COUNTRY PROJECT OR ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN?The superficiality of "profound Romania"

M.P. (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 6 iulie 2016

The superficiality of "profound Romania"

Prime-minister Dacian Cioloş had a busy schedule yesterday. After putting up for public debate, "Competitive Romania: a project for a sustainable economic growth", he also proceeded to replace four ministers in charge of four important sectors: Education, Transports, Communications and the Diaspora.

Called a "strategic document", "Competitive Romania: a project for a sustainable economic growth" is a proposal assumed by the government and by president Klaus Iohannis, NBR governor Mugur Isărescu and the president of the Romanian Academy.

Even though it has a pompous title, I have found that it is actually a 12-page color leaflet, full of platitudes, where everything is "essential", "significant", "necessary" or has "major potential".

We quote from the "strategic document": "Education is an essential factor...", "The health of the population is essential...", "The diaspora can significantly contribute...", "Information technology and creative industries have potential...", "Energy is a critical field...", "Investments are vital...", "Romania is the stock market with the highest potential...", "Transport infrastructure plays an essential part...", "The land registration is necessary...", Research and development will be key elements...", "The elimination of bureaucracy is an absolutely necessary process..."

In fact, we have a cursory overview of what we already knew, that Romania has many issues, but also ... potential.

According to the dictionary, "strategy" means setting the objectives and the planning of the actions to take. At this point of the Government's plan we find no planning, nor clear objectives, others than "the need to bring Romania to its true development potential".

The authors probably justify this summary state of the presentation of the "country project" through the fact that they are scheduling debates on 16 strategic sectors that would begin on July 12th, and would end when school starts (around September 15th), which is not necessarily a bad procedure, except that, once again, in the history of the administration of this president, called Klaus Iohannis, consultations are nothing but formalities, just like they have been on the occasion of the protests sparked by the "Colectiv" tragedy.

Four hour consultations for each of the 16 strategic sectors are scheduled.

In other words, the wide scale national consultation in the strategic area of agriculture will last four hours. The same for healthcare and education.

Just think that on September 12th, the nation will debate for four hours, the 14th sector - the strategy for the development of the capital market, which Pole Ludwik Sobolewski, who was brought in to manage the BSE, together with Financial Oversight Authority and the Coalition for Romania's Development have failed to put together, three years later.

The odds of those four hours of debates yielding any results are minimal, especially because the ideas included in the country project concerning the capital market are inspired by the "8 barriers" documents, which have already had the chance to prove their ineffectiveness in terms of their results.

It is however interesting that, out of the three items mentioned in the "capital" section, the ones that are mentioned are the Capital market, wedged between European funds and foreign direct investments. No trace of the banking system, investment funds, insurance companies, in short, the financial infrastructure for the development of an economy.

So, in other words Mr. Cioloş is telling us that the banking system is competitive or perhaps he is suggesting it is going to be eliminated.

These "four hours each" represent "deep and collaborative consultations with all the sectors (governmental, non-governmental, private)", according to the document launched yesterday, "competitive Romania".

This is the profound Romania, as per Cioloş, and the Romania of a job well done, according to Iohannis.

Pârvan: "Everyone is sick of the word «strategy»"

The newly announced Strategy, which pretends to be truly special, there has been a lot of insistence on the public system and very little on the economy and the quality of life, as the economy is the foundation that everything else should rely on, says Cristian Pârvan, secretary General of the Association of Romanian Businesspeople (AOAR).

He states that yesterday's debate in the Parliament's Palace was in fact an announcement and an enumeration of principles.

Cristian Pârvan told us: "Everybody is saying we don't have any kind of «orientation» and everybody has had enough of the word «strategy». Also, many people are saying that there is no country project. But who would devise such a project? How much would it cost and how would that be funded? In this context, it is acknowledged that the business sector wants to know what the plans are for this country. But yesterday, the business sector was mentioned under «miscellaneous»".

The AOAR official has also pointed out that in the debate that in Monday's debate, which concerned the development of the national territory, emphasis has been placed on the fact that the local administration should be responsible for the public works. "We believe that the local administration should get more responsibility for supporting and developing local businesses", says Mr. Pârvan, who claims that the launch of a code for the local administration, the drafting of a code of the mayors' responsibilities, given the chaotic legislation, is legitimate.

Four ministers for five months

Prime-minister Dacian Cioloş yesterday said that he has decided to replace four ministers in order to refresh the government team. In that regard, Communications minister Marius Bostan, of Education - Adrian Curaj and the delegate minister of the Department of Romanians Everywhere - Dan Stoenescu have been dismissed, and Transports Minister Dan Costescu has resigned.

The prime-minister has also announced that he would nominate Marius Dumitru for the Ministry of Education, Sorin Buşe for the Ministry of Transports, Maria Ligor for the Department for the Relations with Romanians Everywhere, and in the Ministry of Communications will be appointed as interim the head of the PM's Chancery, Dragoş Tudorache

Cioloş probably thinks that these five months of his term must be very important, considering that he has seen fit to replace four ministers for them, ministers that don't seem to have any notable achievements. Which is what can be said about the whole government.

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