Fresh News

Tuesday, 03 December

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban after the launch event of the commemorative collector banknote with the theme “Completion of the Great Union- Ion I. C. Brătianu”

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Reporter: In connection with the evolution of the euro-leu exchange rate, we found yesterday that the foreign exchange reserves decreased by one billion lei to support the national currency. What is your opinion? Did you talk to the governor?

Ludovic Orban: I was invited to a launch event of the commemorative banknote, dedicated to the great Ionel Brătianu, the one who made a decisive contribution to the achievement of the Great Union. I congratulated the National Bank, I said that it is perhaps the most suitable institution to celebrate in this way because we know the very important contribution the one who led the National Bank, Eugeniu Carada had in guiding and supporting Ionel Brătianu's career, especially at the beginning.

Regarding the exchange rate, it is obviously determined by many factors. December is known to be a month in which consumption increases. We have a very large trade deficit. The need for imported products in December is increasing great and, because of this, there is a very strong demand for euro which creates pressure on the leu-euro exchange rate.

Reporter: From your discussions with the governor, are there any concerns about the rate?

Ludovic Orban: No. I am sure that you would get the same answer from him at this question.

Reporter: I would like to ask you if any impact study has been conducted so far regarding the repeal of some measures from Ordinance 114?

Ludovic Orban: We are working on this now. I asked the agreement of the National Political Bureau of PNL to work, practically, on the repeal of most of Ordinance 114, which is a criminal ordinance that generated extremely negative effects in vital areas for Romania’s evolution, such as: energy, the financial –banking system, communications, the functioning of the pension pillar II, and in an array of other fields of activity. Of course, these amendments will be based on studies. We will also discuss with social partners, employers and trade unions to carry out a consultation, we already held consultations in the past, we know very well the position of the social partners, which is mainly in support of this initiative. Of course, we would have wished that in the debate in Parliament- the ordinance is under debate in the Chamber of Deputies - we could correct the provisions of this ordinance, repeal all those provisions. Unfortunately, things do not run as we expected, on the contrary, we found that, in different commissions, amendments are made that further aggravate the consequences of this ordinance. Let me give you just one example: the ceiling for the fund has been raised ... the ghostly Development and Investment Fund. Our intention is to put an end to this lie whereby, in the absence of the necessary funds, some contracts were signed only from the wish of the former Prime Minister, who was a presidential candidate and wanted to win the goodwill of some PSD mayors.

Reporter: As regards Pillar II, do you intend to increase that percentage of the contribution that goes from state to private administration?

Ludovic Orban: This is certainly our objective, but it will not be the subject of this regulation. What we will repeal - we will repeal the absurd provisions that have been imposed on the companies that manage the funds of the of private pensions Pillar II.

Reporter: What decision was made /.../ regarding the minimum wage, after today's discussion with employers and unions?

Ludovic Orban: Of course, the employers' associations endorse our proposal to the largest extent. As for the trade unions, they came up with some proposals that we are analyzing, but they will be the basis of subsequent discussions that we will have during next year to define the legal mechanism by which the minimum wage increase will be established. We noted the desire of some to rely on forecasts for the coming year. Of course, many times, the forecasts ... I give you just one example: the 2019 budget was built on a 5.5% growth forecast and, in fact, the 2019 economic growth will probably be around 4 %.

Reporter: Is it possible to approve next year's budget by taking responsibility in Parliament?

Ludovic Orban: I didn't discuss this, I only discussed with my colleagues in the Government and the party colleagues and with the coalition partners that it is very important to approve the budget until the end of the year. This story with delaying the budget approval until March only not to make new investment expenditure for ...Therefore: all local authorities, all companies, all citizens should know the provisions of the state budget law and the state social security budget until the end of the year so that they adjust their action. Local authorities should adopt their budgets in the shortest time possible in order to kick off all investment projects they scheduled for 2020. The companies should know very clearly the provisions of the state budget law in order to be able to adjust the company policy. Each citizen especially the public sector employees, pensioners or those who receive other aid forms should know very clearly what to expect during 2020.

Reporter: To be approved until the end of the year, it should be ready at least until December 15, at the Finance.

Ludovic Orban: It will be ready.

Reporter: Will it be ready?

Ludovic Orban: Surely. The Finance Minister started ...and worked in parallel the draft budget, we needed to swiftly approve the emergency ordinance on budget rectification and we also explained the absolute need for adopting this emergency ordinance on budget rectification. Surely, we started to build next year’s budget in parallel and it will be ready on the established deadline.

Reporter: But you do not leave out the possibility of responsibility taking, in the event things are lingering in Parliament...

Ludovic Orban: We will see. We will have talks with all our partners and we will also have talks with the other parties that did not back the Cabinet investiture, in order to try to persuade them to finalize debates on budget and adopt the state budget law and the social security budget law until the end of the year.

Reporter: What do we know at present about the legislative procedure for Romania’s gold repatriation?

Ludovic Orban: Please ask the Finance Minister Florin Cîțu about it.

Reporter: Reporter: Will you invest in Treasury securities?

Ludovic Orban: Who, me?

Reporter: Yes.

Ludovic Orban: I have no money to invest, just the remuneration of prime minister.

Reporter: The result of last year's PISA tests was published today, stating that over 44% of students are functionally illiterate. What do you say about this?

Ludovic Orban: It is clear that there is a need to increase the quality of education in Romania, which should be achieved not by cosmetic measures, but by substance measures. Here, you know very well that the President of Romania, together with almost all the actors in the field of education, in the business environment, adopted a very important document underpinning the governmental action in the education reform - it is about"educated Romania ", which practically lays the foundation of our action to significantly increase the quality of education in Romania.

Reporter: Prime Minister, does the minimum wage increase from 1 January?

Ludovic Orban: It will definitely increase.

Reporter: With 150 lei per gross, or ...?

Ludovic Orban: We conduct analysis and our model will take into account the proposals that have been put forward especially by the trade union confederations and hopefully, we will make a decision as soon possible in this respect.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you!


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