As of 2018 employees in Romania will have to pay their social insurance contributions on their own under an emergency decree pushed through by the country's social liberal government last week. Observers suspect the government resorted to this measure because it promised civil servants a 25-percent pay rise for next year but can't pay the social insurance. Commentators are also incensed for other reasons, however.
Romania now the neoliberal avant-garde
With this law the centre-left government in Bucharest has severed the social contract between workers and bosses, journalist Iulian Leca writes on the news website Ziare:
“Romania has become the neoliberal avant-garde with the tax reform initiated by the PSD - not just in Europe but on a global scale. By shifting social security contributions from employers to employees, the PSD is freeing the economic players of all responsibility for the social status of their employees. Now workers have to kowtow to their bosses and depend on their mercy - on the mercy of the very entrepreneurs who according to the finance minister haven't paid social insurance contributions for roughly two million employees.”
Ruling party seeking to consolidate its power
Gelu Sabău explains on the Baricada blog what the legal reform will mean in practice:
“The entire burden now lies on the shoulders of the employees (this doesn't exist anywhere else in Europe!) and breaks with the principle of solidarity between employees and employers. All future changes in social contributions will affect only the employees. If they are increased, this won't add to the employer's labour costs. ... This measure taken by the PSD will have extremely anti-social consequences. It's a measure that is typical of neoliberal governments aiming to weaken the labour force. There is no ideology behind the Social Democrats' decision to approve it. It is motivated by the party leadership's desire to consolidate its power.”