The Liberal Prime Minister and the Social Democratic opposition in Bucharest argue about last year's macroeconomic indicators
Temporarily closed manufacturing units, the HoReCa sector on the brink of survival, closed theaters and cinemas, small agricultural producers temporarily removed from enclosed markets and forced to sell their goods outside, in the cold. Last year, the epidemic did not forgive anyone and affected the entire Romanian economy and society. The crisis has been global, and its regional reverberations are obvious. In Bulgaria, the engine of tourism broke down. Almost untouched by the crisis a decade ago, Poland slipped for the first time last year after nearly a quarter of a century of steady economic growth.
Overall, in 2020, the Romanian economy decreased by almost 4% compared to the previous year. The signal data presented by the National Institute of Statistics indicate, however, the highest growth in the fourth quarter and one of the smallest economic declines in Europe, the Liberal Prime Minister Florin Cîţu has stated in a merry tone, confident about a positive evolution this year. Romania's Gross Domestic Product increased by more than 5% in the last quarter of last year, when, before co-opting into the governing coalition the Save Romania Union Plus Alliance and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians, the Liberals ruled alone. Minister of Finance in the former Liberal monochromatic minority government, the current prime minister predictably boasts some of his merits and bluntly accuses the social-democratic opposition.
Florin Cîţu: "What I said in 2020, all year round, despite the Social Democratic trumpets trying to contradict me, came true; I was right. Romania registered a contraction of minus 3.9 and an economic growth of about 3% in the fourth quarter, being one of the only countries in the European Union that avoided technical recession. We have the chance to return to a growing economy in the first quarter of this year, that is, to recover everything we lost due to the crisis last year. "
As always with politicians, the opponents read the figures in a completely different way. The former labour minister, the Social Democrat Marius Budai, says that in reality the figures show a drop, not a growth.
Marius Budai: "Romanians should know that in the fourth quarter Romania registered a drop of more than 16% as compared to the 1st quarter, when there was no pandemic. It's not just me who says this, it's the opinion of many economists in this country that a recovery is not possible this year, because this vicious circle of austerity will bring nothing good for the economy."
Representatives of the Social Democratic Party are also criticizing the provisions of the emergency ordinance on fiscal-budgetary measures, published on Tuesday by the Government, which indicate a postponement of the increase of pensions and benefits for the employees of the national railway company, the elimination of free transport tickets for students, who will have to pay half the price from now on, and also the elimination of holiday vouchers for public sector employees. All these, they say, will affect Romanians' living standards. (M. Ignatescu)