Opposition calls for resumption of talks on Offshore Law

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Several opposition leaders have called for the resumption of talks on the Offshore Law in parliamentary committees. One of the MPs warns that investors could make the decision to withdraw from the Black Sea.

“The Offshore Law is blocked in Parliament for two weeks. This is because MPs and public opinion do not understand the importance of this economic project for Romania over the next 30 years”, says USR deputy Cristina Prună.

“The great debate that is lacking today in Parliament is on how we need to capitalize on the Black Sea gas. Both in PSD and in ALDE we find former ministers who have controlled the portfolios of the Ministries of Economy, Industry or Energy, but have done far too little in this area. Under their patronage, we witnessed the collapse of the petrochemical sector at a time when natural gas will be the most sought-after hydrocarbon for the next decade”, says Cristina Prună, on her social media official page.

According to USR, Black Sea gas should mean a social and economic guarantee for Romania, and the money collected under the specific fiscal regime should be used on three directions. USR has tabled an amendment to offshore law in this respect:

(1) Targeting the amounts received from royalties, profit tax and supplementary tax to Pillar 2 Pensions. Romania will face enormous pressure on the current pension system in the coming years due to digitization, new technologies and the rapid aging of the population;

(2) Through Pillar 2, this money should be invested in the development of the natural gas distribution network to increase the number of consumers. Such a decision must be doubled by increasing energy efficiency and introducing a social tariff for the protection of vulnerable consumers;

(3) Also through Pillar 2, this money should be invested in the use of gas in the petrochemical industry. This will lead to value-added products to be used in many sectors, from construction, to plastics, and to the creation of well-paid jobs in this sector.

The Offshore Law is not on the Parliament agenda this week. “We are subject of a mockery from the coalition in power. Although we were summoned to a meeting with all the group leaders last week, the negotiations took place on Friday, once again, in the office of Liviu Dragnea, this time with him and Calin Popescu Tăriceanu as the only debaters”, the USR deputy also said.

PNL announced a similar position.

“PNL calls for the resumption of talks on the Offshore Law in the specialized committees. Today, two weeks after the vote in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies when the law report was resumed for discussion, the PSD-ALDE coalition members are fighting each other. The timeframe when the investors have to take the investment decision shrinks and we risk to discover, perhaps in two or three weeks from now, that we are in vain talking in Parliament because investments in Romania in the Black Sea gas will no longer be done, or they will be frozen at best. Meanwhile, they discuss on how much the Romanian state will earn, how much or how little the Romanian state will win, and do not think that a percentage from the revenues, no matter what that percentage will be, will be virtually irrelevant if the investments are not made”, said liberal deputy Virgil Popescu.

“Therefore, while they are acting a fake scandal, the PSD-ALDE majority blocks the talks in the Parliament”, the PNL deputy said, stating that the deadline for submitting the report to this law has passed, notes Agerpres.

The law was repeatedly returned to the committees in the previous months, at the request of the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, and subsequently at the request of the parties in the governmental coalition.

The draft for Offshore Law is not on the agenda of the meetings of the Chamber of Deputies’ specialized committees, although PSD-ALDE coalition leaders have assured that the debate will resume this week for reaching a final form. There is no official explanation for delayed debates, but according to Hotnews.ro, PSD and ALDE do agree on the final form of the law.

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