Romanian Government



Wednesday, 08 February

Address by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu at the debate of the censure motion in Parliament


Sorin Grindeanu: President of the Senate,

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies,

Senators,

Ministers,

Distinguished guests,

 

Yesterday, we approved the budget for 2017 in Parliament. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts these days. I know it was not easy and I appreciate your endeavors in committees and plenum on this topic. We have a budget that brings Romanians prosperity and development. We have all the necessary levers in place to implement the programme for government that the Romanians voted for in December in an overwhelming majority.

Today, we meet again, one month since the investiture of the current government. The Opposition filed a censure motion. It is our colleagues’ constitutional right to do so, but I cannot help remarking that this move has no longer an object.

 First of all, I expected a professional approach of PNL when it comes about serious matters, but they sent Catalin Predoiu to support the motion, a former Justice Minister, who coordinated the drafting of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, two fundamental laws for the well –running of judiciary, which CCR amended through numerous decisions and which effects, we can feel today too. I think that other PNL lawmaker with much credibility and competence could support this motion, but each is accountant to people once in four years for their parliamentarian activity and the Liberal colleagues did pay a full price on the December 11 elections. I also look at the USR lawmakers who supported this demarche. Maybe their lack of experience prompted them to associate with a party they had previously vehemently criticized. I had greater expectations from this new generation of politicians that were elected to Parliament, but I think they aimed to save Romania by sleeping, otherwise I cannot understand how can you sleep in the Parliament when we debate Romania’s budget. I hope Mr. Nicusor Dan has done his homework better today, and he knows what to say.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You could hear the President’s speech yesterday. Beyond slogans and the attempt to cling to the Romanians’ protests to restore his credibility, I think one thing has been pretty clearly revealed – President Iohannis’s yearning for restoring „My Government” as quickly as possible. We already have the experience of such an Executive that will be remembered as the zero Government.

I believe we have a duty towards people’s trust we earned at polls, and we must continue to assume the government of this country. Please do not accept this game and do not fall again into this trap. Dear colleagues, I hope today we will be able to clarify things and to go back to work. Mayors and presidents of county councils want to achieve something for their communities, this is why they want to come to Bucharest with projects to get funding. They want to honor their pledges to Romanians. Alike you, lawmakers elected in December, these people have projects for roads, infrastructure, schools, kindergartens- briefly, for a better life for Romanians.  But they need money to implement them. We have already wasted too much time and energy for other things. It is high time we return to what we really need to do for people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are here today, in front of Parliament to state again that we fully assume what is laid down in the Programme for Government and for what we were elected. I repeat it is entirely our responsibility, the entire Cabinet’s responsibility to permanently have the doors open to all mayors, presidents of county councils, lawmakers, regardless of their political affiliation. Our programme for government was voted by the majority of Romanians, of those present at polls, we have the biggest popular support after the Revolution, but we are dutybound to implement what is laid down in the Programme for Government.

I repeat: what is laid down there. To date, although time was short, I have already taken some measures extremely well for Romanians. We increased the minimum salary, the salaries of the local public administration, we increased the pension point and the minimum pension, we eliminated the CASS for retirees and the tax for pensions smaller than 2.000 lei. We doubled the scholarships and we granted free transport on CFR for all students and I am glad that we have seen this measure functioning. There are many other things which we have already managed to implement, the same as there are many others to continue over the next period. Among these, I would remind only: medicines by 35 percent cheaper, a new law of public wages, construction of eight regional hospitals and of course, that Republican hospital. All these will become reality, step by step and in close cooperation and dialogue with Parliament.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to the Programme for Government which represents a priority, we cannot overlook the events which have taken place in Romania lately. A couple of evenings in row, I could watch the protests from the Government headquarters. I believe that Romanians who have taken to the streets are perfectly entitled to shout their discontent if they feel so. I publicly express my appreciation for the impeccable way the Romanian gendarmes have done their duty these days. We have all seen that most of the time the people felt protected and safe. I thank once again the Romanian Gendarmerie! These days we also witnessed a lot of creativity on the signs in the people’s hands, in the slogans they chanted, as well as on Facebook. I had the opportunity to read very many comments and messages, some of support, others obviously negative. I shall always appreciate any criticism provided that it is backed by arguments, but I shall never accept an outpouring of hate against families and children. Politicians are dutybound to harmonize views coming from the society and and bring them to a common denominator.

