Romania: government in dilemma over pensions
Romania's liberal government under Prime Minister Ludovic Orban (PNL), which has only been in office since October, is in trouble. It must implement a 40 percent hike in pensions announced under the previous social democratic PSD government even though it doesn't have the funds. Does the PNL need to get more creative in its search for alternatives?
Between a rock and a hard place
The government faces an unsolvable dilemma, Adevărul sighs:
“If it spends all the money it said it would, the PNL government will collapse because public revenues won't cover its costs. A huge wave of debt would ensue, and the debt burden would plunge the country into a Greek scenario. But if it fails to keep its promises - above all the 40-percent increase in pensions - the PNL government will face massive criticism from the [opposition, formerly governing] PSD, with its hackneyed phrases: the PSD gives you money, the PNL takes it away. ... The PSD's programme is based on populist rhetoric and draft laws with unsustainable promises. In other words, bribing voters in order to win the elections. Then the deluge can come.”
Offer solutions instead
The finance minister is trying to conceal his own incompetence with his scare tactics, Jurnalul National criticises:
“The government seems to be hemmed in by its desire not to exceed the deficit. Apparently, however, it is unable to find an economic policy that will allow it to raise the revenues that the PSD generated one way or another. To escape the pressure, Finance Minister Cîțu is resorting to a term that is meant to strike fear into our hearts: crisis. Apparently the catastrophe isn't being caused by his own incompetence but by the pension hike. However, he hasn't said what kind of pension increase the liberal government's budget could afford. Is 39 percent economically viable?”