The increase in elected officials’ salaries was not without reaction from those who will benefit from the extra money. From references to a speech by Ion Iliescu to comparisons with salaries in other states, dignitaries tried to find excuses.
The decisive vote will be given by the Chamber of Deputies PHOTO: Alexandru Dobre / Mediafax
The senators defied the decision of the Constitutional Court regarding salary increases in the public system and reintroduced the increase through an amendment voted in the Senate plenary.
The draft law for the approval of ordinance 115/2022 was voted in the plenary session with 91 votes for (PSD, PNL, UDMR, AUR) and 22 against (USR).
The amendment to increase by 10% the salaries of parliamentarians, the president of Romania, ministers, local elected officials, state secretaries and undersecretaries and heads of several institutions was proposed by the UMDR group leader, Turos Lorand, and by the UDMR senator Fejer Laszlo-Odon, and the application should take place from November 1, 2022. Immediately after its adoption, the initiative was criticized by the opposition and public opinion, but the dignitaries tried to find excuses for the move.
The aberrant explanations of the Romanian dignitaries
Virgil Guran, vice-president of the Senate, contradicts a statement by Ion Iliescu from the 1990s and claims that “we must learn to be rich and honest”, not “poor and honest”.
“In ’90 I heard Ion Iliescu saying to be poor and honest. I think we need to start learning to be rich and honest, and the country will do better. For me, a salary increase does not benefit me, because God helped me and I have had my company for 32 years and I live from there, not from what happens in Parliament. I think that we have to end this thinking that the salaries of the mayors should not be increased. I think we need to increase the requirements for performance, and that is very important”, explained the PNL senator.
The Minister of European Funds, Marcel Boloș, was dissatisfied with the Romanian salary system for officials, comparing his salary with that of ministers from other EU member states.
“Take it as a reflection exercise. Many times I have been to the meetings of the Council of Ministers and the salary levels of the ministers exceed 15,000 euros while a dignitary of Romania has 2,500 euros. And this says a lot about what the Romanian salary system for dignitaries means, which we may criticize, compared to what it means for their counterparts abroad. Don’t think that we have salary levels that are defiant compared to other dignitaries, they are common sense,” said Boloș.
A reaction on the subject of the salary increase of dignitaries also came from the UMDR leader, who states that it is about the salaries of town hall officials, not for parliamentarians.
“The problem is not the parliamentarians. At this moment you can say that you don’t have to increase the salaries for the parliamentarians, it’s OK, there’s no problem, it’s possible, but for the local elected officials you have to take a step. And that was the idea. There was a discussion in the coalition at one point, and that was the idea. It was not about parliamentarians. It is wrong to lead the discussion in the direction of increasing or not increasing the allowances of parliamentarians, because that was not the idea. And the pressure did not come from the parliamentary area, it came from the town halls, and not necessarily from the mayors, from the civil servants”.
A controversial statement was also made by UDMR deputy Szabo Odon, who compared the dignitaries to the scumbags of the communist era. “I don’t understand this proletarian anger through which even our colleagues anathematize the area of local public administration and the elected officials as if they were bastards, as in communism.”
The parliamentarian claims that “there is a calculation” and that is how salaries will increase in the next period. “If we agreed at a certain point that this law is necessary, we voted for it in Parliament, the Law on budgetary salaries does not provide amounts, but provides a coefficient, from 1 to 10 and 12, and then, unfortunately, in at the moment, we are falling into populism”, said the UDMR representative.