Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu announced record figures during Thursday’s government meeting, despite the speech calling for moderation. One figure predicts growth of 3.4% in 2024, while most analysts predict growth of just 2%, plus or minus a few percentage points.
“Even if we have a particularly important election year ahead of us, I would like us not to promise anything that we cannot fulfill,” said Ciolacu.
He says that the value of investments exceeded the amount of the public deficit last year.
“In total, the volume of public investments increased by 33%, and this was seen in the creation of more than 75,000 new jobs. The absorption of European money was, in fact, the engine of the Romanian economy.
For the first time we managed to reach a record absorption level of over 93%, in the financial year 2014-2020. In total, last year we collected over 13.7 billion euros from the European Commission, including the amounts from the PNRR. We worked last year with the National Bank of Romania to bring inflation down to a single digit and we succeeded in doing so, to protect people’s purchasing power. Through the measures taken, inflation decreased from a maximum of 16.8% in November 2022 to 6.7% currently, and in 2024, the estimates of the National Bank of Romania show an inflation of under 5%”, said Ciolacu.
The pro-cyclical policy of increasing taxes is, however, an inflationary one, and if inflation fell, it was not due to fiscal policies, but to exogenous factors (oil) and the base effect.
“We will complete all the reforms we committed to and will continue to meet the milestones in the PNRR. This will allow us to have an economic growth of 3.4%, the second highest economic growth in the European Union. We will do this, because this year will be the year of investments. We have allocated in the budget a record amount of 120 billion lei for investments, i.e. more than 7% of GDP. This year, investments will contribute half to economic growth.
Otherwise, in 2024 we will focus on measures to increase domestic production. We have two strategic areas, construction and agriculture, in which we will invest massively. I am glad that in the Invest Alim Program we already have projects worth 1 billion euros, and I hope that the same will happen with Construct Invest.
In the end, I want to tell you this: Romania has taken a big step forward in terms of Schengen. After 13 years in which absolutely nothing happened, we finally managed, with a well-coordinated and well-welded team, to have a political decision regarding the lifting of air and sea borders and the possibility of issuing Schengen visas. For the first time, we have an irreversible process. We will continue to work both at the political and technical level, through the relevant ministries, so that this year we can definitively end this process,” Ciolacu said.