Internal Affairs

Following the CCR decision regarding the fines during the state of emergency, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu has advised that ALDE, Pro România and PSD will submit a draft bill with the purpose of amnesty for said fines.

On May 13th, 2020, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) decided that the provision of GEO 21/2004, the basis for the state of alert, are constitutional insofar as the Parliament has to decide on the restrictions of human rights. Indeed, the following day, the Govt. adopted a GEO that modifies GEO 21/2004, better defying the “state of alert” period. Another GEO no. 70/2020, better defines the measures taken during the state of alert. The full text of the GEO no. 70/2020 can be accessed here. Both GEOs were registered with the Senate for debate and are subject to Parliamentary control, and, thus, to change.

On May 13th, 2020, the Chamber of Deputies adopted a motion filed against the Minister of Finance, Florin Cîțu, with 166 votes “for”, 94 “against” and 28 abstentions. We remind you that such an action does not entail any legal effects.

A similar motion was filed by Senate MPs against the Minister for Agriculture, Adrian Oros, due to be debated by the plenum of the Senate on May 18th, 2020. Lucian Romașcanu, PSD senator and spokeperson, announced that the party is preparing another three motions against Ministers from the Orban Cabinet, namely the Minister for Internal Affairs, Marcel Vela, the Minister of Health, Nelu Tătaru and the Minister of Education, Monica Anisie. This is surely a part of a bid to erode PNLs support before for the election campaign.

Indeed, on the same day, Victor Ponta announced that he wishes to file a censure motion against the Orban Cabinet, after May 15th, given the prime minister’s unwillingness to step down and allow the formation of a national union government. His declarations are corroborated by statement made by Marcel Ciolacu, PSD president, who argued that a censure motion could be filed after the end of the state of emergency and of the state of alert, after he finishes negotiations on a political and economic project, drafted together with other political partners.

Even Dan Barna’s party vies to take advantage of the current Govt. precarious position. On May 15th, 2020, Dan Barna, USR president, stated that his party is committed to Romania’s reform, having drafted several pledges that they will negotiate a place in the Orban cabinet. These are: the elimination of service pensions, zero taxes on the minimum wage, the implementation of the “No criminally convicted people in public positions” campaign, the reduction of bureaucracy and the stimulation of entrepreneurship. These vague promises are yet to be substantiated by a governing program and it is unlikely that the prime minister will consider an alliance with Dan Barna’s party, until the end of the state of alert.

On May 15th, 2020, the Govt’s bill, no. 55/2020 regarding some measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was published in the Official Gazette, Part I, No. 396. There is a gap in the implementation of measures that combat the spread of the virus insofar as the Govt. no longer can enforce the punitive measures prescribed by the previous military ordinances, until May 18th, 2020, when the bill enters into force. On May 14th, 2020, Lucian Romașcanu, PSD spokesman, has stated that the only solution for the alleged 3 days without restrictions outside the state of emergency is for the President to extend the state of emergency by three days.

External Affairs

On May 12th, Critian Terheș, a member of the European Parliament announced his resignation from PSD and the S&D EP Group in favour of joining the Group of European Conservatives and Reformists, which includes the ECPM (European Christian Political Movement), a European political party to which PNȚCD (Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party) is affiliated. He stated that his candidacy for the European Parliamentary elections on Social Democratic Party lists was the result of a protocol between PSD and PNȚCD. It is uncertain whether the protocol between PNȚCD and PSD still stands.

On May 14th, 2020, the European Commission published the May package of infringement actions against member states. As such, the Commission calls on ROMANIA to protect its population against air pollution, urges Romania to implement the Court’s judgement on its failure to close illegal landfills, and fully transpose the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. In terms of taxation, the Commission urges Romania to take the necessary measures for the development of a new IT system for monitoring the circulation of excise goods. The failure for Romania to act in time could have serious internal market consequences, as excise goods would normally only be allowed to circulate with duty paid to or from Romania.

Moreover, the EC draws attention to the correct appliance of rules on road safety traffic information, on real-time traffic information services, and on the provision of EU-wide multimodal travel information services. In the digital sphere, the Commission has sent a letter of formal notice for Romania to comply with EU rules on the provision of data link services.

Fiscal and Economic Updates

This Sunday, PSD President Marcel Ciolacu has presented the 28 measures PSD proposes for economic recovery. Among these, PSD proposes:

  • A reinsertion stimulus of RON 2250/month for employers that hire the currently unemployed. This comes under the obligation of keeping the person hired for another year after the stimulus is finished.
  • A 3-month rescheduling for the salary taxes, for the months during which the state of emergency as instituted. A 10% bonus for companies that do not restructure the debt.
  • Credit lines from state banks such as CEC Bank and Eximbank, with an interest rate between 0 and 50% will be afforded for companies, with a maturity of 3 to 10 years for SMEs.
  • For medical leaves, the amounts requested by the employer for settlement will be handled within 5 business days.
  • Balance reserves used to pay wages will not be taxed. Shareholders that use profit or that give up dividends are exempt from any other fiscal obligations, up to a ceiling of 6 medium salaries in the respective company.
  • All costs with medical supplies afforded by companies will be supported from the budget of the National Fund for Health and Social Security.
  • Eximbank will provide government guarantees for exporting companies up to RON 5 billion.