State budget, new golden apple of political discord

Publish date: 05-01-2010
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The 2010 budget is engaging the Liberals and the Democrat Liberals to a new political game which is only going to delay adoption even more. Yesterday, after the party's National Political Bureau meeting, PNL Prime Vice-President Ludovic Orban announced that his party would vote against the budget which, according to him, is one 'of sacrifice'.

'It is the worst budget in 20 years. It is unable to meet Romania's needs (…), as it is based on a perpetuation of the crisis and on making hundreds of thousands redundant' Orban said. He also said PNL would introduce all the substance amendments under its own ruling programme, such as the scrapping of the lump tax and the calculation of the pension point at 45 per cent of the average salary. Moreover, Orban says, in order not to resort to 'electoral tricks just to postpone the adoption of the budget law, we will endorse substantive amendments that offer solutions to the crisis situation'.

'We have decided that, in case our amendments are not accepted by the majority in Parliament, we would vote against the budget, which is a unanimous decision of the members of the PNL Political Bureau', Orban added.

PDL Vice-President Gheorghe Flutur in turn said the draft budget law could be adopted by January 13, 2010. He also said that PDL MPs would have until January 7 to submit amendments to the bill and that they would also need to identify the source of any proposed allocation. The PDL official also said PDL's hope was that the Senate would adopt in plenary session, tomorrow, the law authorizing the Government to pass ordinances during the parliament recess and that the Chamber of Deputies would address it as soon as it has started its work. An extraordinary sitting will take place on January 11 to 14, to hold plenary debates and to vote on the budget law. If the time-table is observed, there is a chance that the budget law may be promulgated before January 20, when evaluation missions are expected from the IMP, European Commission and the World Bank. If everything is in order, the next instalments of the loan could reach Romania towards the middle of February 2010.

In other developments, Gheorghe Flutur said alternative solutions were being searched for in what regards the budget of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI), such as the spending of European funds and external loans. The Government has allocated to MTI a total of RON 6.39 bln for investment this year, amount whish is 31.8 per cent smaller than in 2009.

Looking at the current budget, 2010 will be a tough year, just like 2011, Romanian Finance minister Sebastian Vladescu declared for Realitatea FM. The two unpleasant characteristics for the citizens are that the budget, overall, within the GDP is the lowest in Europe and Romania registers excessive spending.

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