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The Liberal Government in Bucharest is looking for solutions to curb the budget deficit
Shortly after taking over the power from the Social-Democrats, the Liberals identified multiple unaccounted sums of money in the budget, such as an excess of expenses and a low level of revenues. Accordingly, the latest budget adjustment set the deficit for the end of 2019 at 4.4%, way above the 3% ceiling permitted by the EU. The news came as a blow to all Romanians, depending on where they stand. Supporters of the National Liberal Party had one more reason to criticize the Social-Democratic Party and congratulate the Liberals for removing them from power by no-confidence motion. In their view, President Klaus Iohannis, himself supported by the Liberals, now has "his own" Government to work with, albeit supported by a fragile majority in Parliament.
In return the Social-Democrats claim they were able to keep the deficit in check for years of end, supported by one of the biggest economic growths in the EU, while the Liberals now are unable to do so, putting the blame on the Social-Democratic Party. The Liberal Government is thus trying to find solutions to curb budget spending. Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said he wants to cap the salaries of high-ranking officials, so they remain unchanged with the increase of the national minimum wage, considering that few people have seen such an increase in the past. This is why, to many people, such a measure borders hypocrisy. The Government also wants to cut down the number of employees in public ministries, some of them overstaffed, after the reduction of the number of ministries from 27 to 16. Finally, the Labor Ministry is eyeing another measure aimed at cutting spending, which forbids pensions from being accumulated with state salaries.
This has prompted many to recall a 2009 similar measure taken by a right-wing Government at a time of global recession. Five years later the law was repealed, but today it is expected to be reintroduced. Social-Democrat interim president Marcel Ciolacu says it is unconstitutional and undemocratic to claim responsibility over several major draft laws, including the state budget. In his view, the Orban Cabinet has no governing program and is acting in a chaotic and irresponsible manner, the effects of which Romanians are sure to feel. Consequently, although it doesn't see it as a top priority, the Social-Democratic Party does not exclude filing a censure motion against the Government by the end of the year.
(Translated by V. Palcu)
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