Romanian Government



Thursday, 12 May

Press conference by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă following his working visit in Alba county


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Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Good afternoon. Let me start this press conference by wishing "Happy Anniversary!" to all nurses working in the medical system. It is their day and I would like to thank them on my behalf and on behalf of the Government, for all their endeavors, dedication and sacrifice during the pandemic crisis, and I also wish them good luck further on.

Today, together with Minister Bode, with the government team, with President Dumitrel,  the representatives of the local authorities from Alba County, I paid a working visit to the county. I had the opportunity to visit the Transavia company. I also had the opportunity to visit Mercedes' investments in Sebeș and to see how the Alba County School Inspectorate deals with the development of dual education and I also had a meeting with Archbishop Irineu.

Here, we are now at the headquarters of the Alba County Prefecture. What I want to emphasize is that in Alba County, local authorities, led by a Liberal president, along with a majority of Liberal mayors, have shown that any goal can be achieved if there is an investment-based administration, one that aims to create an environment conducive to economic development, business development in the county. Basically, what I saw today, in Alba county, I could see in Bihor county, a few weeks ago. There are two counties that, from my point of view, can be considered a model in terms of how they are administered both locally and in terms of coordination with the central administration, with the Government, in order to meet the objectives and the commitments that the elected undertook to the citizens.

I saw a Romanian company, with 100% Romanian capital, which is the largest meat producer in Romania, which managed to modernize in an integrated assembly the entire production of poultry meat and also we could find out everything we can and must do at the Government level to continue to support the business sector so that it can provide more and better paid jobs.

Also, in Sebeș I could see what a modern company means, a company whose first objective was to maintain and develop competitiveness in the field. This is done through investments - certainly, Mercedes investments, but also support through state aid schemes that have contributed to the fulfillment of the objectives assumed, which is a reason for joy and pride, both for local authorities and for us.

We could see the preoccupation at the county level taking into account this need for workforce, for the development of dual vocational education. I discussed with the instructors,  the management of the respective dual education institutions, and also with the students to find out their achievements so far.

It is very clear that we still need this dialogue and permanent knowledge of reality, in order to be able to adapt the whole set of measures to the realities of local authorities, to the needs of citizens and, through the framework we can create at the level of at the Government , together with Parliament, to ensure a credible perspective to give people confidence that we care about the very complex situation we have been through. I would like to emphasize again the pandemic crisis, then the crisis of rising energy and gas prices, the security crisis caused by the invasion of Russian armed forces in Ukraine, illegal, unprovoked invasion which from our point of view is the one that currently stands at the basis of all the effects we are currently experiencing, including rising inflation.

We have also taken note of the needs of local authorities and we are in a position to continue this dialogue so that the decisions we take at governmental level can ensure the necessary solutions and the means by which local authorities are able to manage the situation as such, but we can also have a perspective on local development. It is once again an example of an administration that for us, the National Liberal Party, is a source of pride, a model that we want to develop and to share everywhere in the country, so that in other regions as well, we could see the same involvement, same responsibility and dedication to fulfill the commitments that president Dumitrel together with his team, with the mayors of PNL have made when they asked the vote of the citizens. Thank you.

Reporter/…/

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: I discussed and I could see that Domsa school was the first school that developed that form of education. I understood that they assumed it when there was no framework for this form of education, and in my discussions with Star Assembly, at Sebes investment, we need more than ever to regulate this form of education and to encourage it. As such, dual education is a form of education through which we ensure the workforce and we are dutybound to carry this dialogue with local entrepreneurs about the economy, economic needs, so that we can train the young people to find a job and develop a career later on, as I talked to young people who graduated from a vocational school, and they completed their high –school studies and attend the university, carrying out their activity in a field for which they opted. On the other hand, I could see that entrepreneurs are available to offer the possibility to develop dual education, thus creating incentives for those who opt to continue to learn or even change some profile elements. If we carefully analyze what is happening now in the economy and the technological development, we understand that we need permanently to learn and create this framework whereby people can prepare and work in these fields, where the technological development is very dynamic.

Reporter: I have another question: what new social measures will you adopt? I learnt that you had a meeting with/.../

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: We had the meeting, and we discussed both within the relationship at the level of the Coalition, we had discussions and we continue to have with BNR, and depending on the conclusions and developments -the inflation rate was announced yesterday, we can all see the price evolution, we can all see that this crisis, this inflation, are not local, but general, at an European level. We can see European countries, consolidated and developed, from an economical standpoint, which have to solve the same situation as all of us. I wish to emphasize once again that this price hike, this inflation, this crisis and interruption of supply chains are being generated by the crisis, by the conflict in Ukraine, by the unlawful invasion in Ukraine and is our duty to look for solutions, to adapt to this situation with solid measures.

At present, we are members of the European Union and we could see this solidarity from the outbreak of the conflict. We can further see the discussions and measures to be taken at European level and those we will take at national level. Before arriving here, at the prefecture headquarters, I had a telephone discussion with the Minister of Investment and European Projects, Marcel Bolos who is also in Brussels. He discussed all the state aid elements and all measures we included in the social package, and we have the agreement for them. What we decided at the level of the coalition will be implemented both through the contribution, ensuring funds from the state budget and also European funds.

