Friday, May 4, 2012

Romania’s Ponta Pledges to Undo Wage Cuts, Keep Prudent Policy

Romania’s designated prime minister, Victor Ponta, said he plans to reverse public-sector wage cuts while pursuing a prudent fiscal policy and continuing an accord with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Ponta’s cabinet plans to restore public-employee wages this year after a 25 percent cut in 2010 and go ahead with share sales in state-owned assets after auditing the previous government’s asset-sale plan, according to a governing program filed to Parliament yesterday. The new government plans to seek a confidence vote in Parliament on May 7.

President Traian Basescu asked Ponta to form a new government after the three-month-old cabinet of Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu was ousted on April 27 in a no-confidence motion. Ponta will be backed by his Social Democrats and the Liberals, the parties that initiated the vote against the previous administration. Ungureanu’s ouster took place as the IMF and the EU were reviewing the country’s progress under a 5 billion-euro ($6.6 billion) precautionary-loan accord.

“The governing program aims to boost economic growth in the country and repair the social inequities done by the previous governments,” Mircea Dusa, a Social Democratic lawmaker, told reporters in Bucharest yesterday.

The designated premier, a 39-year-old former prosecutor, also plans to “rethink the tax system on exploring the country’s resources,” and put the energy regulator, known as ANRE, under the control of Parliament, according to his governing program.

The cabinet also plans an immediate moratorium on the exploration of shale gas until European studies show the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment.

It will also seek a “transparent’ review of a gold-mine project at Rosia Montana, majority-owned by Canada’s Gabriel Resources Ltd. (GBU), so that the permitting decisions take into account the national interest, environmental protection and European legislation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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