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Thursday, 25 Nov 2021

Speech by Prime Minister –designate Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the plenary session of Parliament

Speech by Prime Minister-designate Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the joint plenary session of Parliament for the investiture of the new Cabinet

 

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President of the Senate,

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies,

Dear MPs,

 

Today, we are in a moment long-awaited by all Romanians, one in which we can finally offer predictability and guarantee Romania's stability and development through all the measures and decisions we will take for the good of the citizens.

I want it to be the first day of a new approach to the country’s government. Together with all the ministers in this Cabinet, I pledge to do everything in our power to improve Romania's economic, social and health situation.

I have seen that there have been persons who expressed their surprise at the fact that the parties that make up the current ruling coalition could come together. I think these persons were more concerned with looking for the reasons that separate us than the reasons that bring us closer.

We, who are before you today, to ask for your vote of confidence, have gone over those things that separate us and we have found the things that unite us. We understood that the interest of Romanians is above all pride and political adversity.

The pandemic has taught us one thing, that time is precious. We are determined to carry out this programme and put an end to the tense situation that our country is going through.

Although we are witnessing bitter speeches every day, we have decided to come before you with a sustainable programme for the government, which will offer Romania the guarantee that things will return to normal and that we will enjoy stability in the next period.

I came to Parliament today to ask for your vote of confidence. Through the proposed programme for government, we showed that the interests of the Romanians come first, and we pledge to guarantee success in several directions of action.

The first refers to investments, in the absence of which Romania cannot recover or meet the objectives we all want. Our common goal is to modernize Romania and that is why we will allocate 7% of GDP for investment, money which will go mainly to infrastructure projects, but also the administrative units, to help reduce the gap among localities, as well as the gap between urban and rural areas. One of the investment programmes devoted to localities in Romania, essential for the country’s development is the „Anghel Saligny” programme. We cannot speak of a developed and modern state if we further have localities without roads, water, sewerage, gas networks.

The second direction of action of the Government is linked to the connection through the infrastructure of the historical regions, by continuing the investments in the construction of highways, railways and means of intermodal transport until 2024, as well as the geographical balance of infrastructure, strengthening the economic and strategic position of the Constanta Port. These are only some of the main targets that are about to be found in the programme for government.

Our third direction refers to Romania’s balanced and cohesive development. No region should be left behind in terms of transport infrastructure development. This is a commitment we make before you and Romanians and it represents the priority of the Programme for Government 2021 -2024. This direction represents a booster for both increasing people’s living standards and revenues and for fostering investment.

The next direction focuses on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. PNRR is the main axis in achieving our objectives. The use of this European money is closely linked to the observance of a well-established schedule and the implementation of reforms to improve institutional capacity, corporate governance, digitalization of transportation and increased safety in the area, as well as to meet the European goals for the decarbonisation of transport, and environmental protection, with increased attention to climate change.

Romania’s modernization process requires concrete and urgent measures for the digitalization of public services, to bring them closer to citizens and increase the degree of using new technologies in our country. Digitalization is an important instrument in the substantiation of the decisions based on concrete data and in drawing up public policies based on tested hypotheses. The consumer is today preponderantly in online, digitalization transforms economic sectors while the online platforms will continue to create some new market and business models. This period of crisis has proved how important technology is, and how it contributed to the survival, recovery and resilience of various pandemic–hit industries.

As regards healthcare, we will develop a fair programme on unrestricted and uninterrupted access to medical services. We will ensure the resilience of the health system and we will accelerate and encourage vaccination against COVID 19, to reduce the pressure on public hospitals. The resilience of the health system is a priority objective of the Government, for which investments will be made in 46 hospitals and departments through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The citizen is and will be at the centre of the government act, being its beneficiary. Citizen safety is a priority and, as aforementioned, we cannot afford the luxury of political animosity that can cause new crises, especially when a crisis comes at the expense of the life, living standards and well-being of Romanian citizens. We will implement measures to protect people in need, through decent forms of support, including people with disabilities, by increasing pensions, guaranteeing equity in this regard, ensuring a decent living for the elderly and correcting purchasing power.

Increased attention will be attached to the families and support for them. I am first thinking of families with small children who are facing big financial pressure. We want to encourage population growth, and to offer a real chance to all Romanians at the beginning of a new life path.

Our goal is to ensure the development and prosperity of our country through the measures we will implement. There are millions of Romanian citizens abroad, people to whom we are dutybound to pay attention and support. As regards Romanians abroad, we are committed to maintaining an open and transparent dialogue, ensuring that their rights are observed and implementing investment programs with everyone’s involvement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will continue to look for the best solutions to the crisis generated by surging energy prices. So far, we have proven that, although, with limited powers, we have managed to find solutions, in recent weeks, to the energy price crisis. It was a Parliament-Government collaboration that placed the interests of Romanians first. I want the effective collaboration between the two-state institutions to continue. I know that many Romanians have fears regarding how they will spend the winter, how they will be able to pay their bills. We have already taken the first steps: passing the vulnerable consumer law, compensating bills and capping prices. Alongside our Government colleagues, we will continue to look for the best solutions for Romanians, because our goal is that we all spend the winter season in the best way possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A strong state is a state that supports the business environment and it is his fair, predictable and friendly partner. We will keep the flat tax rate and we are against raising taxes and duties.

Our role is to foster the development of entrepreneurship, and this cannot be achieved by increasing the pressure on economic operators, who are already severely affected by the negative impact of the pandemic on their businesses. A prosperous business environment provides jobs.

We will encourage, through concrete measures, domestic capital and we will work for the creation of a brand identity for Romania, which will contribute to the creation of a positive image of our country in relation to the potential partners. Tourism must play an active role in creating Romania’s image, as an integral part of the process of increasing the attractiveness of our country, by more efficiently highlighting the natural, cultural and human heritage, by emphasizing Romanian values, talents, traditions and customs.

