Although adjusted, Romania’s draft budget is still sparking off heated political debates between the opposition and the ruling coalition
The centre-to-right coalition government in Bucharest
has made the last adjustments to the state budget and of social securities in
2021, before sending it to Parliament for approval. This yearly budget had a
difficult birth, and came into being only upon heated talks between the ruling
coalition made up of PNL-USR/PLUS and UDMR and the opposition PSD on the fair
distributions of funds whose shrinking has been caused by the pandemic and the
conditions aimed at curbing the budget deficit.
While political leaders in the ruling coalition have
refrained from bringing fresh amendments in Parliament in an attempt to speed
up approval procedures, the opposition Social Democrats have come up with a
series of amendments, which they say could contribute among other things to rises
in pensions and wages, frozen by their political opponents. In fact, the Social
Democrats on Monday blamed the country's Liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu for
having endorsed an austerity budget.
'The budget this year is balanced, credible, accepted by our international
partners and focused on investment' the Prime Minister replied lashing out at
the PSD representatives, whose latest
budget amendments account for 6% of the GDP, funds which Romania could
contribute to the European budget.
Florin Citu: "A budget
focusing on investment, because we have made it clear that only investment can
lead to Romania's development; but it is a budget, which is pushing reforms and
this is scary, isn't it? You're afraid the move is going to put an end to the
well-paid jobs of some of your supporters in high positions. I can tell you,
this year we are going to see reforms being implemented."
UDMR has referred to a post-crisis investment-oriented
budget while the USR has described it as a budget of solidarity and responsibility
aimed at kick-starting the country's economy. Here is USR leader with the
Chamber of Deputies Ionut Mosteanu with more on the present budget.
Ionuţ Moşteanu: "This budget is
focusing on development and investment. Today the government comes with an investment
budget of 12 billion euros, the biggest in history."
'The Prime Minister is the absolute champion of hatred',
PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu retorted, adding that 'Florin Cîțu hates the
employees in state-owned institutions, as he is slashing their salaries and
jobs'. According to Ciolacu, the Prime Minister hates the private sector as
well because he has constantly failed to fulfil his pledges to this sector in
the past year.
Marcel Ciolacu: "Instead of
endorsing a budget aimed to repair, you have taken the axe in your hands and
started slashing the incomes of the Romanians. You don't give a fig that prices
in energy, food and medicine are higher!
PSD believes that Romania is a country adrift because
the government has allotted the smallest financial package in the EU to the fight
against the pandemic and to the process of kick-starting the economy.