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_ Romanian Parliament to convene in first session of year on Feb. 1

Romanian Parliament to convene in first session of year on Feb. 1

The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday start their first ordinary parliamentary session of 2023, told Agerpres.

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu and acting Chair of the Senate Alina Gorghiu have convened the two legislative chambers for 16:00hrs and 12:00hrs, respectively.

According to the regulations, on the first day of the parliamentary session, in the plenary session of each Chamber, the members of the standing bureaus are elected - deputy chairs, secretaries and treasurers, with the exception of the chairs, who are elected at the beginning of the legislature.

The election of the leadership of the two legislative chambers is done at the proposal of the parliamentary groups, in accordance with their size, by political configuration and the negotiation of the floor leaders. The lists of candidates for the standing bureaus are fully subject to the vote of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate and are approved by an open vote of the majority of the lawmakers in attendance.

Featuring on the agenda of the new parliamentary session will be important bills for compliance with deadlines under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).

The leaders of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the National Liberal Party (PNL) have named an education bill and a bill to reform special pensions among their legislative priorities.

"The package of education bills is in fact the materialisation of the most important presidential project, 'Educated Romania', and we want to have them adopted in this parliamentary session and, of course, to materialise the commitment to reform in the area of education that this coalition has made, which is also an important landmark as far as the PNRR is concerned," says PNL spokesman Ionut Stroe.

The education bills have been approved by the PNL leadership and a meeting of the governing coalition will take place this week to agree on a timetable for their adoption, says PNL national leader Nicolae Ciuca, adding that these pieces of legislation have to be completed by early April, at the latest.

"The education bills are benchmarks in PNRR. We are under an obligation to approve them as soon as possible. From my point of view, they should be approved no later than late March, early April," according to Ciuca.

PSD national leader Marcel Ciolacu says the education legislation is a legislative priority with the Social Democrats, adding, however, that discussions of the bills have to continue with the prime minister and the finance minister as well as local administrations given the significant financial impact of the implementation of the new pieces of legislation.

The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies will also consider a bill on special state pensions.

"From our point of view, the special state pensions are our main priority, and we and the Justice Ministry are expected together to find a suitable constitutional form so that we may close this chapter of special pensions in Romania once and for all," says Ciolacu.

"There is a backlog that we have to work on in this parliamentary session," says Stroe.

PNL also says increasing from RON 2,000 to RON 3,000 the cap on state pension taxation as another priority.

Another bill considered by PNL regards holding local elections simultaneously with the general election. "From our point of view, there are enough reasons of a constitutional nature to promote such a bill. It will probably take shape in this parliamentary session, but not before it has been discussed in the coalition and agreed upon with the social-democratic partners and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR)," says Stroe.

The lawmakers will also discuss other bills related to reaching PNRR milestones and ordinances adopted by the government.

In addition, it is to be expected that, in the case of the rotation of prime ministers between PNL and PSD this May, as provided for in the protocol of the governing coalition, several bills will be submitted for debate to the two chambers of Parliament to be included in the governing agenda.

PSD say that they are working on a new government agenda, and Ciolacu, who will take over the rotating position of prime minister, has hinted to reducing labour taxation and overtaxing companies with huge revenues.

At the same time, the Save Romania Union (USR) say they will table, on the first day of the parliamentary session, a new simple motion against Interior Minister Lucian Bode, considering the accusations of plagiarism related to his doctoral thesis.


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