Yesterday, I expected President Iohannis’ speech to tap in this direction, because things have indeed gone too far. We all have spouses, parents or children who came to hurl harsh words at each other these days. I heard someone say that the parents were protesting in front of the Cotroceni Palace, while their children rallied against the government in Victoriei Square. I cannot accept there are two Romania. This must stop. This is not normal. As a sign reads: „The demonstrators in the Victoriei Square reunite with their parents around the Christmas dinner table alike their parents rejoice in visiting their grandchildren”. This is normal Romania and I think this is the message that any responsible politician must convey. Not hatred, but reason and dialogue must prevail.

I would like to especially thank all media institutions and opinion leaders who have made a call to balance, tolerance and dialogue these days. I can understand the anger of some, but now, it is high time to search things that unite us as nation, not those dividing us. I further notice that there are politicians who are still prisoners to the divisive way of thinking. As Prime Minister, I want to participate in the so needed reconciliation among Romanians.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I fully understand all emotion and anger generated by Ordinance 13. A significant part of this country conveyed us democratically that it does not identify the general good in that ordinance. This is why I decided to convene urgently the Government I am leading and to abrogate it. I will not accept anylonger an initiative of this kind in the Government. I considered as Prime Minister that I should do that. Much debate, dialogue are needed, and many experts’ opinions on such topics conducive to strong emotions in society. And the best place for this to happen is here, in Parliament.

I want that MPs, jurists, magistrates, law experts stay around the same table in order to find a solution to bring consensus in society regarding this topic of criminal legislation amendment.

The Government will further support the fight against corruption and the consolidation of the rule of law. I promise you that from now on, this Government will be exclusively one of dialogue and public consultation on large topics concerning the entire society. It is the only way to advance together as nation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a programme for Government good enough in order not to ever put us in the situation of choosing between judiciary and wages, between justice and pensions. These are directions which do not exclude each other, but they depend on each other. Strenghtening the rule of law is not a purpose in itself, but to the extent it is used to create strong institutions to function correctly and in public interest, and welll-being in the houses of all Romanians, be they employees of administration, or of private companies, they all deserve a better life. Law observance is one of the prerequisites for welfare in a country. For this, we need fundamental laws adjusted to European norms in the field, but also institutions to enforce them in good faith.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Romanians need roads, schools, hopsitals, jobs, bigger salaries and pensions, smaller taxes. Companies need predictibility and tax coherence, but above all, they need: dialogue, consultation and transparency. I commit before you that the Government I am leading, carries as of today, a permanent dialogue with Romanians, listen to Romanians and is transparent in its relations with Romanians.

Dear colleagues,

One month ago, I was in the same place in front of you to ask your vote of confidence. Now, you see me again, I think I have more experience and I learnt a new lesson. I ask you now to have as back then, full confidence in the Government I am leading, in our colleagues Ministers, and to reject this censure motion. Thank you.

 

Statements by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu after the vote on the censure motion

 

Reporter: The censure motion has been rejected, how do you see this result?

Sorin Grindeanu: It is a second confirmation, if you want. To me, what happened yesterday, the vote on the budget meant a lot too. Today, the Opposition exersed one of its Constitutional rights. It is the second time in 40 days when the Government was reconfirmed. In my speech, I made a call to dialogue, transparency, to everything that means normal state of affairs in Romania. Some understood my appeal, either from Opposition or those in power, I hope it will happen so in the future too.

What I can assure you is that, from the Government’s point of view, things will run in such a manner: a transparent manner that will bring dialogue in the Government’s decision –making. That is extremely important in my view.

Something important happened today. It was a common denominator related to debates on the laws on justice, criminal codes amendment. Those in favor and those against, agreed that this should happen in Parliament. I consider this a start full of hope; such things should happen in Parliament, I perfectly agree, in a very large debate, on decisions, if we speak of criminal code and criminal procedure code, decisions or laws as I told yesterday, that pertain to CCR decisions.

Reporter: Speaking about justice, what is the situation of the Justice Minister, as the censure motion was rejected, the budget was passed.

Sorin Grindeanu: As I told you, I was present in Parliament these days, I will have a discussion with him this evening or tomorrow morning, and tomorow afternoon, following the Cabinet meeting, I will let you know what decision I made.

