BUCHAREST, Romania—Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc stated last weekend that the new government’s top priorities are the state budget, infrastructure, agriculture, and the sound management of funds from the EU. Another recent goal aims to get the European Commission to stop monitoring Romania’s legal system.
Since last December's election the country has been adjusting to the unexpected alliance between the Liberal Democratic and the Social Democratic parties, which together have formed a majority coalition in parliament and now evenly share the cabinet. A partnership of this kind was widely regarded as unlikely in the past, because the two parties have traditionally been antagonistic toward one another, both in ideology and rhetoric.
Prime Minister Boc said in his speech that both sides of the coalition would decide on the form and content of the priorities after they “closely look into the matter” before submitting them to parliament in early February.
He also said the government must first adopt the state budget law, and pointed out that the executive must also pay off the former government’s debts, now up to 1.1 billion euros. The country’s economic growth was between 7 and 8 percent in 2008, with a 5.2 percent budget deficit, he said.
Revising the Constitution and the salary system of public sector employees, large investments in the transport, healthcare, and education sectors, and district heating rehabilitation were all also on the government’s list of priorities.
Boc added that the executive aims to boost economic growth, create jobs, and strengthen opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The funds required to cover 2009 national expenses are estimated to be between 5 and 9 billion euros. Pensions alone are expected to be 1.1 billion euros in 2009, a likely response to the declaration made by President Traian Basescu last November that warned of an ongoing collapse of the state pension system, estimating the budget needed for pensions in 2009 to be at least 1.3 billion euro.