We will implement a functional partnership, which will contribute to ensuring good collaboration between the private and the public environment. Cooperation is the cornerstone of development, and attracting all interested parties in an honest partnership will ensure their involvement in implementing a vision and attaining joint objectives as well as the sustainability and competitiveness of the economic environment in Romania.

To meet all the objectives we set out, state reform is needed through the revision of the Constitution of Romania, public administration reform through decentralization and cutting through the red tape, modernization of large public systems, especially regarding pensions and wages so that we ensure quality public services, and at reasonable costs. Thus, we propose a participatory government and, together with the most important state institutions, the Romanian Presidency, Parliament, we will engage in an honest, transparent and long-lasting partnership with civil society, the Church, employers, trade unions and other associative structures.

We will take care to complete the process of restitution of private property.

Dear colleagues, members of Parliament,

A key area that is a priority for the Government and me personally is education. Education has suffered greatly this year. Therefore, we will take all necessary measures to ensure that students no longer suffer because of the pandemic.

In the programme for government, the starting point for construction in education for the period 2021 - 2024 is the operationalization and implementation of the "Educated Romania" Project, this goal is included in the National Strategy for Country’s Defence, adopted by the Romanian Parliament and assumed by the Romanian Government.

While addressing the problems generated by the pandemic, the Romanian Government will place special emphasis on preparing the education system on the following five levels: general connectivity, electronic equipment appropriate to the level of education for all beneficiaries of the education system, digital content for all curricula and grades, training all teachers for digital pedagogy and dedicated and secure evaluation platforms. However, it is particularly important to ensure access to education on the entire Romanian territory and to support acutely disadvantaged environments.

The social integration of young people and their support through access to studies are particularly important for the prosperity of the Romanian State, to ensure the necessary training for a job.

An important contribution to reducing unemployment among the young population will be made by the dual education system. Professional experience is highly valued by companies, and the lack of such experience is a major obstacle for those looking to get hired for the first time. Most young people face difficulties in finding their first job, and the practice in the dual education system can be attractive for employers.

When we refer to young people, we must not omit the importance of culture. Culture is an integrating factor of traditions, heritage, diversity, artistic creations and new communication platforms and must be treated appropriately to create and strengthen institutions to the extent of the benefits that only this binder of society can offer. To protect it and pass it on to future generations, cultural heritage must be viewed in the light of the specifics of each type of heritage. It must be approached simultaneously and complementary from the point of view of its two great specificities: tangible heritage and intangible heritage.

At the same time, if we refer to young people, and their education, it is recommendable to talk about the field of sports. After all, sport plays a key role in shaping a healthy lifestyle. Performance athletes are true ambassadors of our country abroad. We are proud of them all over the world. Unfortunately, far too little attention has been paid to sports infrastructure and the formation of talented young athletes. Therefore, an objective of the Government will be to ensure sports infrastructure, develop regulations to facilitate citizens volunteering, and balanced and transparent funding of sports activities, while creating links with the private sector, which will lead to accelerated and sustainable development both of amateur sports as well as professional sports. There is a need to change the model of involvement of public authorities in sport, leading to the reorganization of this sector and its transparent and predictable funding from public budgets.

Dear lawmakers,

Under the same good collaboration between state institutions, it is necessary to ensure observance of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, given especially the priorities deriving from Romania’s obligations as an EU Member State. Justice is the power of the state called to achieve an efficient, accessible, impartial and independent public service. A modern, efficient, accessible and quality justice system, adapted to the needs of citizens and the private environment is an important premise for economic development and social and economic stability of the country.

We aim for Romania's foreign policy to be coherent, predictable and based on three fundamental pillars: strengthening Romania's role in the European Union, strengthening its NATO profile and strengthening its strategic partnership with the United States.

Regarding public order and safety, the Government's main objective is to strengthen the capacity to act in the interest of citizens and communities, to become a provider of confidence in state institutions.

Internally, efforts must focus on increasing the safety and protection of the citizens, on continuing institutional reforms and on solving structural problems that have made the system vulnerable and have exposed it to significant risks. At the same time, the digital transformation of the public services offered to the citizens by the Internal Affairs Ministry’s structures represents a key element of modernization and institutional transformation.

Internationally, Romania's accession to the Schengen Area is a strategic objective with strong implications for the entire security architecture of the European Union.

Also, within NATO, we will aim to strengthen the profile as a regional security pillar. The aim is to increase Romania's strategic credibility, based on predictability, continuity and commitment to the objectives undertaken at the Allied level regarding ensuring the parameters set at the Allied level for financing defence, developing national defence capacity and response level, participation in Allied initiatives and projects aimed at developing joint Allied capabilities; participation in NATO missions and operations.

At the same time, externally, our country will continue to actively support the EU integration efforts of the Republic of Moldova and the pro-democratic reform program, based on the Strategic Partnership for European Integration of the Republic of Moldova. Our support is based on the community of language, history and culture, as well as the vision of the common space from the perspective of European integration.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As of today, we want us all to make our contribution to building a stronger and more prosperous Romania, bringing Romanians together around a common goal: combating and mitigating the effects of the current crisis but especially supporting the development and evolution of Romania.

The task of the Government is to mobilize that extraordinary spirit of the Romanians, to offer the necessary opportunities for the development of a strong nation and to highlight the full potential of our people. For all this, we need your support and the support of all Romanians! And because in a short time, we will celebrate Romania's National Day, let me wish: "Happy birthday to all Romanians!", "Happy birthday, Romania!". Thank you!

 



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