The preliminary discussions we had on the current situation, led us to the conclusion that there is just one solution, specifically that of absorbing as much European money as possible. This money is available.Therefore, it's the duty of the government to further ensure the absorption of European funds and of what we have constantly promoted, including through the program for government: investments. We need investments, and today in Alba Iulia we were able to enjoy this investment model that produces effects. Talking to investors who have reached a certain level and consider further investments sends out a very optimistic message for us. Our duty is to support these investments and think of ways the Romanian state can encourage and support these investments.

As such, I am confident that through “Support for Romania" package which, was designed without the inflation figures received this week, and which earmarks 60 percent of the funds for investments and 40 percent for social measures.

We must continue to stand in solidarity, there are vulnerable people, vulnerable citizens who need the solidarity of us all. It has been proven throughout history that when we were united, when we stood together in solidarity, we were able to overcome any crisis. And I believe that Europe and all of us have learned from the previous economic crisis that we cannot overcome crisis through austerity measures, but rather through measures that can provide funding, provide money for investments, and make investments according to the funds available.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, today, was the final ruling in Colectiv case. How do you comment on this? How do you consider the Romanian authorities worked in this file, and why Romania does not have a hospital for major burn victims yet, even though seven years passed since the tragedy at Colectiv Club? All serious cases are sent abroad.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: The decision taken today by the court must be observed, it will be enforced. The fact that today we do not have a hospital for major burn victims, can basically be considered a lack of achievements our country has, not only for the burn unit, but in other projects that we thought they had to be carried out in order to develop the medical system. There are two fundamental elements for us to continue to develop the country, that everyone assumes, namely the development of the educational system and the development of the healthcare system so that we can ensure the health of our citizens.

It is easy to realize that no important steps were taken towards attaining the objective of building the hospitals. At one point, as many as 8 hospitals were promised, from 8 we came down to 3, they were initiated many years ago. I discussed this during a previous Government meeting last week, along with Minister Rafila. At the level of the Ministry of Health it is mandatory to establish the Health Infrastructure Development Agency (ANDIS), and I believe that, just as we took it upon ourselves, once we establish this agency, to start building hospitals. We have no burn unit at this moment that is true. Especially when we have such a high number of burn victims, they are being treated in another country. I cannot promise that we will have a burn unit in a year or two.

Reporter: Given the statement of Minister Dîncu, according to which the Ministry of Defense is ready to take over all CFR hospitals from the Ministry of Transport, what can you tell us about this situation, what are the reasons for the transfers and what would be the deadlines?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: It was a discussion, taking into account the situation in which CFR hospitals are today and the impossibility of maintaining and developing them, in the sense of endowing them with modern equipment. It is just a discussion, as there is currently no plan or document that will materialize in a phasing of this takeover.

Reporter: Minister, there was talk about the possibility of new investments in the Apuseni Mountains, which would be related especially to the Cupru Min Abrud company. For example, there was talk of an ore processing plant. What are the long-term plans for Cupru Min?

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: It is true, it was discussed. Our country has important mineral resources. Unfortunately, at this point, resources are being exported and we are losing what we all know and are aware of that is the biggest benefit, namely the added value, that is, our inability to process these resources does not bring us the benefit which could be more consistent, through the existence or investment in the field of mineral resources processing. Cupru Min is one of the topics discussed at the Government level, it is an issue under analysis at the level of the Ministry of Economy and, when the analysis is completed, we will discuss what is to be achieved in practice.

Reporter: And if we talk about investments in Alba County, which are short-term and immediate plans for the two weapons factories in Cugir, taking into account the problems that arose about two months ago, when workers took to the streets, and here I am talking about technology that is over 70 years old, I am talking about miserable wages and miserable working conditions.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: We have discussed this topic. Two years ago, I saw the conditions in Cugir. I saw the way production is carried out at Cugir. It's true, everything's based on old technology. Cugir saw no investments. In order for Cugir to produce equipment, competitive arms it must invest in technology. Moreover, I was telling them today, because I saw them at the presentation stand, that, if they want to remain operational, they must invest in technology and use the creativeness of the youth that were there and seemed very willing to conduct their activity in the respective domain, but not on the current technology.

Reporter: Two years ago, you spoke about a higher percentage of GDP for defence, you said then about a 10 –year endowment plan.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Precisely. We came prepared to sign a contract with the Cugir Plant. Unfortunately, the plant was unable to sign that contract. We convened together with the management of the plant to return, as soon as possible, with the offer to be able to acquire arms produced in Romania for the Romanian Army. They came, we made a contract for 1,000 pistols. Unfortunately, they couldn't be delivered to this day. As such, the Cugir Plant is part of the entire defence industry, which needs new investments and technology.

Still, at the level of the Ministry of National Defence, there is that 10 year plan. There were meetings, we actually had discussions, both with the Minister of Economy, as well as with the Defence Ministry. Meetings took place at the level of ministry leadership, there were meetings between specialists, between planners. There is still that plan and it is running. Unfortunately, change did not happen with regard to retooling the defence industry in Romania. Not everywhere. There are plants, not everywhere though, where a certain evolution regarding new technology happened and, of course, the quality of the equipment is different, which ensures competitiveness.

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