Internal Affairs

The Romania Constitutional Court (RRC) ruled this week that President Klaus Iohannis has to sign the decrees for dismissal of ministers released by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă and sign the decrees appointing the interim ministers to the ministers which were run by ALDE ministers. According to the decision, the President will have to sign the revocation decrees of the Minister of Justice, Ana Birchall, and of the Deputy Prime Minister for economic issues Mihai Fifor and the appointment decrees for the interim ministers proposed to the portfolios of Energy, Relations with Parliament and the Environment.

President Klaus Iohannis said he would announce his standing after the RCC decision and reasoning will be published in the Official Gazette. Thus, the President will postpone at least one to two weeks the signing of the decrees covered by the RCC decision. In this time frame the censorship motion announced by the parliamentary opposition will most likely be filed. So far, the number of supportive signatures confirming the coagulation of the parliamentary majority necessary for the subsequent adoption of the motion (respectively the support of 233 MPs) has not been gathered. Opposition parties share the stance against PSD governance, but fail to agree on what the next steps should be following the potential adoption of the censorship motion.

As the PSD leadership decided to postpone the Government’s request for the vote to support in Parliament until after the debate on the censorship motion, public pressure on the opposition formations to file the motion is increasing. According to media reports, the censorship motion may be filed by the end of next week (at the beginning of October at the latest). Then the motion will be debated and voted on after three days, according to the regulation of the Chamber of Deputies. In evaluating the motion’ chances of success, it will be decisive the final positioning of the MPs representing the former government party, ALDE, and the Pro-Romania party (led by the former PSD president and PM, Victor Ponta).

The end of the weekend marked the deadline until which the candidates for the presidential elections could have registered officially in the race. The candidates had to submit a list of minimum 200.000 signatures in support of their candidacy, a condition which has been met by President Klaus Iohannis – PNL (2,200,000 signatures), Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă  -PSD (1,437,000 signatures), Mircea Diaconu – independent endorsed by ALDE & Pro Romania (over 400.000 signatures), Dan Barna – USR-PLUS (400,000 signatures), Theodor Paleologu – PMP (360,000 of signatures), Ramona Bruynseels – Humanist Power Party (280.000 signatures) Kelemen Hunor – UDMR (270,000 signatures), Alexandru Cumpanasu – independent (230.000 signatures),). The campaign will officially start on October 12. Due to the communication/advertising restrictions during the actual campaign period, the candidates will try to score as much as possible in the pre-campaign campaign – in which they can promote their image and message, without explicitly call to vote for their candidacy.

International Affairs

The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union (Coreper) voted by a large majority to support Laura Codruta Kovesi, former chief prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate as European Chief Prosecutor. Although the vote was an informal one, it expressed the change of will by the EU governments (who had voted last year to appoint the French candidate in this position). Based on this change of position, and considering the EU parliament maintained its support for Laura Codruța Kovesi nomination, she is expected to formally become the first European chief prosecutor in the next period.
The Conference of the Presidents of the EP, made up of the President David Sassoli and the leaders of the political groups, approved this week the schedule of the hearings of the appointed commissioners. The hearings will take place from September 30 to October 8. According to the program, the social democratic MEP Rovana Plumb, appointed commissioner for Transport, will be heard on Wednesday, October 2, by the committees Transport and tourism (TRAN) and respectively Environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) of the EP. The committee on Legal Affairs asked the Romanian candidate to clarify certain inconsistencies in her wealth statement.

The Romanian candidate validation remains questionable due to the opposition of the leadership of the Renew Europe group, led by PLUS president Dacian Ciolos.

Economic & Fiscal Updates

A draft law submitted to the Senate by Eugen Teodorovici, the Minister of Finance, provides for prison sentences for those who do not pay on time the contributions withheld from salaries, royalties and other incomes. According to the project “it constitutes an offense and is punished with imprisonment from 1 year to 6 years withholding and non-payment, collection and non-payment, or, as the case may be, non-detention or non-collection, within no more than 30 days from the due date stipulated by the law, of the taxes and / or the contributions provided in the annex to this law”. The annex states that among others, the tax on dividends, on wages, pensions, leases, independent activities, intellectual property rights, contributions to health insurance will be covered by the draft law. The project has attracted a wide criticism and may be amended / withdrawn.

The EU Statistical Office, Eurostat, announced this week that Romania registered in August the highest annual inflation rate in EU, namely 4.1%. Recall that the construction of the budget for 2019 was built on a 2.8% inflation forecast.