The first budget adjustment in 2019, contested by the opposition, has surfaced problems within the ruling coalition.
On Monday, the Government in Bucharest made the first budget revision this year. The Finance Ministry, the Environment Ministry, the Labour Ministry, the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Regional Development Ministry will receive more money from the state budget. On the other hand, the Education Ministry, the Transport Ministry and the Ministry for the Business Environment will have their budgets slashed. Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici has said that in the first quarter of the year the economic growth stood at 5% and that the 2.76% budget deficit target is not being exceeded.
Eugen Teodorovici: “The budget revision secures the payment of salaries and pensions and the amounts needed for investment projects under way and for new projects set to begin by the end of the year. Funds will not be slashed, but certain overestimations, made when the 2019 budget was drawn up, will be corrected.”
The Liberal opposition argues that the budget adjustment is based on false figures.
Liberal leader, Ludovic Orban: “This budget shows in fact that the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition wasted the money collected from taxes and duties, spent public money in an unjustified manner, on things that have nothing to do with the interests of the Romanian citizens. Consequently, we have reached the point where the funds needed for vital expenses, for ensuring the activity of public services for the Romanian citizens, are threatened.”
The Social Democrats have also been criticised for the budget adjustment by their junior partners in the ruling coalition, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE). Only apparently surprising, ALDE’s move comes to confirm something that many people have already guessed for some time – that, considering the presidential election in November and also next year’s elections, the so-far strong relationship between the two parties, has started to erode. ALDE has asked for a new governing programme and a restructured and competent Cabinet. After talks with the ALDE leader, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the PSD leader, PM Viorica Dancila, has announced the Cabinet will not be restructured, but reshuffled.
As for the improvement of the governing programme, a new version of it might be ready by September 1st. PSD and ALDE will continue to govern together, but PM Dancila does not want to give up the idea to run for president, as Tariceanu, who sees himself as the single candidate for both parties in the presidential election, has suggested. Moreover, the Social Democrats do not like ALDE’s idea to bring into the government the PRO Romania party, headed by the former Social Democrat PM Victor Ponta, a party set up last summer and made up of former Social Democratic MPs and local leaders. (Translated by Elena Enache)