Romania’s Liberal Government is taking responsibility before Parliament for 3 pieces of legislation
Tuesday’s Government meeting was, for the first time in history, held in 2 sittings, with an intermission in the afternoon to allow PM Ludovic Orban and some of his Cabinet members to take part in a roundtable organised by trade unions with respect to next year’s economic prospects. Later in the day, the Government resumed its meeting, with a first reading of a bill for which the Cabinet is to request Parliament’s confidence within 10 days.
The bill concerns the repeal of provisions in the infamous Order 114, dubbed the “greed tax order,” under which a year ago the Social Democratic cabinet had introduced additional taxes for banks and ceilings on electricity prices for households. Unhappy with the consequences of that order, the Liberals are now seeking to cancel it. In the talks with business people ahead of the Government meeting, PM Ludovic Orban spoke about the provisions to be cancelled:
Ludovic Orban: “We want to repeal the provisions regarding ceilings on the price of electricity for households, as well as the current energy export limitations and the overcharges introduced in the energy sector. We also intend to cancel all the provisions concerning privately-managed pension funds in the public pension system, the financial-banking system, and charges in the communications sector. There are a number of other provisions we have in mind, but facilities for consumers will not be affected.”
All these changes will be discussed with the social partners, prior to being pushed through Parliament. Meanwhile, however, the Government initiated an extraordinary procedure, requesting Parliament’s confidence on 3 other pieces of legislation: a bill amending the justice laws, the repeal of Order 51/2019 on county transportation, and a bill setting public budget ceilings.
Back when they were in Opposition, the Liberals constantly criticised the justice laws, which they now want amended to the effect of deferring the early retirement of magistrates, the extension of the seniority requirement for entry-level magistrates from 2 to 4 years and the increase in the membership of judge panels from 2 to 3. The Orban Cabinet, which is now trying to have these provisions deferred, may seek to fully repeal them next year.
Secondly, the Government wants to define in-county transportation as a public service subordinated to local authorities, so as to make sure that transport companies provide free school transport for children.
Last, but not least, the Orban Cabinet will take responsibility before Parliament for a bill setting the public budget ceilings on which the 2020 state budget law will be based. Posted for public review on the home page of the Finance Ministry, the bill stipulates a budget deficit of maximum 3.6% of GDP, and a 9.7% cap on personnel expenditure. Next year’s public budget will also rely on an expected 4% economic growth rate.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)