Romania

Parliament approves new Cabinet


Published

Parliament has approved a technocrat Cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș. There were 389 in favour and 115 opposed with two abstentions giving support to the new Cabinet which is made up of “people that had skills and experience as well as vision and ideas” according to the new Prime Minister.

The prime minister made a last minute change to his nominees, replacing Cristina Guseth with Raluca Pruna as Justice Minister after the former performed ‘poorly’ according to press reports.

Following a fire in a nightclub which killed more than 50 people the former prime minister, Victor Ponta and his Cabinet resigned last week. There had been massive street protests against the administration and institutional corruption with the political classes being blamed by the protesters. This led President Klaus Iohannis to propose the formation of a technocrat government. There are local elections in early 2016 and a general election in December next year, so the new government has just over a year to try and clean up what is widely regarded as a corrupt system in Romania.

Below is the statement made by the new prime minister concerning the programme of the government and after that the full list of the new Cabinet as published on the government website.

“Address by Prime Minister –designate Dacian Cioloș before the reunited plenum of the Parliament

Prime Minister –designate Dacian Cioloș has presented today, November 17, on the joint session of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, the Programme for Government and the list of Ministers proposed. Addressing the plenum, Prime Minister –designate has stated:

President of the Senate, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, lawmakers, thank you for the effort of preparing the hearing of Ministers –designate in such a short time and I thank you for the trust put in us following the committees discussions.

Mr. President Iohannis, thank you for your trust in this team formation, in an exceptional government formula outside the established political practice.

I am fully aware that the expectations are huge, and I assure you that I and my team will do our best to meet them, during my mandate.

This Government appears in an exceptional social and political context. It’s hard to start these opening remarks without paying tribute to the victims and families of victims of the tragedy from Club Colectiv. Our thoughts remain with them. Romania we want to plant is their Romania.

Tragedies such as that from Club Colectiv must never happen again. It is the moral duty that we must all undertake. Therefore, together, we must remove the causes of this tragedy, especially corruption.

It is a critical moment. Confidence in the political environment, the state authorities seems weak. People are waiting, now more than ever in the last 25 years, a change of the way the public interest is managed. The president of Romania and you – political parties, you understood this critical moment. And from here sprang the mandate of this Government.

The proposed programme for Government must respond to this reality.

We want to come up with solutions that should have effects in the limited period of the mandate, and lay the bases of a structural transformation in the future. The task of this Government will be to create the necessary framework, neutral politically, to establish such structural changes.

I am aware that this Government cannot engage on all reform fronts in Romanian society.

But:

We undertake a set of concrete measures, limited in number, but with systemic impact and importance.

We undertake a number of measures to achieve, in dialogue with you and the society.

We undertake a number of measures that we will account for, by the end of the term of office, in front of the society and political forces.

And especially, we undertake a government based on three fundamental principles: transparency, accountability and openness for dialogue.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since the president entrusted this mandate to me, I pursued:

Forming a team of honest specialists, who can do their job outside political polemics; I have faith that the hearings in parliamentary committees persuaded you of this.

Formulating a programme for government, with impact and relevance in such a short time interval, leaving behind models and working practices for the future.

First, the constitutional political cycle. Next year, this Government will organize two sets of elections.

At the political level, we want to allow the necessary time to parties to define their programs and teams that will participate in electoral races. I hope that citizens will increase their civic involvement in the communities they belong, so they can actively participate, as well-informed as possible, in the electoral process.

At administrative level, our task will be to ensure that all Romanians can vote wherever they are, inside or outside Romania. Relevant institutions will work to computerize those parts of the electoral process that always created sources of popular discontent and tensions in the political environment.

The second major priority of this Government will be openness to society at all its levels.

We will initiate new platforms for communication and consultation; we will strengthen the existing ones, to ensure transparency of decision-making and participation of stakeholders in public policy formulation.

We will show the same openness and transparency towards the political environment. Parliament was and remains the only democratic force for society representation. Government will remain its active partner.

Both me and the Cabinet Ministers will answer all your requests for consultation. We will also proactively come before you, to ensure that measures taken by this Government are first understood, and we hope, supported too, by the country’s democratic forum.

Let me at this point to make an important clarification. We prepared our project of government in a few days, without the benefit of a prior programmatic platform, as a political party would have, and as it is usually prepared. Therefore, the measures included in our project are not exhaustive.

We remain open to new ideas, and we will actively seek them in the ensuing period. Then, I intend to return to you until December 15, to broadly discuss both the measures already included in the program and new ideas, in the form of action plans for each priority area in part. This exercise becomes even more necessary in the light of the correlation with the 2016 budget finalization.

Third – independence of the judiciary and fight against corruption.

I emphasize unconditional support and without any interference from the Executive, to the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption.

A significant year is ahead in which there will be made appointments to key posts in the judiciary and prosecutor’s offices. Appointments will be guided only by the professionalism and integrity.

The fourth fundamental element of the program is to further support economic growth.

Macroeconomic stability, and a balanced budget are essential. Romania’s economy is integrated into a common European market and we must rise to that level.

