Fresh News

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Prime Minister Florin Cîțu attended the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Romania's return to normal on June 1, 2021, in the context of COVID -19 pandemic

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Florin Cîțu: Good afternoon! Today we had a meeting, the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Romania's return to normal on June 1. It is, in fact, the first step, a meeting we have been waiting for one year, as, when we enter the state of emergency last year, it was complicated to see this scenario: how we will return to normal.

Today, we can see how to get back to normal, that is why we have this inter-ministerial committee to prepare the first milestone, the first part. June 1 does not mean that we return to normal, but it means a first step, an important step. I have said that then we can do this, if we have almost 35% of the population that has to be immunised, vaccinated, we will do that as it depends on us to do it. This was a meeting where the regulation was approved, a meeting where I told my colleagues how I think they should work: each ministry will come up with proposals that they discuss first with the sectors operating under their authority. There are all ministries, as all Ministries had all kind of measures this year which hit the activity of sectors which they monitor, administer. Of course, the Health Ministry, the Internal Affairs Ministry are there because all these measures will have to be discussed with the Health Ministry, and the Internal Affairs Ministry and will have to be analyzed. It was a meeting we have waited for one year which gives us hope. (...) We have started to think of the return to normality. I told my colleagues that according to regulation, they will meet weekly, but they can have extraordinary meetings anytime and I encourage them to meet anytime, to have solutions on the table, which we can present publicly, and then, we can prepare for this return to normality, the first phase of the return to normality from June 1st. I know that I tell it many times, but it depends only on us. A successful vaccination campaign brings normality to Romania. These have been discussed today in this meeting.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, what will happen from June 1? You spoke about relaxation, the president said that you would better present a plan of measures. What should Romanians expect?

Florin Cîțu: The President was right, I am right too. Yes, it is a plan of measures which shows that we will return to normal. We do not return 100 percent from June 1, that is clear, but we will show the first step, what we can do when we have a 35 percent vaccination rate, then, we can discuss the next steps. But it is a conditionality and I say it each time: it does not happen without vaccination! Therefore, the return to normal cannot happen without vaccination! It is the only solution. We had a two-month lockdown last year and we did not return to normal. Therefore, it is not the solution. The solution is to get vaccinated.

Reporter: Good afternoon! We understand that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan should suffer amendments in order to be approved by the European Commission. The projects for irrigations and the projects for infrastructure would not be accepted by the Commission. But can you tell us what will happen with these projects?

Florin Cîțu: The Minister of Investment and European Projects was there last week. There is a negotiation. We put forward a plan. The European Commission expressed its views, we return. I would not say that the European Commission refused something, as it is not true, it could not happen that. I think it is about „ fine-tuning”, reshaping what we have in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan in order to fit the patterns that the European Commission is considering. I see no other problem here.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, two questions if you allow me. First of all, if you were aware of the serious situation that the cancer patients have been facing, I refer to what is happening at the Institute of Oncology, medicines are missing. The new Minister claims that she will conduct an investigation in this respect. Have you been informed? It seems that the former Health Minister was aware of it and nothing was done. Have you been informed about this situation and if additional intervention is needed from Government, given the desperate situation that the cancer patients are facing? Second question regarding the decisions of the National Committee for Emergency Situations that you coordinate, if Greece was introduced on the „yellow list”, also Maldive, and if the Republic of Moldova was withdrawn? Thanks.

Florin Cîțu: The CNSU meeting is in progress, we will communicate afterwards. As regards the situation at the Health Ministry, we are waiting for the conclusions of the new Minister and afterwards we will make them public.

Reporter: Were you aware of the situation there? Have you been informed by the former Health Minister?

Florin Cîțu: Let us wait for the conclusions. It is the information we all have now and we have been waiting for conclusions, to see when this situation was found, who knew about it and afterwards, we will make them public.

Reporter: Are you considering a proposal which may come over the next weeks, regarding the opening of restaurants based on tests, resumption of private events and also based on rapid test or PCR, in the context in which there are these relaxation measures? Thanks.

