Fresh News

Tuesday, 11 February

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban



Reporter: How went the discussions with the UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor?

Ludovic Orban: We held discussions. We are awaiting a decision.

Reporter: Will you hold discussions with Mr Barna too?

Ludovic Orban: I told you that we will talk to all leaders.

Reporter: What was the direction of the discussion with Mr Hunor, what did he let you know?

Ludovic Orban: We have presented him with the arguments in favour of early election.

Reporter: Did he say he would agree with the early election variant?

Ludovic Orban: I do not know, he is to make a decision regarding his stance on early elections.

Reporter: Mr Kelemen Hunor asked for a draft law in Parliament, not ordinance, and said that he will ask the Ombudsman.

Ludovic Orban: The ordinance is likely to be debated, and in case of a parliamentary majority that wants to amend the regulation on early election, this can be quickly done in Parliament.

Ludovic Orban: If he has this intention, I can't stop him.

Reporter: What other political leaders do you meet?

Ludovic Orban: I told you that I will have discussions with all the political leaders to present our plan for early election in advance.

Reporter: Did you try to contact the Social Democrats, Marcel Ciolacu, or Victor Ponta?

Ludovic Orban: No, not yet.

Reporter: Prime Minister, the Legislative Council issued 21 negative opinions for the 25 ordinances.

Ludovic Orban: It issued opinions.

Reporter: But don’t you consider that you have the obligation to /.../

Ludovic Orban: I asked for them. The Legislative Council issues observations regarding the legislative technique, the opinion is not an assent, it is an advisory opinion. The Legislative Council, even if it issued a negative opinion, issued an opinion.

Reporter: But they said the ordinances arrived on February 5, not on 4, so a day after they were adopted.

Ludovic Orban: Let's not play now with procedural tricks. So, the ordinances were adopted by a government in full exercise. I requested the opinion of the Legislative Council, this was given. I have fulfilled the constitutional procedure. And if there is any request to verify the constitutionality, this can be done through the Ombudsman.

Reporter: You mentioned, in the interview, you had earlier, some deadlines for early elections, some I didn't know about. Can you tell them again, please?

Ludovic Orban: What do you refer to?

Reporter: To some dates ...

Ludovic Orban: First of all, the procedure, under the Constitution, lasts for 60 days since the moment I submitted the list of the Cabinet members and the programme for government, therefore, starting yesterday, February 10, 60 days on the Constitutional deadline, deadline in which they need to meet the Constitutional provisions to allow the Romanian President, the dissolution of Parliament, respectively, the rejection of two Cabinet proposals, after which the Constitution also regulates the maximum period in which the early parliamentary elections must be called, that is 90 days. This is the main reason why we issued the emergency ordinance by which we modified the law of parliamentary elections, precisely to establish all the procedural deadlines, so that we can comply with this deadline which is stipulated by the Constitution.

Obviously, we introduced the doubling of the number of MPs, on the diaspora, because, when a million people are voting, and you have more than 800,000 Romanian citizens domiciled abroad, who are registered, and you cannot fail to ensure their representation in Parliament, in line with the representation norm, which is established by law.

We also introduced two provisions: a provision that is related to the exercise of the right to vote under the conditions of the presidential vote, which allowed every Romanian citizen living in the diaspora to vote without waiting in line, without being humiliated, without being prevented from exercising the right to vote, and also to allow Romanian citizens to vote in another county than in the county where they have their permanent domicile. It is a situation that exists and that everyone knows and that nobody has had the courage to regulate until now, to allow the exercise of the right to vote by these citizens too; it is the case of students, for example, who may study at a faculty that is in a constituency other than their county of domicile, and if they are in the exam session, it is normal to allow them to exercise their right to vote. Also, there are those who have a permanent domicile in a county, in Vaslui for example, but they work in Iasi. It may happen to be at work on the voting day, and in order to have their right to vote observed, we allowed them to vote in order not to hinder the representativeness of Parliament. Parliament should be the faithful mirror of the political options of the citizens nationwide.

Reporter: Do you have any solution regarding...

Ludovic Orban: In the budgetary construction, we adopted a set of measures such as: banning the secondment from the private to the state sector, which helped the public system get rid of thousands of employees, thus reducing the budgetary expenditure, in addition to that, it institutes a very serious system: nobody enters the public sector but through contest, held in law terms, with a proven competence, with the possibility of holding a contest to occupy public offices. We froze the dignitaries’ allowances. They, by rejecting the Emergency Ordinance 1, increase in fact their wages. The PSD representatives did so: increased their wages.

Reporter: What possibilities do you have if these ordinances...

