Proposals for the amendment of the Fiscal Code
The Romanian government on Thursday analysed, in a first reading, a bill on the amendment of the Fiscal Code, with the finance minister Ionut Misa presenting the main measures planned by the government. He said the income tax is to drop from 16 to 10%, not just in the case of salary incomes, but also in the case of pensions, rents, interest rates and farming activities. Those practising independent activities, such as doctors, lawyers, journalists, notaries, writers and artists, will no longer pay their social security contributions based on the sums obtained from these activities, but based on the minimum wage. Beginning on 1st January 2018, employers are to pay a 2.25% tax following the transfer of the payment of social security contributions to employees. Misa also announced several changes to stimulate the business environment. In the case of 450,000 companies whose turnover is below 1 million euros, a 1% turnover tax will be levied to replace the 16% profit tax charged at the moment. Another measure adopted by the finance ministry refers to the implementation, as of 2018, of the European directive to deter profit shifting by multinational companies. Labour minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu also said the minimum pension would grow to 640 lei and the child-rearing allowance would grow to 1,250 lei. Another planned measure is the reduction of the contribution to the pension fund’s Pillar 2 from 5.1% to 3.7%.
The European commissioner for the budget and human resources Gunther Oettinger travels to Bucharest
The European commissioner for the budget and human resources Gunther Oettinger said on Thursday in Bucharest that there are premises for Romania to meet the 3% deficit target this year and the next. He made this statement after a meeting in Parliament with the members of the joint parliamentary committees for European affairs and the budget, finances and banks. Gunther Oettinger also said Romania played an important role in the talks on the future financial framework of the European Union, given that it will hold the rotating presidency of the Union in the first half of 2019.
Justice Minister presents proposes changes to the laws on the judiciary
The Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Wednesday presented to the members of the special Parliament committee the bills designed to amend the justice laws. The ruling coalition decided that the new draft would be tabled by their parliamentary group rather than as a government bill.
Among other things, the controversial bills, on which the Higher Council of Magistrates has already given its negative opinion, narrow the powers of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, which will no longer be entitled to investigate magistrates. Other changes concern the procedure for appointing high-ranking prosecutors and the establishment of a special unit to investigate offences committed by magistrates. Toader announced he wanted the judicial inspection corps to be an autonomous institution, subordinated neither to the Higher Council of Magistrates nor to the Justice Ministry. He also added that a special law regulating the status of this institution must be endorsed within 6 months. As far as the responsibility of magistrates goes, Minister Tudorel Toader explained that judges would be subject to pecuniary liability for errors made in bad faith.
The supreme court ordered Parliament to return the bills to the Justice Ministry on grounds that legislative transparency requirements had been breached, and, more importantly, that the texts were against the rules on the drafting and endorsement of laws.
As of next week, the bills will be discussed in the special parliamentary committee. They will then be referred to the Chamber of Deputies, with the final vote on the matter to be given by the Senate.
In another development, the Appeal for compensation law has come into force in Romania these days. The act stipulates that for every 30 days served in penitentiaries in improper conditions, convicts have 6 days taken off of their sentence. According to the Justice Minister, thanks to the new law, nearly 530 people have been released, and over 3,300 are eligible for parole. The detainees who have already served their sentences but whose cases are pending with the European Court of Human Rights may receive between 5 and 8 euros in compensations for each day of imprisonment in improper conditions.
Bucharest host a new edition of the Indagra International Fair
Romania has huge potential in the agriculture sector, and it should capitalise on it in an intelligent and sustainable manner, so as to become a leader in this sector, said President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday, at the opening of Indagra, the largest agriculture trade fair held in Bucharest. Iohannis also said Romania should get itself out of a vicious circle in which it exports raw materials and implicitly subsidies, and imports high value-added products. The President also noted that in the first half of the year farming and foodstuff imports went up by 17% compared to last year, whereas exports only increased by 4.5%. He mentioned that until 2020, under the Common Agricultural Policy Romania benefits from European funds of up to 20 billion euros.