Romania’s Social Democrats threaten no confidence vote over doubts about 40% pension hikes. PM: opposition ‘lives in parallel reality’

Romania’s main opposition party says it will submit a no-confidence motion if the government moves to reverse a 40% pension hike scheduled later this year.

Former Labor Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu on Thursday said the only way the minority Liberal government could reduce the increase which was approved by Parliament last year, would be by passing an emergency ordinance.

If that happens, the opposition Social Democrats will move to dismiss the government she said, adding that the party on Thursday had taken a formal decision on the matter.

„If they touch a single comma on that law, we will file a no confidence vote,” Vasilescu said. The hike is due to go into effect on September 1, although there are doubts the government will have the funds to pay the increase due to a downturn in the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban hit back, saying pensions would be increased, but the government needed to consider the budget which has been hit by the health crisis.

He said the government wouldn’t attempt to pass a new law “through Parliament which is dominated by the Social Democrats who torpedo any initiative of economic development… (It’s) as if they live in a world which is parallel with reality we find ourselves in because of the epidemic in Romania, in Europe which has generated an economic crisis.”

If the government decides to amend the hike, it would likely do so in July when the next budget revision is expected. The Social Democrats and their partners passed the law when they were in government in 2019

Orban said last week that pensions will be increased, as much as the economy allows. Romania has more than 5 million retirees.

The Social Democrats and their allies have enough votes to topple the government.


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