“Anghel Saligny” funding program puts PNL and USR-PLUS at odds in the gov’t sitting

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In the absence of a deal in the ruling coalition on the “Anghel Saligny” financing program (envisaging RON 50 billion investments) due to the disagreement between PNL and USR-PLUS, Liberal PM Florin Citu attempted to force things in the government sitting today by putting the draft resolution on the additional agenda of the meeting.

This prompted the USR-PLUS’ discontent, as they asked for the draft’s being immediately removed and threatened to file a censure motion. The USR-PLUS ministers threatened that they will submit a motion of censure, if the draft bill is adopted, accusing the fact that it has no necessary approvals.

The Government meeting scheduled for 11 a.m. was suspended and it will be resumed at 7 p.m.

Deputy PM Dan Barna (USR-PLUS) told PM Florin Cîțu that the “Anghel Saligny” program lacks all necessary opinions, namely the ones of the Justice and Transports ministries and that the program is neither enjoying the agreement in the coalition.

PNL and UDMR endorse the „Anghel Saligny” program, a kind of local development program worth RON 50 billion, while USR-PLUS is opposing it.

“USR PLUS supports the development of the rural localities in Romania, but not through programmes that encourage the waste of public money on political grounds. The money from the former National Programs for Local Development from the PSD time reached the pockets of the local barons. We refuse to be part of replicating this practice of discretionary fund allotments to the party client bases and of bad investments that led to nowhere in the real development of the rural areas”, said a USR-PLUS press release.

According to sources quoted by the mainstream media, USR-PLUS would have told their ruling partners in the last coalition meeting that they are not among the beneficiaries of the “Anghel Saligny” program as they have less mayors. USR-PLUS asked the Liberals and UDMR in exchange to unblock and endorse one of their projects, namely the one on dismantling the Special Section for Investigating Magistrates, in the form desired by the minister of Justice, Stelian Ion (USR-PLUS).

USR-PLUS co-chairman Dacian Ciolos told Digi 24 on Wednesday that their ministers will withdraw from the Government if their demands are not respected, meaning the negotiation of a new “Anghel Saligny” programme and the dissolution of the special section for investigating magistrates.

The other USR PLUS chair Dan Barna said the “Anghel Saligny” project is “a potential moment” of breaking the coalition collaboration protocol.

“It is a potential moment of coalition protocol breach that we signed after the Vlad Voiculescu moment. That’s why we decided to suspend the sitting till tonight, following agreeing with the PM,” said Barna. He added an option will be found to preserve “a functional collaboration”.

However, Barna warned that literally, “all options are on the table”, arguing that “putting a project on the government agenda on the sly without USR-PLUS knowing about that is unacceptable”.

“The new National Programm for Local Development is similar to the one in Liviu Dragnea’s time, it is a waste of money”, Barna said, stressing that USR-PLUS is not opposing to Romania’s growth.

PM Florin Citu said in retort that the “Anghel Saligny” project will pass, adding that the threats of USR-PLUS “come and go”. The premier said that he had taken over and included all USR PLUS amendments in the draft resolution.

In his turn, UDMR chair Kelemen Hunor argued that the “Anghel Saligny” project is not destined to a certain political party, but for developing the local communities, adding that it is not a priority for USR PLUS. Kelemen Hunor also claimed that, at a certain point, USR-PLUS ‘had blackmailed all saying <money against the special section for investigating magistrates>”.

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