One of the most visible effects of the health crisis triggered by the pandemic is the economic crisis. International financial institutions are relentless in their forecasts of a sharp decline in world economy this year, even if they anticipate that things will get better next year, as the long-awaited start of mass vaccination will allow restrictions to be lifted and businesses to breathe. In Bucharest, the left-wing opposition insists on the Liberal Executive's obligation to present the draft budget for 2021 and has called on the prime minister and leader of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, to provide information about how the budget is being built. The president of the Social Democratic Party and of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, claims that the Government left the Romanians on their own in the face of the pandemic. The Social Democrats suspect the Liberals of intending to increase taxes to raise funds.
Marcel Ciolacu: "If they keep governing, they will increase the VAT and will sell everything that's left of the state's assets, all Romanian companies that are profitable. They will do the only thing they know how: cut salaries and lay off people."
PM Ludovic Orban has replied by stressing that next year's budget will not include additional taxes and fees. He has explained that, in keeping with the law, in an election year, the current Government has no obligation to submit a draft budget for next year, but the Executive is working on it.
Ludovic Orban: " There will be no increase in taxes and fees in the budget that we are working on. Any increase in incomes that we will include will be based on economic growth, better tax collection, following a more effective activity of the National Fiscal Administration Agency, digitalization and fighting tax evasion. "
The Save Romania group leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Catalin Drula, has stated that the future Parliament, to be formed following December 6th election, has to approve the 2021 budget, an opinion also shared by the People's Movement party. Its group leader in the Chamber, Marius Pascan, has stated that the Government must set forth the 2021 budget, which, in his opinion, should be focused on investments in infrastructure. The Pro Romania leader and former Social Democrat PM Victor Ponta has warned that, in 2021, the economic crisis will be harsher than the one registered a decade ago. As regards the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians, its leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Benedeck Zacharie, has accused the PM of lack of transparency.
In the dispute over the future budget, still unknown, everybody seems to be right: the government when it says it is not obliged to present it and that it is up to the Executive resulting from the upcoming elections to propose it, but also the opposition, whom the absence of information about the future budget architecture provides with legitimate electoral ammunition, which it does not hesitate to use. (M. Ignatescu)