Romania’s president slams populist opposition, warns against ignoring experts’ advice on Covid-19 prevention measures
President Klaus Iohannis criticized the politicians who instigate people to not follow the measures imposed in an attempt to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a speech held Thursday, April 16, the president said politicians can help with advice and ideas but “cannot instigate to not following the measures taken to protect the citizens’ health and life.”
“Any gesture and attitude that goes against the recommendations of specialists is reckless and can have tragic consequences! The citizens understand and I am convinced that, regardless of their political preferences, they are relieved that Romania is not governed today, during this profound crisis, by a coalition that prioritized the theft of public funds and running away from responsibility,” Iohannis said.
The Government takes into account the recommendations of experts and lets professionals do their job, he said.
Iohannis pointed out that, at the start of the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he issued an appeal to all politicians “to abandon the demagogic speech and not to attempt to gain electoral capital out of the people’s suffering.”
“It is unacceptable and revolting to see those who left the hospitals without resources, pushed competent people out of the country, and systematically destroyed entire public service infrastructures give lessons today,” Iohannis said.
“How can one call a political leader who questions the need of the state of emergency or who conditions the vote in Parliament, absolutely needed for the decree to come into effect, to adopting measures that are impossible to implement?,” Iohannis asked.
At the beginning of the week, Romania’s largest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) set several conditions to accept the prolongation of the state of emergency by another month. PSD president Marcel Ciolacu also blamed the Government for the insufficient measures for supporting the economic recovery after the epidemic ends.
The president said the current crisis offered some “painful lessons” about the need to restructure the public services in order to eliminate clientelism and support the areas that make up a functional state that serves the citizens.
“In order to progress and recover the serious damages produced by the epidemic, Romania needs a reset more urgently than ever. The healthcare system is the first but not the only one that needs a profound reform. We now see how many deficiencies needed to be covered in such a short time. Only with a sustained effort and maximum mobilization did we manage to adapt rapidly and take all the needed measures to keep the epidemic under control. Otherwise, the number of victims would have been bigger in Romania,” the president said.
He also criticized the faulty mentality of postponing the solving of problems, which today shows “its disastrous effects.”
“This critical stage confronted us with decades of governing done according to the mentality ‘never mind, it works like this as well, we’ll solve it next time, let others do it’. Today we can see clearly the disastrous effects of this toxic way of thinking and acting, which prevented us from moving forward for tens of years,” he said.
He argued that Romania’s future could not be endangered “because a parliamentary majority that lacks any legitimacy votes today in a populist manner measures without any economic support. It is completely immoral to lay the burden of aberrant measures promoted by irresponsible people on the shoulders of tomorrow’s generation,” he said.
Iohannis also praised the leaders of local authorities who collaborate with the civil society and the business sector to find the best solutions for their community, regardless of the political party they belong to. He also thanked the Romanians who are complying with the restrictions imposed in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and urged people to continue to follow them.