. You and your coalition partners also talk about economic growth, but this is not felt in the pockets of Romanians. What message do you have to convey to those who are facing the most expensive Christmas prices in recent years?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: At the level of the Government, we took all the measures we had at our disposal, and here, when I say we discussed, we are talking about the funds we had in the state budget so that we can support the vulnerable population. We know very well what the salary level is in our country, and it was not achieved this year only because of inflation. There are elements that have been on the Government's table and will continue to be. You know very well the measures we have taken through the support packages for the vulnerable population. Our purpose was to do it in such a way as to ensure economic balance, and economic growth, to bring as much money as possible to the state budget so that we can have at our disposal the necessary sums to support those who are really vulnerable and need government support. In the state budget for 2023, we had the same approach, so that we continue to invest in the economy, ensure economic growth and not enter the already predicted downward trend and entry into economic recession. All the institutions - both national and international - are predicting economic growth, of course, not as high as this year, but an economic growth, which gives us the guarantee that we will be able to have at our disposal amounts with which to ensure the growth the minimum wage, and of course, the continuation of supporting the vulnerable population, so that we all get through this period well.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, the Chancellor of Austria spoke at the council and said he is not against Romania and Bulgaria. But the problem is still that of migration. He said that, from Austrian police investigations, about 20,000 of the 75,000 migrants passed through Romania. Have you had discussions since then, have you had further discussions, have you collaborated on this data, and have you been presented with the official data?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: We participated in the technical meetings between the institutions responsible for managing migration in our country, with the data that we obtained, and of course, I think that the most conclusive were those made available by European institutions. We are talking about FRONTEX, Europol, /.../ and none of these data confirm the figures that the officials from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior specified.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: As such, at this moment we can only discuss these data, confirmed data, certified data, and how they were presented and the fact that these figures are above those that were presented by us and European institutions is a matter of responsibility at the level of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior.

Reporter: Given that the institutions did not consider the boycott in our country - neither by the government nor by the presidency - tell me, don't you think that in some way Austria boycotts have a double standard? We are not calling for a boycott, but they are boycotting the Schengen vote simply because they want to solve a problem by not letting things go back to normal.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Our arguments, both technical and logical, were linked precisely to this measure whereby they mentioned that the enlargement of the Schengen area is not possible because of migration, and being an unsafe space, they do not agree with the enlargement with Romania and Bulgaria. In exchange, they agreed with Croatia’s accession to Schengen. It is a matter and a topic I personally discussed with the Austrian Chancellor. It is a topic that was discussed on all diplomatic and technical levels. At this moment, I am sure that Mr. President presented the same data which has been discussed in the council, and this is why the support and outrage for the decision Austria took, have been presented.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, you have an account in a bank with Austrian capital, at least your wealth statement shows that. Is it still open or have you moved it, or perhaps you closed it?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: In order to do this operation, I have to have time to get to the bank. So far I haven't even had time to get home.

Reporter: Will you reach the bank?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: I will make a decision in this respect.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, you submitted the Initial Memorandum to OECD. I want to ask you what is the deadline established at the level of the Government for accession to this Organisation.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: There is no deadline for accession, just standards, and when standards are met and will be confirmed by OECD technical evaluation committee, then our accession to OECD will receive approval. Thank you.

 

 



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