Reporter: Is the CCR decision likely to change your decision on the Justice Minister?

Sorin Grindeanu: This is why I told you that I want a discussion with him. My decision is made...

Reporter: which is that?

Sorin Grindeanu: You will see tomorrow..

Reporter: Mr. Dragnea spoke already about how new Minister will be...

Sorin Grindeanu: I told you my opinion yesterday, you gave me an idea yesterday by one question that you asked, I consider it a very good idea, but let us do things – step by step. I told you yesterday that I want to have a discussion either this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, my decision remains the same, but I want to have a discussion about what CCR ruled today.

Reporter: What are the premises for this discussion?

Sorin Grindeanu: Here, it is not about Mr. Iordache. I am interested in what happened today, namely CCR decision. Speaking about the person, I told you yesterday and the day before yesterday, what was happening. With respect to CCR decision, I want to understand very well what is happening today, tomorrow, it is a term at CCR. I think it is extremely important beyond the person of Minister, as I think things have been as clear as possible to date.

Reporter: Do you take into account what the PSD president and the leaders in territory tell you as we know they do not want Mr. Iordache to leave the government? Will you discuss with leaders in the coalition, with those in ALDE including?

Sorin Grindeanu: As I told you in the investiture speech, this is a political government, but there are moments when each of us should make decisions. I had discussions with political leaders, also, political leaders expressed their opinions. What I told you yesterday, namely that this first discussion I expect from Mr. Iordache, this time, more on what happened through the decision of the Constitutional Court and on what is to happen tomorrow too, which does not change at all the decision.

Reporter(...) other compromises to defuse the situation ..

Sorin Grindeanu: But I have not made any...

Reporter: The compromise – you abrogate the ordinance to defuse the situation  and to ensure those who are in the street and who are disatisfied, that such situation shall never repeat again. You said in your speech that such ordinances will not be adopted anymore by Government. What assurances will you give to those who still doubt the good faith of this government?

Sorin Grindeanu: More than reaffirming once again, as I did it from the Parliament’s rostrum, that on all senzitive issues, like justice, things will not take place as such. I cannot do more than reaffirm the willingness to approach things through dialogue, with everybody on all senzitive issues.The time will prove if things happened that way.

Reporter: (...) transparency in general.

Sorin Grindeanu: I reaffirm my determination for these things to happen this way, under this form.

Reporter: What is your opinion – I apologize – with respect to the fact that the PSD lawmakers did not vote? Is it all right or not?

Sorin Grindeanu: I have seen...

Reporter: (...)

Sorin Grindeanu: I am not member of Parliament, I do not want to speak on their behalf. I asked my colleagues why they adopted this tactics, they told me they voted for this Government 40 days ago, the censure motion is useless in substance and then...

Reporter: They could vote against the censure motion.

Sorin Grindeanu: You should ask somebody else. It is not my decision.

Reporter: In 2010, when other censure motion was filed against Boc Government, PSD representatives criticized this practice back then. Why they embrace it now?

Sorin Grindeanu: I offered an explanation for your questions above. The group leaders in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate may tell you more, why they chose this option. I admit that if they voted and adopted other tactics, things were perhaps unequivocal, I understand nevertheless their reserves and their arguments, therefore, we move on.

Reporter: (...) treason in the party?

Reporter: (...) does it not mean lack of transparency?

Sorin Grindeanu: Not in the Government

Reporter: The Government will stop issuing emergency ordinances only in the field of justice?

Sorin Grindeanu: No. I said not only in the field...

Reporter: But in which?

Sorin Grindeanu: I did not say there will not be any emergency ordinances. Emergency ordinance is needed many times. I referred to senzitive fields, such as: justice. I do not know, we will see, perhaps in the fiscal field, which I deem a senzitive field too. We will see and we will make these things in a normal way. Thank you.

Reporter: Do you feel sorry that you adopted this emergency ordinance two weeks ago?

Sorin Grindeanu: I said in my speech that I closely watch these debates..

Reporter: Do you personally feel sorry?

Sorin Grindeanu: I said and I recognized that as long as you make a decision leading to such issues –issues conducive to street protests, even if the substance of this issue or its contents is correct, it is clear your decision was not the appropriate one – and this is why I abrogated it – when such decisions generate street protests, you cannot do anything but withdraw that action which I did. Thank you.