Ludovic Orban: Appeal to the Constitutional Court ... Of course, this was the vote in the Senate, we will fight for the vote in the Chamber. We call for a rational approach. I have never seen such a lack of responsibility. They sped up the introduction of so many draft laws, which are in the Parliament’s debate, generating new expenditure, reducing various categories of expenditure of the state budget. The European Commission may trigger the excessive deficit procedure because of budgetary holes they let us, excessive spending on public money and they want to come to power to generate new expenditure. How to curtail deficit, meeting the deficit target established through the EU Treaty, the 3 percent, if they keep on passing new laws, generating new expenditure, and passing laws to reduce even more the budget receipts? It is gross irresponsibility, despair, and I am sure that people understand these things, and do not let themselves be tricked again by all the lies and demagoguery of the PSD representatives. As for the child benefits, I made it clear that it cannot be done legally. We postponed the coming into force of the law on increasing child benefits, we increased the child benefit, it was us who initiated the draft law ensuring an annual increase of child benefit to recover the loss of the purchasing power due to inflation, we increased child benefits, but we do not have a legal ground, as the State budget law came into force previously, and do not have the amounts provided. They now want to reject the ordinance on postponing the deadline for the coming into force of the increase in child benefit, which we did with common sense, following the budgetary rectification. You cannot endlessly mock on this country, and not take into account some economic realities, some of your obligations as a European country, that of not generating expenditure without receipts, only from electoral demagoguery and an open mockery on the citizens.

Reporter: The solution would be its challenge at the Constitutional Court?

Ludovic Orban: The solution is early elections. Any day when this Parliament remains in office is a danger to Romania. We have a short-term parliamentary majority, built by the PSD, having over 40% of the Parliament seats, that put forward all kind of populist initiatives, gathering all kind of allies and effectively blowing up the country's economy and budget.

Reporter: Prime Minister, even if early elections are organized, these measures will become effective if the ordinances were in fact.

Ludovic Orban: Not all of them will take effect. What do you mean?

Reporter: Well increasing the allowances for elected officials /.../.

Ludovic Orban: There is more until the entry into force. There is more, more until they take effect.

Reporter: /../ decision-making chamber /.../

Ludovic Orban: Ordinance 1 is not voted in the decision-making chamber. Ordinance 1 was only passed yesterday in the Senate. It is to be distributed by the Standing Bureau of the Chamber to the committees, a report to be drafted on it, and only afterwards it enters the plenary of the Chamber.

Reporter: By then do you return to the Government and resolve the situation?

Ludovic Orban: Well, no. So, there are other solutions, we can challenge it before the Constitutional Court, the bill can be resubmitted, however, it has no basis in the Constitution and in the state budget substantiation, that is to say, you pretend not to see that it is a law of the state budget and a law of the state social security budget in force and you keep inventing new expenses that cannot be honoured.

Reporter: Are you open to a discussion on the possibility of co-opting USR to the Cabinet? Will you discuss this with Dan Barna?

Ludovic Orban: That, after the election.

Reporter: Until then do you leave out/.../?

Ludovic Orban: Well, but what do we do? We propose some governments that we want to dismiss because elections cannot be organized ... It seems to me that this is a joke, to try to become a member of a Cabinet that you know will be dismissed anyway.

Reporter: And after those /.../?

Ludovic Orban: Anyway,it remains in power through this procedure, the Cabinet I am leading, will remain in office, it is in charge of solving the current issues of Romania, of solutions, answers, the current administration, of solving the problems of the people.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, but if these allowances can still be doubled by the decision of MPs, to reject the ordinance, where will you get the necessary funds, how will you apply the law?

Ludovic Orban: I told you there is still a long way to go before a law rejecting the ordinance comes into force.

Reporter: Did the Minister of Health pay you a visit /.../ this morning?

Ludovic Orban: I mean they are taking advantage ... We discussed the possibilities ...

Reporter: Have you discussed the option of withdrawing from the new Cabinet Ludovic Orban, Cabinet no.2?

Ludovic Orban: Well. You ask me a question ... Based on what you ask me this question? We talked about the options for reducing the clawback tax. He presented me with three possible solutions regarding the reduction of the clawback tax, that was the topic of the discussion.

Reporter: Will you be able to negotiate with the political leaders about early elections, in the coming days, for /.../?

Ludovic Orban: Certainly. Certainly, we are pursuing a procedure and we will make every effort to give back the power to the Romanian people and give them the right to decide the fate of this country and not to allow a parliamentary majority hostile to Romania to mock on this country

Reporter: Do you think you will be able to gather enough MPs for the investiture vote, in order to reach quorum?

Ludovic Orban: We are trying to persuade as many MPs, as many political parties, as many parliamentary groups to endorse the early election variant.

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