After a rather long winter recess, which started well before Christmas, on December 14, 2022, Romanian MPs are returning to work on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, for the first parliamentary session of the year.
Among their priorities, the mass media notice, are sensitive bills, such as the one capping special pensions at the level of the salaries paid for the respective positions, or the ones amending the education laws, on which the parties in the ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Ethnic Hungarians in Romania are yet to reach an agreement.
The Undergraduate Education Bill and the Higher Education Bill are still being analysed by education experts in the 3 parties. These are part of the Educated Romania project, launched nearly a decade ago by president Klaus Iohannis, and still pending approval.
According to the timetable agreed by political decision-makers, these bills should be passed by the government in February and reach Parliament in March, for endorsement. But the Social Democratic MP Vasile Dîncu said recently that he had asked his party chief Marcel Ciolacu to request an extension for the education laws deadline, for further consultations. On the other hand, the Liberal spokesman Ionuţ Stroe insists that the original timetable must be complied with.
Another bill to be discussed and endorsed concerns the pension benefits granted to certain categories of public sector employees, including magistrates, court staff and military personnel.
Ahead of the elections due in 2024, another bill pending in Parliament stipulates that at least one-third of the candidates for parliamentary and local elections must be women.
Meanwhile, analysts say, the Liberals and the Social Democrats are planning ahead for the PM rotation decided by the ruling coalition. Under a protocol in this respect, the 2 main coalition members are to swap posts at the end of May, when the Social Democrat Marcel Ciolacu should replace the Liberal Nicolae Ciucă as prime minister, and the latter should take over the Senate speaker post, currently held by his fellow Liberal Alina Gorghiu.
The Liberals insist that, under the protocol, some government ministers should also be replaced, although the Social Democrats would like to keep the offices where they claim their members have put up good performances, such as Sorin Grindeanu at the transport ministry and Adrian Câciu at the finance ministry. (AMP)