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Friday, 11 June

Prime Minister Florin Cîțu’s visit to Sălaj county

Press conference by Prime Minister Florin Cîțu and Minister of Internal Affairs Lucian Bode at Zalău

[Check against delivery]

Lucian Bode: Good afternoon! I am glad to see you again today, at this press conference, alongside the Prime Minister of Romania, Mr. Florin Cîţu, and with a true friend of Sălaj, of the people of Sălaj, Mr. Mayor Emil Boc. It has been an important day, with an extremely busy schedule. As you well know, after this press conference we will pay a visit to the vaccination marathon in Zalău, and we included in the agenda a visit to the second important economic agent in our municipality to discuss some issues, which they raised to Prime Minister. Mr Prime Minister, I invite you to take the floor.

Florin Cîţu: Thank you, Minister. Thanks for the invitation. I'm honored to be here today. It's true, we attended several political and administrative events. First of all, I came to see the current status of investments in Romania. These are investments that I look at in the private sector to see if we need to do something more in order to improve things.

Before talking about today's visit here, I would like to clarify a few things about the PNRR, because I saw some fake news. I also said this morning that the PNRR was not rejected and it was not referred back, this is fake news. And this is the truth - before the Commission coming with clarifications, which confirmed what I said. Romanians must be very careful and things must be very clear to them, we are not losing this money, 29.2 billion euros, we will take it all, we have projects for this money, important investment projects for Romania that will be completed by 2026 - infrastructure, hospitals, educated Romania, development plan for UATs [territorial administrative units] or development fund for UATs, there are projects there to take this money. We are currently undergoing a customary procedure, one that all the countries of the European Union are undergoing. The European Commission makes observations, we answer them and this is the moment we're at.

I have a very clear message for all those who work on the PNRR - and here I am referring to public administration officials. You must know that you cannot go on holiday until we have this PNRR approved. All Romanians need this money, and they placed their hopes in it. It is our responsibility and of those who are working on this project to have the best PNRR. You must therefore take all the comments of the European Commission and treat them with great care. If we face problems with PNRR because these remarks were dealt with superficially by an official or anyone, at any level of the public administration, I guarantee you that person or those people will go home. We do not play with this, you must take into account all the observations, we respond quickly, respond immediately and make a good PNRR. So, no one goes home, on vacation, until we have this PNRR. Things must be very clear, it is about 29. 2 billion euros. We have to take this money, it is money we need to develop.

As regards the visit here, it has been a very good visit, Mr. President and Mr. Minister. I visited a successful company and saw things and, in fact, I am proud to see that new, innovative technologies are being used for the first time in Romania in this industry. Romania has come to have technologies that are used for the first time in this industry, in our country, which means that we attract and we also have the necessary resources to attain the best results. I also had political discussions, I launched a candidate, I was at the launch of a candidate of the National Liberal Party, a colleague who will surely win at Şimleul Silvaniei and I am glad about this.

And, of course, I am here to further support the vaccination campaign. Let's not forget that we are still in a pandemic. At present, you rank 10th, it is an honorable place, but much more needs to be done, and I am looking here at the chairperson of the County Council, we need to do more because the pandemic has not ended. It is true, at this moment, we have very good results, this vaccination campaign continues until we make sure that we will not have any case of infection. At that moment, I think we can say that we have overcome the pandemic.

Today I have received a study, in fact, which was conducted yesterday and I would like, I do not know how much was publicized, but which clearly shows that Romania is going in the right direction. It's a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and I'd like to read you just one thing. It is public, an interview of this company with directors, managers of companies in Romania and at present, the trust of these managers in Romania’s growth prospects attained a record level in the last decade, ever since this report has been drawn. Therefore, the number of optimists is third times bigger compared to the 2020 edition. We have just exited the pandemic, and the optimism of these managers has attained a record level, the biggest in the last ten years, which means that the solutions we put forward last year, and the fact that we said we transfer resources to investment, to produce more, so that everyone enjoys the results of investment later on, boosted the confidence of these managers.

The fact that we paid the bills on time, the fact that we were transparent, that we came up with measures such as VAT refund with subsequent control and many other measures which we took during this period, increased the managers’ trust in Romania. Why is this important? Because when companies have trust, it means that they are investing, they will hire more people, and here again we have a very good result, 30% of those interviewed say that the number of employees in their organizations has increased in the last 12 months. Therefore, 30% of these managers say that they have hired more people in recent 12 months. Globally, it is about 24% who say they did this. 20% of CEOs say they have managed to keep the number of employees relatively constant. Therefore, about 50% of managers say they enjoyed good conditions in Romania last year, and that guarantees that they will invest in the next period as well.

These are the things I wanted to tell you. I return to PNRR, because I have seen debates in the public space. It was not rejected, it was not referred back, we will take the money - 29.2 million euros - and it is the responsibility of each employee, civil servant to make sure we have a good PNRR. I stop here, Mr. President, and thank you!

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