Florin Cîțu: All proposals will be discussed by the Interministerial Committee, this is the role of this Interministerial Committee. I believe that in the next interval we will be able to talk about some pilot tests, pilot events, pilot situations, since we cannot talk in the immediate future about a complete reopening of one sector or another. I am open to proposals, I want to see them, and I want to see them on the table of the Interministerial Committee and then we will make a decision together.

Reporter: You spoke about the pilot –tests. Can you give us examples of what could be reopened earlier, as a test?

Florin Cîțu: I would like to see all sectors opening earlier, but I think that there are at least some proposals at this point that the Ministry of Culture is reviewing, part of them referring to some pilot tests for the National Theatre and the Opera House, as far as I know. We will see how things will look in the end.

Reporter: When do we give up the mask-wearing?

Florin Cîțu: After we get vaccinated, we will give up mask-wearing as well.

Reporter: From June 1st?

Florin Cîţu: On June 1, it is a bit early to give up the mask, there are only 35% of people vaccinated. We need to think about giving up the mask after we meet that target of 10 million vaccinated citizens. Until then, it doesn't make sense to talk about such a thing.

Reporter: A rather controversial piece of information appeared in the public space, the appointment of Romulus Burlacu to the State Inspectorate for Constructions. From the documentation, we find out that he had problems with the National Integrity Agency, signing contracts with a company in which he was a shareholder, with the state, and, of course, for three years he was not allowed to hold public offices. If you can tell us if you knew about his situation and if you can further detail.

Florin Cîţu: I think that Mr. Burlacu has already explained his situation, I think that he also issued a communique. The decision has been reversed and currently, there is no final decision, the case is on trial again, as far as I know.

Reporter: In addition to my colleague, I would like to talk about the controversial people in the government, and I am referring here to the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health. I saw your statement yesterday. The question is: is it necessary to reorganize, to abolish a post in order to remove a person from office? And I also refer to Mrs Elena Petrașcu, whom you brought in your wing at SGG. What does recommend Mrs Petrascu? Thank you.

Florin Cîţu: Well, you see? Nothing recommended this person for that office, she just moved from the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice and came here, that's the problem, I learned from that. Nothing recommended her for that governmental office, but when I transferred her from the Ministry of Justice, she was automatically appointed as governmental inspector.

Reporter: You signed that decree. What were the arguments behind it?

Florin Cîţu: And then I said that it is much easier, if we have people with problems, to abolish the respective post. You know very well the case of that person from the Ministry of Finance who was accused of colalboration with Securitate, last year, I reorganized the Finance Ministry and that post was abolished, that was transferred following reorganization, but I did my best to solve this. Therefore, it can be done through reorganization, if we want it. If we move them from one ministry to another, we solve nothing, if there are persons with problems.

Reporter: Are you thinking of making clear rules? I mean, can we avoid such situations from now on?

Florin Cîţu: We can do this by amending the Administrative Code. If we have people who are proven to have collaborated with Securitatea, yes, we can do that.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, the school will reopen on May 4. How will this reopening of schools be done? Will the Romanian Government provide the non-invasive tests that Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu requested a month ago?

Florin Cîţu: This issue was approached today, in this committee. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education will analyze the situation and the way the children may return to school after May 4.

Reporter: Will you provide the non-invasive tests, requested by Minister Cîmpeanu, until May 4?

Florin Cîţu: Let's see to what conclusions the two ministries reach and then we will make them public.

Reporter: Until we reach that milestone of 10 million vaccinated, is it likely to carry our testing in localities where there are no positive cases or where the incidence rate is very low, and no mask to be worn there anymore?

Florin Cîţu: I am not a supporter of disproportionate measures. I would like to take action for everyone. This proposal has not been discussed this time. If a proposal is submitted to the inter-ministerial committee, we will take it into account. But this issue has not been currently discussed.

Reporter: Proposals for recreational areas, from the sea, for example, have been put forward so far and if so, what is it about?

Florin Cîţu: No! Not this time. It was the first meeting of the committee, I told you that the regulation were discussed today. There will surely be discussions in the next period, I encouraged my colleagues to meet often, to have some solutions as early as possible, in order to have time to prepare for this stage starting June 1st. Thank you very much!

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