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Wednesday, 20 May

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban at Victoria Palace

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Ludovic Orban: Good evening! The Council of the European Union has approved a regulation on the implementation of the so-called SURE programme. This is a programme by which the European Union helps the member states to finance the active employment measures. Basically, we can say today that Romania has the guarantee that it will benefit from EU funds to be able to implement the employment measures conceived by the Romanian Government, measures designed to help both the employers and the employees. This program will help member states access important amounts of money on condition of providing certain guarantees. Concerning Romania, Romania will have to offer a guarantee of up to 400 million euros and it will benefit, according to our calculations, of course, depending on the mechanism of distribution of the respective funds, of an amount between 3 billion and 5 billion euros, the total amount to be used in this program is a hundred billion. As I announced one week ago, Romania’s economic recovery plan includes an extremely important set of measures to support the employees and employers over the next period.

First of all, we will continue to pay the furloughed staff in those fields where restrictions are being maintained after June 1, but we will replace this measure in the case of the other fields that will resume their activity following the relaxation of restrictions, with another active support measure, namely, we will allocate a certain percentage of up to 41.5 per cent of the gross salary of each employee who resumes his/her activity at the company he/she worked at.

It is well - known that because of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, very many Romanians have lost their job, or have been furloughed. Very many Romanians returned to Romania from the countries where they performed their activity because of the termination of their employment contracts.

Our evaluation shows that there are nearly 600,000 Romanians who have been furloughed and up to 700,000 Romanians who will be looking for jobs in the coming period. Thus, almost 350,000 people have had their employment contract terminated, and between 300,000 and 350,000 Romanians have returned to the country and will be in search of a job. For this reason, in addition to the active measure for resuming the activity of employees from the companies that have been affected by the restrictive measures or indirectly affected by the economic crisis, we will use several active measures to help various categories of employees.

We will allocate up to 30 percent of the gross salary to companies that will hire job seekers, provide jobs to Romanian citizens who are looking for a job, for a period of at least three months. There is also a number of citizens, categories of employees for whom employment is more difficult, such as young graduates, people close to retirement age and who find it harder to get jobs. For these categories, we will develop much more generous hiring support tools, supporting a significant percentage of gross salary for a longer period of time. Of course, these measures will be taken under certain conditions, which we obviously consider natural, namely, after the end of the period of payment of the amount under the active measures, for a period of time, the company should keep the employees who benefited from these active measures, also for day labourers. We very clearly know that there is a real need for the Romanian farmers of the workforce employed under day labourers contracts, and for this category of citizens, we will adopt a legislative document in which we will enforce an active measure to support day labourers.

The second topic is linked to the state of alert. Today, once the Parliament passed the decision approving the state of alert, the procedure established by Law 55 has been completed, and we can say that we fully entered the state of maximum alert as we called it within the Cabinet meeting. I have very many observations to make concerning the way Parliament tackled our draft law and through the amendments made, it restricted as much as it could our effective action possibilities. I consider that the Parliament did not have the Constitutional and legal power to make changes to the Government Decision and the plan of measures related to the Government Decision, through which the Romanian Government declared the state of alert.

It is a gross intrusion of the legislative body into the Executive’s activity, and it is a flagrant violation of the principle of separation of powers in the state. We cannot agree with such an attitude, but we will not have a reaction at present, because the most important thing is for Romanians to understand that we have not yet escaped the epidemic, to understand the need for this state of alert, even more, the need to comply with all the rules to be established within the plan of measures, which are part of the addenda to the Government decision on instituting the state of alert. Tomorrow, all ministries will adopt joint ministerial orders, Minister of Health’s order with the Minister of Transport’s order on the rules of health protection and occupational safety in the means of transport. The Minister of Economy together with the Minister of Health will adopt all the rules related to commercial activities and other measures related to the economic field. The Minister of Labor together with the Minister of Health will adopt the joint order on rules of health protection at work and occupational safety. Also, in the field of education, the joint order has already been issued and published in the Official Gazette - and I specify this because it is necessary: mask-wearing will be mandatory in all enclosed spaces. Of course, mask-wearing creates some discomfort, of course, it can bother some of us, but this decision we made - and here we have the Parliament’s agreement for this decision - and here I make a parenthesis: as of this moment, including the leaders of PSD and other parties will have to observe this measure. Mask –wearing protects us from the risk of transmitting the virus to our fellows or from being infected with the virus. All the other physical distancing rules - we have seen that many people are bothered by the fact that their temperature is being taken. This is a necessary measure to reduce the risk of virus transmission from a person who has a temperature above 37.3 degrees. Upon entering enclosed spaces, this triage is necessary, I repeat, to protect all those who go to work, enter commercial spaces, who are in a situation where if infected, they can transmit the virus. Let me also refer to a political subject.

I was stunned by today's decision of the so-called National Council for Combating Discrimination. A PSD-UDMR majority made a decision that had nothing to do with the law and the sanctioning regime for discrimination. The President of Romania is the victim of a purely political decision which clearly shows that all institutions that have been taken over by PSD, make decisions contrary to the Constitution and the law.

The President of Romania was sanctioned not because he discriminated, but because he acted in the spirit of the Constitution, defending a constitutional principle, the principle of integrity, and because it exposed a constant policy of complicity of PSD, which, in order to attract the support of UDMR, made a series of unacceptable compromises, voting normative acts repeatedly, such as normative acts which practically established the obligation to use the languages of minorities everywhere, allowing the draft law on the declaration of autonomy of the so-called Szeklerland, to pass under the tacit adoption procedure(TN - in the Chamber of Deputies, it was later rejected by the Senate).

All these actions of PSD have shown, in the last three years, that PSD does not defend Romania's interest, that PSD, in order to stay in power, has been able to make any compromise against Romania's interest. How else could it be qualified to give in to a pressure put in the OECD accession procedure, in which they accepted conditions set by a state, that have nothing to do with diplomacy and violate the sovereignty of Romania, invoking this pretext of seeking to remove a possible exercise of the veto right during the process of Romania's accession to the OECD. I am not talking about other and other deals made far from the public eye, that could be seen in the statements of some Hungarian officials, such as the statement that all the gas to be extracted from the Black Sea will be purchased by a neighbouring state as if that gas had been a resource available to another state than Romania. I strongly condemn this unconstitutional, illegal behaviour, against the national interest, of some PSD representatives who hold the majority and trampled on law, and turned an institution of the Romanian state that must defend the rights of citizens into an institution at the mercy of PSD, making decisions based on the political colour of those at the helm of the institution. Thank you!


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