Cuneiform script at the NBR

MAKE (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 01 februarie 2016

Cuneiform script at the NBR

The National Bank of Romania is hell-bent on embarrassing itself, claiming that its employees are not required to disclose their revenues, in an official response to an enquiry formulated by the BURSA editorial office.

Immediately after New Year's Eve, BURSA editor-in-chief Ancuţa Stanciu noticed that the income statements of the NBR officials had cuneiform symbols in the salary income columns, as they have no numbers, only dashes.

On January 6th, Ancuţa Stanciu sent the NBR the following enquiry:

"Please indicate the law/regulation which states that the management of the NBR is not required to publish its revenues in its assets and wealth statements".

The National Bank of Romania took three weeks to answer.

The answer isn't a short one, along the lines of: "Law no. x".

No.

The answer is more like "Star Wars", two episodes out of seven.

We hereinafter reproduce it, to see whether it justifies three weeks of work.

I think that you wouldn't have the patience to follow an analysis of the text of that reply.

And I think that making such an analysis would be counterproductive, because it would force us to waste our effort on nitpicking.

I think that it is enough to clarify: Law no. 176/2010 explicitly states in Article 1. point 35, that "the governor, first deputy governor, deputy governors, members of the Board of Directors, executive employees of the National Bank of Romania as well as the executives of banks in which the state is a majority or significant shareholder" are required to state their fortune and interests.

Appendixes 1 and 2 of the Law contain a set of forms that must be filled out, which feature the "Salary income" column.

Further down, before the signature, it is written, in the name of the one submitting the salary statement: "[...] I am liable according to the criminal law for the inaccuracy or the incomplete nature of the aforementioned data".

Of course, the Law does not stipulate the situation where the salary income columns have been filled out with cuneiform symbols.

Aside this obvious violation of the law of in the income statements of the NBR employees, I do not feel like I have the duty to comment any further.

But, since I am generous by nature, I am going to warn the employees of the Communication Department of the NBR that all of the regulations they have invoked, (to reach the absurd conclusion that "the NBR is not required to disclose the salary income of its employees in its asset and wealth statements"), were issued prior to the Law no. 176/2010.

Do you get it: PRIOR!

There is no Law or Directive that would explicitly state that "the NBR is not required to disclose the salary incomes of its members in the asset and wealth statements"; what you have is only some acts and regulations that tangentially reach the issue of human resources, from the perspective of keeping the autonomy, the independence of the Central Bank, which is a correct perspective, in democratic regimes.

The only place where it is stated that "The NBR is not required to disclose its salary revenues in its assets and wealth statements" is your own reply.

Your answer is pure speculation based on opinions (take note: not laws, but opinions!) as well as of other regulations that have no direct connection to the subject; and the normative acts that you are speculating PRECEDE the law.

And the law clearly states: you are required to disclose your salaries.

If you were not to do it, you would be committing an offense.

But you decided not to.

Thus, you are committing an offense.

AN ADDITION MADE BY THE AUTHOR

...And you're kind of embarrassing yourselves.

An opinion can't contradict a law.

It doesn't matter who it comes from.

It wouldn't even matter if it came from Nicolae Ceauşescu himself.

I would understand three weeks of work for that answer, if you had consulted with the Legal Department of the NBR.

It doesn't look like you did.

If you did, then it didn't take you seriously.

Perhaps you've even felt it, because otherwise, I can't explain why no one takes responsibility for that response, with a name and surname, it's just the NBR and the "Communication Department".

Can the NBR itself, or a department of its structure formulate an answer?!

Who answered me, the wall on 8, Doamnei Street, the one on 16, Lipscani Street or the one of number 25?

This "Communication Department" has created the bizarre situation in which I am speaking to a wall.

Metaphorically, as well as literally.

The response of the Communication Department of the NBR

We hereby inform you of the following:

Art. 1 paragraph (2) of the Law no. 312/2004 concerning the bylaws of the National Bank of Romania, stipulates that "the National Bank of Romania is an independent public institution (...)".

This stipulation is in full agreement with the provisions of the Treaty concerning the European Union, which stipulates in article 130 that "In the exercising of the skills and in the carrying out of the missions and duties that have been conferred to them through the bylaws of the SEBC and of the ECB, the European Central Bank, the national central banks or the members of their decision making bodies may not request nor accept instructions from the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union, of the governments of the member states or of any other organism. The institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, as well as the governments of the member states pledge to honor this principle and not to try to influence the members of their leading bodies of the European Central Bank or of the national central banks in the carrying out of their mission."

