Romania’s Social Democratic Party suggests government reshuffle

By bne IntelliNews April 1, 2016

Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) has criticised the performance of some ministers and suggested that prime minister Dacian Ciolos should reshuffle the government. Some of the ministers have under-performed, PSD president Liviu Dragnea said, singling out finance minister Anca Dragu Paliu.

Rumours about an imminent government reshuffle have been circulating recently. However, they were broadly interpreted as being initiated by groups interested in placing their own candidates in the government. Ciolos has not openly rejected the rumours, but there is no evidence he plans to replace any of his ministers either.

“I propose nothing to the government but I suggest, since we are not partners so far as I remember,” Dragnea said.

He added that that the PSD leadership had given up meeting ministers on key issues, claiming that the discussions were “pointless” because of the “weak performance” of the ministers.

Ciolos’ politically-neutral government was appointed last autumn, with the support of both major parties – the PSD and the National Liberal Party PNL) - after public protests overthrew the cabinet of PSD prime minister Victor Ponta. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for this autumn.

Dragnea particularly mentioned the situation concerning maternity benefits. Lawmakers voted on March 30 to lift the cap set on benefits, and decided that recipients were entitled to 85% of their net wage before maternity leave. Prior to the lawmakers’ vote, there was a RON3,400 limit (or RON1,200 if mothers opted for a two-year leave), and mothers with high wages before they went on leave did not receive the full 85%.

The bill is due to come into effect on July 1. However, the government claimed that the bill, approved by lawmakers already, does not specify a financing source and it has therefore decided to postpone its enforcement. Dragnea said that it was the finance ministry’s duty to find the necessary resources.

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