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PM Orban urges ministries to finalise legislation for economic recovery package

On Thursday, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban asked the ministries of Finance, Economy, Labour and European Funds to finalise the pieces of legislation to be included in an economic recovery package.

"I am requesting all ministries involved in the preparation of the economic recovery package to work on finalising the pieces of legislation. (...) These are the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of European Funds, on which we are pinning high hopes and much confidence Minister [Marcel Bolos] that we will be able to access the European funds as soon as possible," Orban said at the beginning of a government meeting.

He added that from what he knows Romania can prepare for the absorption of funds under the SURE programme to support the workforce and asked the minister of European funds and the Ministry of Labour to work on amending legislation to allow access to that money.

"It's about flexible work and we will have to make some legislative changes, together with the Ministry of Labour, you will have to prepare them so that we can access the money," Orban said.

He also asked for clarification on an additional fund that can be accessed in 2020-2022: "What fund is that, Minister?" Bolos said it is about 1.5 billion euros that come from the REACT-EU mechanism and Romania has this allocation for support measures as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Asked if the regulation was proposed by the European Commission, Bolos said: "It has already been presented in a public consultation since last week; we went through it, and we are where we have sent our observations to our representation in the commission. We hope that the amounts will be finalised as soon as possible because they are tentative."

Orban asked the minister for the Romanian authorities to be actively involved in the negotiations and decisions regarding the Recovery Fund. "Minister, I am mandating you to prepare the recovery and resilience program that will be needed to be able to access the funds. Of course, the regulation is not yet in a final form, but we can already have some ideas and we can be one step ahead, so that we can do our homework as soon as possible," the prime minister said.

In reply, Bolos said that he had prepared an information on this subject, which is of "national strategic importance," and also an action plan on the same subject, so as to meet the October deadline provided for in the draft regulation.