PM Dancila summoned to Cotroceni over the budget rectification issue. Draft adopted by the Gov’t without CSAT’s opinion, President declares institutional deadlock

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A new episode of he Presidency-Government dispute over the budget rectification issue is in the pipeline. After President Iohannis has suspended the CSAT sitting on Tuesday asking the Executive to come up with a new draft for rectification, the head of state has summoned PM Viorica Dancila and competent ministers for consultations to Cotroceni on Thursday. The problem is though that the premier is leaving to Spain tomorrow meet King Felipe VI, which makes her attendance impossible.

Moreover, the Government has adopted the budget rectification draft on Wednesday, through emergency ordinance, without the CSAT’s opinion. The Executive’s decision to approve the rectification under these circumstances, defying the CSAT’s go-ahead and and the denial of the prime minister to come to consultations prompted President Iohannis to declare an institutional blockage on this topic. Iohannis has firmly condemned the adoption of the budget rectification draft without CSAT’ s mandatory opinion, announcing he will use all his constitutional prerogatives to sanction this conduct, while asking the Ombudsman to notify the Constitutional Court.

By deliberately ignoring the need of the CSAT opinion, the Government is placing itself outside the legal framework in force. The inexplicable action to go on adopting the budget rectification under these circumstances proves the Government’s obvious lack of dialogue will in the citizens’ interest. It is a new action showing the parallel agenda that Dancila Government has and an attempt to divert the public opinion’s attention from the serious problems to which the Government is not capable to find solutions,” reads a press release by the Presidency, adding that by adopting the budget rectification in the absence of the CSAT opinion, the Government is forcing the Constitution’s limits and such a conduct will not remain unsanctioned.

In this regard, Romania’s President is publicly asking the Ombudsman to notify the Constitutional Court to check to what extent the emergency ordinance for the budget rectification meets the constitutional requirements”.

The invitation letter

Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis has sent a letter to Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Wednesday, September 5, inviting her for consultations to the Cotroceni Palace on September 6, at 11:30hr, according to articles 80 and 86 of the Constitution, considering the opinions expressed  by the Government regarding the need of the rectification of the state budget for 2018. Consultations refer to the clarification of some aspects related to the state budget rectification of the national security institutions, which represent particularly urgent and important matters,” reads a press release by the Presidential Administration. Competent ministers are also invited to attend the meeting.

However, PM Dancila has announced at the start of the Gov’t sitting today that the Executive will adopt the budget rectification, adding that the obligation to ask for the CSAT’s opinion had been met.

She also informed that she will be in Spain on Thursday for a scheduled meeting with King Felipe VI.

The premier added she had been surprised by president Iohannis’ decision on Tuesday to suspend the CSAT sitting, while asking for the declassification of the transcript of the sitting.

I would have expected the President to understand that the budget rectification must be approved in order not to affect the smooth running of the economy. I would have liked this very important draft for Romanians to be the result of a consensus between two important state institutions- the Presidency and the Government. Any complex situation has yet at least one solution, and the solution chosen by the Government is to go ahead with adopting the budget rectification,” Dancila argued.

The PM claimed the Gov’t “has fulfilled the obligation” to ask for a CSAT’s stance and that it still committed to provide financing continuity.

People need investments, medicines, pensions and salaries paid in due time. The farmers affected by the African swine fever need financial aid, while farmers need money for subsidies to start agricultural works,” Dancila pointed out.

Later on, Finance minister Eugen Teodorovici announced that he and Justice minister Tudorel Toader will fill in for PM Dancila and attend the consultations at the Cotroceni Palace on Thursday.

Ex-CCR president: Gov’t cannot skip CSAT’s opinion for the rectification

Augustin Zegrean, former president of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), told Digi24 that the Government is not in the position of skipping the CSAT’s opinion for the budget rectification. He says that political ambitions are put ahead the rule of law and the major risk is to not observe the Constitution and to silence the rule of law.

There is the judicial symmetry principle that says that if a draft has been adopted by the Parliament, it is the Parliament that must amend it, so, normally, the Government could not do the budget rectification by emergency ordinance, for the urgency is not justified, and secondly, for the budget is adopted by law,” Zegrean explained.

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