Romania has already made major efforts to resume sustainable growth in post –crisis period.

These efforts should not be in vain! We will support the sustainable launch of economic growth, and the stability of public finance to create a conducive environment for investment.

In particular, we will watch over the budget structure and its consistency with the medium term objective already established and undertaken by Romania.

With respect to expenditure, two factors are important:

Its earmarking for the co-financing of competitive investments, supported from European funds too, including in human capital, financial instruments and the necessary infrastructure. European expertise brought by this Government will manifest mainly at this level, aiming to simplify and enhance both quantitatively and qualitatively the absorption of European funds.

Eliminating unproductive and inefficient spending, [such as those with certain autonomous state enterprises].

In terms of revenues, we already have a tax code recently adopted. We will pursue its implementation, paying attention to creating an environment as conducive as possible for SMEs, to support the creation of jobs, especially for young people.

As regards European funds, we still have large arrears for the financial period 2007-2013, which we will try to eliminate as much as possible. Romania has still to absorb 30% of the previous financial allocation. We will not be able to do wonders to avoid a total disengagement, but we will aim at completing the implementation of as many major projects, especially those with high budget.

Meanwhile, this very year, we will have to start implementing as soon as possible the new structural and investment funds budget allocated to Romania for the period 2014-2020.

In this context, a major challenge will be to fulfill the conditionalities negotiated by Romania in the Partnership Agreement with the European Union. I refer to the land survey, public procurement, public administration reform, healthcare reform, among others.

All this will require effective coordination among Ministries, but also your support to implement them on time.

A normal society needs a functioning health system, a solid education system, identity, tolerance and culture. These are the elements of the fifth key area of the Government program.

We will focus our efforts on redefining the role and status in society of the medical staff, and on reducing their migration abroad.

In education, we shift the focus from transmitting information to creating skills for life, and reducing bureaucratic burdens facing teachers.

All these priorities are in accordance with Romania’s strong anchoring to the European and international agenda.

We are facing major challenges within the European Union. There are instability points at our borders.

Late criminal attacks are further proof of vulnerability to terrorism and hatred.

All these are major challenges for any Government.

I wish to assure you and your external partners that we shall maintain unequivocally the current foreign policy landmarks: Romania firmly anchored in the European Union, strategic partnership with the US, NATO commitments and our responsibilities arising from participating in these alliances.

I draw here a signal on the 2016 budget, in which, beyond the stated objectives, we will have to financially cover at the expected level, all these commitments and obligations.

In Europe, we want to increase Romania’ share in the European Union, to participate more actively in major strategic decisions to be taken in the future. I will use my energy to help regain Romania’s confidence and prestige in relation to its European Union partners.

And not least, we will begin preparations for the European Council Presidency, which Romania will hold in 2019.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will conclude by sharing you the way this Government intends to develop a relationship with you, the Romanian MPs. We do not want and we cannot replace the political class. Democracy is not possible without politicians or political parties.

Moments when one resorts to Governments made up of experts are exceptional. We cannot rule but alongside political forces democratically represented in this forum. I hope you join our effort.

We will be open to your projects and proposals, we will always listen to you carefully.

My desire and that of my team is to create prerequisites for a new project of accelerated development of Romania, equal to the huge potential of this country. We can do this only together.

As it is YOU –the political parties, that will have to be the ones that will continue to build a country to give hope to Romanians, one that will make the ones who left it to want to return here.

Because “home” is only one place: here in Romania. I carried this home in my heart all these years, when I was called to exercise my duties outside the country. I am glad that today, I can bring my modest contribution to make this “home” better.

However, as a saying of Marcus Aurelius goes: “Lord, give me the strength to change what can be changed, the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish between the two.”

Here is the full list of the new Cabinet:

Dacian Cioloș Prime Minister
Costin Grigore Borc Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Commerce, and Tourism
Vasile Dîncu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and
Public Administration
Lazăr Comănescu Minister of Foreign Affairs
Petre Tobă Minister of Internal Affairs
Mihnea Ioan Motoc Minister of Defence
Anca Dana Dragu Paliu Minister of Finance
Achim Irimescu Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Victor Vlad Grigorescu Minister of Energy, SMEs, and Business Environment
Adrian Curaj Minister of Education and Research
Vlad Alexandrescu Minister of Culture
Aura Carmen Răducu Minister of European Funds
Raluca Pruna Minister of Justice
Cristina Paşca Palmer Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests
Claudia Ana Moarcăş Minister of Labor, Family, Social Protection and Elderly People
Marius-Raul Bostan Minister for Informational Society
Andrei Baciu Minister of Health
Elisabeta Lipă Minister of Youth and Sports
Marian Dan Costescu Minister of Transport
Victoria-Violeta Alexandru Minister Delegate for Social Dialog
Dan Stoenescu Minister Delegate for Romanians Abroad
Ciprian Bucur Minister Delegate for the Relationship with the Parliament
Ioan Dragoş Tudorache Chief of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery

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