The bylaws of the National Bank of Romania also have to be reviewed from the perspective of the role of this institution as a component of the European System of Central Banks, as well as of member of this system. It has been insisted on this normative act in the Opinion of August 26th, 2010 sent to the Ministry of Public Finance by the European Central Bank, which emphasizes that "member states are required to guarantee the independence of their national central banks (BCN)". The Opinion stipulates that "member states may not place a BCN in a position where it does not have control or have limited control over its staff, or in a situation in which the government of a member state can influence its human resources policy", stressing the need for "protecting the autonomy of the NBR in the area of human resources, which constitutes a particular element of the principle of the independence of the central bank".

The aforementioned provisions must be construed while taking under consideration the provisions of article 148 paragraph (2) of the Romanian Constitution which stipulates that "(...) the provisions of the constitutive treaties of the European Union, as well as the other community regulations with a mandatory nature take precedence over any contrary dispositions of the domestic laws, in compliance with the provisions of the accession act." Additionally, paragraph (3) of the same article stipulates that "The Parliament, the president of Romania, the government and the court authorities guarantee the fulfillment of the obligations resulting from the act of accession and the provisions of paragraph (2)."

In conclusion, compared to the previously presented facts and in order to specifically address the question that was asked, the legal provisions according to which the NBR is not required to publish its salary income in its assets and wealth are:

 Art. 1 paragraph (2) of the Law no. 312/2004 concerning the Bylaws of the National Bank of Romania; Art. 130 of the Treaty concerning the European Union - provisions which rule the principle of the independence of the central bank, the fact that the national central banks or the members of their decision making bodies may not request nor accept instructions from the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union, of the governments of the member states or of any other organism;

 The opinion of the European Central Bank of August 26th, 2010 which stipulates that "member states are required to guarantee the independence of their national central banks (BCN)" and "may not place an NCB in a situation where it does not have control or it has limited control over its staff, or in the situation where the government of a member state can influence its human resources policy", while also stressing the need to "protect the autonomy of the NBR in the area of human resources, which constitutes a particular element of the principle of the independence of the central bank".

 Art. 148 paragraph (2) of the Romanian constitution, republished, which stipulates the fact that "(...) the provisions of the constitutive treaties of the European Union, as well as the other regulations of the European Community with mandatory nature, take precedence over any contrarian dispositions of the domestic legislation, in compliance with the provisions of the accession act. "The bylaws of the National Bank of Romania must also be reviewed from the angle of its being a part of the European System of Central Banks, as well as of being a member of this system. This normative act has been the focus of the Opinion of August 26th, 2010 sent to the Ministry of Public Finance by the European Central Bank, which stresses that "EU member states are required to guarantee the independence of their national central banks (NCB)". The opinions also states that "may not place an NCB in a situation where it does not have control or it has limited control over its staff, or in the situation where the government of a member state can influence its human resources policy", stressing the need to "protect the autonomy of the NBR in the area of human resources, which constitutes a particular element of the principle of the independence of the central bank".

The aforementioned provisions must be construed while taking into consideration the provisions of art. 148 paragraph (2) of the Romanian Constitution which stipulates the fact that "(...) the provisions of the constitutive treaties of the European Union, as well as the other regulations with a mandatory nature, have priority over any contrary dispositions in the internal laws, in compliance with the provisions of the articles of incorporation." Additionally, paragraph (3) of the same article stipulates that "The President of Romania, the Government and the court authority guarantee the carrying out of the obligations resulting from the accession act and the provisions of paragraph (2)."

In conclusion, compared to the facts presented above and in order to specifically address the question that was asked, the legal provisions based on which the NBR is not required to disclose their salaries in the assets and wealth statement consist of:

Art. 1 paragraph (2) of the Law no. 312/2004 concerning the Bylaws of the National Bank of Romania; Art. 130 of the Treaty concerning the European Union - stipulations which state the principle of the independence of the central bank, the fact that the national central banks or the members of their decision making bodies may not request nor accept instructions from the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union, of the governments of the member states or of any other organism;

The opinion of the European Central Bank of August 26th, 2010 which stipulates that "the EU member states are required to guarantee the independence of their national central banks (NCB)" and "may not place an NCB in a situation where it does not have control or it has limited control over its staff, or in the situation where the government of a member state can influence its human resources policy", while at the same time the need for "protecting the autonomy of the NBR in the area of human resources, which constitutes a particular element of the principle of the independence of the central bank".

Art. 148 paragraph. (2) of the Romanian Constitution, republished, which stipulates that "(...) the provisions of the constitutive treaties of the European Union, as well as the other regulations of the European Community with mandatory nature, take precedence over any contrarian dispositions of the domestic legislation, in compliance with the provisions of the accession act."

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