PM Florin Cîțu has submitted the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) to Parliament on Wednesday. The document, which provides for accessing funds from the European Recovery and Resilience Mechanism set up for the EU member states to help them cope with the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, has allotted EUR 29.2 billion for Romania, funds expected to reach our country in October this year. The document is to be sent to Brussels on Monday.
EUR 14.2 billion from the PNRR will be grants and EUR 15 bln will be loans. The money grated by the EU through the PNRR must be accessed no later then December 31, 2023 and the projects financed by this programme must be concluded by December 31, 2026.
While presenting the plan in the Parliament’s plenary session, PM Florin Citu said that PNRR does not mean revenue and pension cuts, but reform to help Romania develop.
“Ever since this plan has come out, I was accused I don’t want to come to submit it to Parliament. I address Romanians today. What PNRR means? For I saw wrong interpretations. Everybody must know that it is a programme different from what we have had so far on EU funds. It is a programme that came as a response to this pandemic shock. It is a different plan, which, besides investments, also comes with a part of reform, a reform that each Government must assume transparently.
All investments must be concluded by 2026, if we don’t do it, we lose the money. Don’t shout that the x project or the y one has not been included in PNRR.
The second important part: the green component and the digitalisation, tow things Romania needs very much. We have some very clear percentages here: 37pc for green economy and 20pc for digitalisation.
Of course, we’ll do the reform, not because somebody is asking us to, but for Romania need development. Investments will bring welfare to all citizens.
By this plan Romania attracts EUR 29.2 billion in five years, my role was to assure our partners that Romania will maintain its assumed path. Romania will continue to correct the mistakes of the past,” PM Citu told MPs.
The premier assured that this reform plan does not mean reducing revenues or pensions. “This plan doesn’t mean reducing revenues, pensions or other apocalyptic scenarios. Reform means a manner to use this money efficiently”, Citu argued.
“Through this programme we’ll guarantee that investments will go to all areas in Romania, as the country needs all investors. We’ll enforce PNRR with companies, particularly Romanian companies. We’ll taje the entire sum“, he added.
Opposition’s criticism. PSD to file censure motion
The PNRR plan has though prompted tensions between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties.
PSD and AUR announced they will not vote for the PNRR document. Marcel Ciolacu, PSD chairman, said that his party considers that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan has not been presented.
Ciolacu accused PM Citu of not coming earlier to explain what the Plan contains and that the plan is, in fact, a front to disguise the loans and interests.
“You wanted to hide the truth behind PNRR to Romanians. Instead of reforms, the only thing you did was to cut (…) You like to believe you are the apostles of transparency, but you are the trumpets of austerity. Liars. Who asked you to freeze pensions and salaries 5 years from now on, who asked you to liquidate CFR Marfa and Tarom? Nobody asked you to bring austerity to Romania. You use ONRR to justify a future agreement with IMF. You hurry to take loans this is an economic crime. You want to sell everything and turn Romania into a consumer market“, said Marcel Ciolacu.
At the end of the debates in Parliament, the PSD chairman announced that his party will file a censure motion against Citu Cabinet on June 14.
In its turn, AUR rejected the plan, saying it is “a burial allowance” and the “last big privatisation”.
“We say No to this plan in the name of the Romanians. Why need Romanians take a EUR 15 bln loan and be conditioned and checked on the retirement age, deficit and taxation”,” said AUR leader, George Simion.