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Friday, 16 September 2022

Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă attended the Rethink Romania Summit, with the topic "Rebuilding education. Reconfiguring demography"


Address by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the Rethink Romania Summit, with the topic "Rebuilding education, reconfiguring demography"


[Check against delivery]

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,

I am glad that I could attend even online this event – I had to stay in Bucharest as I attended another conference earlier, we also have the Cabinet meeting, so, I regret that I could not attend in person your event. I want to express my joy as I heard what the previous young speaker presented and I rejoiced at his optimism, his plans and especially his thinking about the future of his children as a better one than the situation we find ourselves in at present.

I want to congratulate you on the initiative to bring at the same table of discussion entrepreneurs, representatives of the private sector and the political sector, representatives of NGOs, and mass media, to debate topics of strategic interest for our country.

We got accustomed lately to discussions focusing on energy, and economic solutions in order to overcome this challenging time and I am glad that the Rethink Romania summit addresses education and demography.

The demographic problems are a reality of the present times and represent a challenge not only for Romania but for entire Europe.

In addition to the active measures we are taking to support the birth rate or reduce school dropout rates, it is clear that we should adapt the economy and the social relations to a more diverse and ageing population that includes immigrants, persons returning after many years spent abroad, or who search a job at an age older than 60 years. We encounter these situations in almost all EU countries and it is important that we can have access to European experiences and good practices.

This step includes also the measures of the new education laws aimed at ensuring access to quality education, reducing school dropout rates and increasing connections between university curricula and the labour market.

The Strategic Integrate Plan on Reducing School Dropout, enforced as of this school year, ensuring financial resources for preuniversity education, and adjusting the school network to the communities needs, will change the Romanian educational system for the better and will provide an educated and well-qualified human resource. These add to related policies such as the „Remedial Education”, „School after School” Program, adequate funding for the „A second chance” program, and measures that are part of the new education laws that once implemented will provide opportunities so that nobody is left behind.

The Education Laws took shape after a vast consultation within the frame of the Educated Romania Project, and they meet the needs of the Romanian society to have a modern education, adjusted to present times. We need this adaptation. This is why, we earmarked through PNRR, 3.6 billion euros for the Educated Romania Project, and I hold the belief that this money will help concretely to implementing the measures which will upgrade Romanian education.

Increased access to education is closely followed by support granted to young families, a key element of our social policies. In the context of the demographic decline that Romania is facing, we assumed through the programme for the government, a set of measures. We have recently approved in the Government a state budget-funded project through which we encourage birth rate increase, for young people who want to have children. We are also preparing the implementation of the Student Invest Program and the Family Start program, already approved by the Government through which we provide access to funding to young families and students needing support.

We continue to allocate the necessary funds for the development and modernization of the social infrastructure - nurseries, and educational units for the entire educational process - so that parents can be sure that their little ones are well taken care of.

We are on a path of developing and modernizing infrastructure in all areas, improving the quality of life in local communities and strengthening the economy. The more than 90 billion lei dedicated, in this respect, to investments from the national budget, which add to the 90 billion euros from European resources for the coming years, represent substantial funding for our national development plan.

In addition, the institutional reforms started for the accession to the OECD, political and legislative stability, and give confidence to the business environment. The increase of foreign direct investments by over 43% in the first 7 months of the year is a confirmation in this respect, and the estimates of the European institutions and the World Bank regarding the growth potential of the Romanian economy in the coming years, offer hope to our citizens and confidence to investors.

We complete this picture with Romania's anchoring in European policies and objectives related to cutting through the red tape, the expansion of digitalization, the transition to green energy and a sustainable economy. Together with the programs focused on encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and facilitating reintegration, we hope to persuade as many Romanians from abroad as possible to return home - here I make a parenthesis and want to congratulate once again those who prepared and organized the RePatriot event, a very important event through which we demonstrate that, both at the government level and in full connection with civil society, we are taking important steps so that Romanians understand that there are better conditions and that Romania is on a better path, so that let's get them to return home - we need them back home, and once back home, they should capitalize on the accumulated experience for the benefit of Romanian society. We have in all corners of the world valuable researchers, doctors, specialists in technical fields, and qualified people, whose return to Romania will bring a plus added to the labour market and Romanian society.

There are many challenges ahead of us for which we need realistic policies, policies that are forward-looking. I want you to come following these debates, with bold ideas, and proposals that we can capitalize on, at the level of public policies.

I support the involvement of the private sector and civil society in solving the problems determined by the demographic, economic and social changes and I believe that only together can we find the best solutions for the future of Romania.

All these steps are as beneficial as possible and complementary to the steps we take at the government level.

I want to emphasize one more very important point because basically, you are launching a whole set of challenges, which are most welcome. For my part, I want to challenge you to call for realism and responsibility. I really want to leave the formal framework and mention that we are waiting for your criticisms, for a dialogue with you. It is very easy to criticize, to demolish without putting anything in place. And we can see this every day. Have the courage to criticize, criticize constructively without electoral passions! And as the previous young speaker emphasized, let's criticize having Romania’s welfare in mind, the future of the country and especially the future of our children. I have high expectations from your summit and from the dialogue we will continue to maintain with civil society because I am convinced that only such initiatives that will be multiplied in all fields can really change Romania for the better. Thanking you for this opportunity to address you, even just through this online address, I wish you success and look forward to further dialogue and finding solutions together.

Have a good day!

Thank you!

 Răspundem cetăţenilor


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