"Romania is not in the situation Greece is. Romania could get there, but we're definitely not in the situation Greece is. We've got all the necessary tools to avoid such a situation. The only problem is that we want to utilise them", Romanian President declared on May 13 in a press conference at Cotroceni Palace.
Traian Basescu's main statement:
- The aim of the press conference, beyond the details made public during the last days, is to try and explain
- Romania is not only the country of the President, it is also the country of every citizen
- I would start by addressing the fears transmitted by more or less authorised and well-intentioned individuals when it comes to Romania
- Romania is not in the situation Greece is. Romania can get there, but under no circumstances are we where Greece is
- We've got all the necessary instruments to avoid such a situation. The only problem is that we want to utilise them
- One of the most important things we've got is linked with the solidarity of the EU and the international institutions Romania is part of
- But I would not want people to understand that we're on a bed of roses. We are in a difficult situation that allows us to enforce corrections in order to avoid bigger difficulties
- I would say, without naming names, that 20 years after the Revolution, let's say 20 years of democracy, we have accompanied the democratic development evolution of a clientele state, where all parties, the entire political class has accepted the development of a clientele state
- It is debatable how democratic is a clientele state
- Obviously, we are not the only country in this situation. the political and social system that we have developed is a sick system, which needs to be treated in a process of modernising the state, in order to stop negative evolutions which accompany the democratic development
- The clientele system development can only affect the democratic values and the only solution here is to reform the state and string social and economic reforms
- On the two main issues - the social system, which needs to be affected by cuts from the finance point of view, or the state system, which also needs to be subject to finance cuts
Basescu sad the pension system was affected by the lack of resource to up pensions at the level they currently are. There 1.7 billion euros available from the state budget to pay up pensions this year, when the actual needs is 2.2 billion euros. "That is why the proposal we've made in the IMF, World Bank and the EU discussions were a 15% cut in pensions", Basescu said. he said there were 1.8 people who retired on time, 1.3 who retired on request and 906,000 on sick retirement. he claims that the last two years have seen an explosive number of sick retirements.
- We can't pay indefinitely from the state pensions' budget agreements between doctors and citizens who want both to get a pension and to be able to work.
- The question on everyone's lips is until when is this 15% cut in pensions going to last. I can only tell you the intention, the way I discussed it with the Government, is to keep the reduction by the end of the year, but it is just an intention, hoping that we will have complete resources for the 2011 budget, which depend on the economic stimulus programme and the fight against fiscal evasion and traffic
On social benefits system
Basescu said there were around 200 types of benefits people could have access to, which cost around 2 billion euros annually. He said a large number of benefits have been unjustified and represented another form of clientry. He said in some counties, people collected several types of benefits and had a high income. "I'm not saying it is generalised practice, but there are sufficient receivers to raise questions on the viability of these assistance systems. He also claimed there were quite a few people getting the unemployment benefit and working either on the black market, or with a contract. He wants to change the social assistance system so that "it stops being an endless area of waste."
On the state-supported apparatus
- With or without IMF assistance, we need to take a look at the modernisation of Romania's state budget apparatus and optimise costs with this extremely inefficient apparatus
- The figures that made me very determined in backing these measures: the state-apparatus spending for 2004-2005 were 17 billion lei. In 2010 there are 43.6 billion lei, in only five years. It's more than double. The time of joy without limits for the introduction of any kind of bonus, unlimited hiring, for vote's sake has brought us here
- A state-modernising process cannot be conceived without massive restructuring of the state apparatus. The state cannot run in these conditions
- We cannot go on like this: 3 million people need to pay to insure the salaries of 1.4 state-employees and almost 6 million retired
- Something must be done to avoid collapse
- Without measures we will continue to borrow on end. We've got time to take those measures, to avoid a negative event
- Despite the televised rejoice that Romania is like Greece, I'd like to tell you that if we went on in this rhythm, we would still have 2011 and 2012 to get to where Greece is
Basescu suggested that things went on like they used to and they increased the fiscal bounds, Romania would need another agreement with the international financial institutions, worth of 30 billion euros. This would mean a 67% of the GDP debt by 2013. According to him, the current level is 31% and will reach 36% by the end of the year. He said the measures that need to be taken is to prevent a higher increase in the debt percentage.
- It is the right of the people to protest, but I don't want them to fall in the middle of these democratic processes of protest. It would be essential for those who already on the social leaders for instructions, those whom introduced a violence-prone group within a group of seniors to give up this game because it is a dangerous one
- I send them publicly a message: to not try to create a violent climate. I don't just happen to say that, I talk about what I know. There are politicians who believe that stimulating violence is the solution and I want to tell them this is not right.