- Foreign policy. Prime Minister Victor Ponta made an official visit to Turkey.
- Finance. The PM presented the new agreements with the international financial institutions to the Parliament.
- Parliament. The USL decided to set up the Special Parliamentary Committee for Rosia Montana.
- Foreign policy. Victor Ponta visits Finland and Lithuania.
- Agriculture. Romania registers a good year in agriculture.
1. Victor Ponta made an official visit to Turkey
Prime Minister Victor Ponta paid an official visit to Turkey, where he met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President Abdullah Gül and the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, Cemil Çiçek. PM Victor Ponta’s visit to Ankara aimed at strengthening the dialogue and cooperation, in the context of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
„We discussed about energy projects. Certainly, energy security is one of the major stakes of the years to come, both for Romania and Turkey. The two Energy Ministers will work on specific projects for energy interconnection between our countries,” said Prime Minister Victor Ponta. During the meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Victor Ponta stressed that Turkey is Romania’s main trading partner outside the EU, and between the two countries there is not only a strategic partnership, but a strong relationship. Turkey is also the first commercial partner of Romania, outside the European Union, and the fifth partner in total international trade.
„I publicly address Prime Minister Erdogan an invitation to visit Romania; he will find the same friends there. The development of our economic relations is the only way to ensure a better life for the citizens of our countries, „said the Romanian Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced, at a joint press conference, the signing of 6 important agreements with Turkey and reiterated Romania’s support for Turkey’s accession to the European Union. „There is our unconditional support for the accession of Turkey. A Europe that would include Turkey would be a stronger Europe, „said Prime Minister Victor Ponta. In addition, Victor Ponta had a meeting with Turkish businessmen, representatives of companies that have already invested in Romania or who have requested access to state aid.
The chief of the Executive assured that all of Turkey’s economic interests in Romania are received with friendship and are treated very carefully. The head of the Executive in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has assured, also, that it will be „really a major step in developing commercial relations” between the two countries.
2. The PM presented the new agreements with the international financial institutions to the parliament
Prime Minister Victor Ponta delivered a speech before the joint chambers of the Romanian Parliament, presenting on this occasion the new agreement that would be signed between the Romanian Government and the European Commission, the IMF and the World Bank.
On this occasion, the PM stressed that this presentation of the agreement is useful and necessary in order to ensure a climate of transparency and cooperation between all the parliamentary forces. „I felt that it is extremely necessary and useful to present in plenary, the current situation, the state of the negotiation and the implications for the Romanian economy for a possible new agreement between the Romanian Government and the European Commission, the IMF and the World Bank, „said Victor Ponta.
The prime minister stated in plenary session of Parliament that he wants that in two years Romania not to have any kind of agreement with the international financial institutions. „I want this agreement to be the last agreement that Romania signs with the international financial institutions,” said Victor Ponta.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister has reviewed the effects of decisions taken and enacted by the USL government: the employees’ salaries were reinstated in 2012 by a 15% increase, the contribution to the health detained from pensioners with pensions over 740 was returned, the minimum wage was increased from 700 to 800 lei. “We managed through a Government – Parliament joint effort, in 2012, to get out of the excessive deficit procedure, and we will still have further reductions because Romania does not depend so much as before on loans, „said the Prime Minister in the Legislative’s plenary.
3. The USL decided to set up the Special Parliamentary Committee for Rosia Montana
The assembled chambers of the Parliament approved the formation of a special parliamentary committee, which will review the bill on the exploitation at Rosia Montana. Setting up a special committee for the bill that regulates also Rosia Montana was approved in the joint plenary session with 311 votes „in favor”, five „against”, and 15 abstentions.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta said about the special commission regarding the Rosia Montana project that it „should require all documents issued since 1999 and we will provide them. It must listen to those who are in favor and those who are against, and to trade union representatives, to make a proposal, either for the dismissal of the project, or for the amendment of the project, but it has to give a solution.” The Prime Minister also said that „for the past 15 years there was no debate, after all it is better that it happens. When the Parliament will make a decision, it will be made in an informed manner.”
The MPs have determined that this special parliamentary committee to have 21 members, 8 of which belong to PSD, 5 – PNL, 2 each – PDL, PPDD and UDMR and one place for PC and one for national minorities. According to the leaders’ of the Parliament decision, by October 1st, the senators and deputies, will table amendments to the committee, and by October 20th there will be a report on the bill proposed by the Government. A final decision should come around November 1st.
Subsequently, the committee is to meet, at a time, with representatives of the Ministry of Culture and NGOs, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and ANRM and, during mid-week, the committee members will then move to Rosia Montana, where they will discuss with the representatives of the protesters.
4. PM Victor Ponta visits Finland and Lithuania
According to government spokesmen, the external visits of the PM are intended to restore Romania’s position on the international relations stage and to strengthen the economic relations with other major European countries. Another objective of the visit is to promote Romania as a good destination for foreign investors. In regards to Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, the Finnish Prime Minister appreciated the progresses registered by Romania, confirmed by the last MCV report, declaring that Finland will not block Romania’s Schengen bid.
In recent months, the PM met with European and world important leaders, such as Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, the President and Prime Minister of China. In Finland and Lithuania PM Victor Ponta will meet with his counterparts, but also with the Presidents of the two countries.
Another objective of the visit is to absorb ideas from the Finnish Education model, one that is proving successful. Besides the PM, the Minister for Higher Education, Mihnea Costoiu, will also participate in this visit.
The event in Finland involves a presentation of several successes of the Finnish system to PM Ponta and the Ministers of Education in Helsinki. At the same time, this conference will be video broadcasted in Bucharest, where major players in the educational system will participate: university presidents, principles, teachers, students, pupils, together with the Minister of Education, Remus Pricopie.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta will meet Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and Parliament Speaker Vydas Gedvilas, as well as representatives of the business environment. The agenda of the meetings is dedicated to the future of the EU, the EU’s economic situation, combating youth unemployment, the digital agenda, increasing EU competitiveness.
Another topic raised by Victor Ponta during these two meetings is the European future of the Republic of Moldova – the Vilnius November summit is an important step to this regard for Chisinau’s European aspirations
5. Romania registers a good year in agriculture
The 2013 agricultural year has been an excellent one for Romania – the country has managed to have the largest sunflower production of all economies in the European Union, increasing output by 60% compared to last year.
Romania is the European leader in the production of sunflower, the harvest in 2013 being the largest in the history of the country, according to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture. Only sunflower seeds will bring about 500 million Euros to the economy, according to the same estimates.
This very good production will also be noticed at the shelf, since sunflower prices were reduced by 40%. Oil price is expected to decrease. Government officials emphasized that Romania had one of the best agricultural years in the past years – agricultural production, as a whole, could advance by about 4-5% in 2013, after a disastrous decline of 22% recorded last year in terms of volume.
In addition, this year the highest yield in the last 23 years was obtained for the production of barley and the highest yield in the last 38 years for rape. The Government has also taken steps to support rural development. The Paying Agency for Rural Development and Fisheries (APDRP) will grant, between 2014 and 2020, 70.000 euros to young people who want to open a business in rural areas.