Shortly after being sworn in, the members of the Orban Cabinet presented their priorities.
The members of the new Government headed by Ludovic Orban Tuesday took over their posts, after the new Cabinet was endorsed by Parliament. The Liberal Government follows Viorica Dancila’s Social Democratic Cabinet, removed through a no-confidence vote on October 10. The new ministers announced their intentions right from the start of their term in office.
A trained diplomat, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said the ministry needed reforms and a more professional diplomatic corps. He also requested a report on the preparations for the presidential election in the Romanian communities abroad.
Bogdan Aurescu: “I will ask the heads of consular and diplomatic missions to immediately submit a report on the status of preparations and on possible risks and vulnerabilities. We will see if there is anything we can do and exactly what, within the powers of the foreign minister and the Government.”
Bogdan Aurescu made these statements ahead of Friday’s start of the voting in polling stations abroad for the election of the president of Romania. The Romanians living abroad will be able to vote on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in each of the 2 election rounds.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Romanians Abroad has been turned into a governmental department subordinated directly to the Prime Minister. The post of Minister delegate for European Affairs has also been discarded, and this department will be coordinated jointly by the Foreign Ministry and the PM’s office.
In turn, the new Defence Minister, gen. Nicolae Ciuca, former Chief of Staff of the Romanian Army, announced he would focus on fulfilling Romania’s obligations as a NATO and EU member state. He mentioned the importance of the budgetary allocations for the Army:
Nicolae Ciuca: “What we have undertaken to do with the 2% of the GDP is to ensure the capabilities with which Romania may consolidate its status as a reliable partner in the North-Atlantic Alliance, in the European Union and in the Army’s strategic partnerships.”
As for the field of public finances, Minister Florin Citu wants the draft budget for 2020 to be finalised by December 15. He added that the state budget will be based on the current legislation, but that the draft prepared by the Dancila Government cannot be used because the structure of the government has been changed:
Florin Citu: “Everything will be different from what has been done so far, including the budget. We have fewer ministries and this is where the budget drafting will begin, from the new structure of the government. The target is unchanged, namely a 3% deficit ceiling, which is quite ambitious because as you know the deficit for the first 9 months of the year is 2.6%. We’ll see what we find there, this is precisely why we wanted to take over this portfolio without delay.”
At the Justice Ministry, Catalin Predoiu pointed out that he wants a discussion about the need for a separate department investigating offences committed by magistrates. He urged prosecutors to take part in the procedures for the appointment of chief prosecutors, and said political criteria or personal friendships will play no part in these appointments:
Catalin Predoiu: “I call on prosecutors to take this selection process very seriously and to act responsibly, and I believe that every prosecutor who feels they are capable of bringing progress, professionalism and a better organisation in the Public Ministry should enrol in the race.”
Last but not least, the new Labour Minister Violeta Alexandru announced thorough checks into the budget for public pensions, amid allegations that the Social Democratic Government left behind a worrying deficit. She also promised transparency and accurate information delivered to citizens.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)