The draft law on the public pension system was adopted by the Senate with 85 votes in favor, six against, and 19 abstentions. The USR announced that it abstained from the plenary vote.
Parliamentary debates unfolded fast forward despite protests from the USR and UDMR opposition, who pointed out the law’s lack of a budgetary impact. The Minister of Labor, Simona Bucura Oprescu, and the Minister of Finance, Marcel Boloș, were absent from the debates.
The pension law received an approval report on Tuesday from the joint budget-finance and labor committees in the Senate, with 18 votes in favor, one against, and eight abstentions. Of the over 100 amendments submitted, approximately one-third, proposed by PNL and PSD senators, were adopted. Opposition senators’ amendments were rejected. The Presidents of the Senate’s Labor and Budget Committees, Ion Rotaru and Nicolae Neagu, respectively, asserted that the pension law project brings ‘equity.’
PSD Senator Daniel Zamfir insulted members of USR during the debates after they accused that there is no funding for the promised increases and requested the presence of the Finance and Labor ministers at the discussions. ‘You arbitrarily set aside these 10 billion, and I repeat, either you don’t increase pensions, or you postpone the moment when you will do it, or you lie about the budgetary impact. Tell us how much it costs. Are you paying from your own pocket?’ reproached USR Senator Irineu Darău to the ruling party lawmakers.
In response, PSD Senator Daniel Zamfir criticized USR for how they crafted the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. ‘I would never have spent 240,000 euros from our pocket through the NRRP to buy plush penises and vaginas,‘ he said.
USR Senator Anca Dragu also complained that there is no real funding source for the pension increase. ‘There is no funding source for this law. I’m afraid that this law comes with steep tax and unbearable tax hikes,‘ said Dragu during the committee debates. T
PSD Senator Daniel Zamfir retorted: ‘I want to tell you something very clearly: this law brings about equity that we have been talking about for many years. For about 20 years, people have been waiting for the political class to do them justice. Haven’t you, gentlemen from USR, been voted by the people to complain that there is no money? This is a matter of political decision, determination. This government has decided to put an end to social injustice. We can’t tell them anymore that there is no money because you from USR have allocated about 500 million to build bicycle lanes on mountain tops in the NRRP.’
According to the Labor Ministry, which drafted the new pension law, there will be two pension increases next year. The first increase will be on January 1, when pensions will be indexed with the inflation rate, and in September, after recalculation, 3 million pensions will be increased.
‘In 2024, Romanians’ pensions will increase twice. The first time starting on January 1 when Romanians’ pensions will increase by 13.8 percent. Each of the 4.8 million Romanians will benefit from this. The pension point value will go from 1,785 as it is today to 2,032 lei. It is a significant effort that Romania is making, a form of respect for every Romanian, a form of equity for every Romanian. This will be the first part of the implementation process of the new law,’ stated Labour minister Simona Bucura-Oprescu.
‘The second part will be the recalculation of pensions and its implementation, starting from September 1. Pensions are paid monthly, so from September, they will have the newly recalculated pensions where they will see exactly the contributory points, non-contributory points, and stability points each of them has, which will undoubtedly lead to an increase in pensions by over 40 percent on average. Every Romanian is important to know that they will not have a lower pension under the new law; the amount will be maintained most favorably, and over 3 million Romanians will have higher pensions,’ she added.
The law, which is assumed through the NRRP, is based on several principles, including the obligation, contributiveness, equality, and stability of coverage in the public pension system. Here are some of the most important provisions.