Romania: Klaus Iohannis gives televised speech on the pandemic

Romania: Klaus Iohannis gives televised speech on the pandemic

As the COVID-19 numbers keep clinching negative records, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis addressed the country’s political and civil society today, calling for prudence from all parties.

To the first, he stressed that “the virus is real, it has no political color, it does not disappear by law, and for this reason the Parliament should urgently vote on the legal framework the country needs”.

He told citizens that he as well was looking forward to returning to old habits, but this was not possible at the time, stressing the need to comply with the restrictive measures for a speedy return to normalcy.

Klaus Iohannis announced that he had sent the document to Parliament with the measures adopted during the two months of the state of emergency, complimented by a bundle of measures to be introduced in order to avoid problems such as those that have arisen. One such problem pointed out by Klaus Iohannis was the lack of coherent and well-designed legislation, as well as the lack of stocks at the beginning of the pandemic.

In his speech, the Romanian President focused on the crisis caused by the hitherto unknown virus around the world, backing the strict measures to flatten its curve in Romania. As he said, his country records the largest dispersion in Europe; this constitutes a challenge, but also one of the reasons for imposing the state of emergency. The sole purpose of the measure was to avoid a worst-case scenario, with a large number of deaths and patients, which would be inevitable, especially at a time when the country had no medical supplies for emergencies and while nations around the world had turned their attention on procuring their own medical supplies.

The progression of the epidemiological situation, Klaus Iohannis stressed, showed significant shortcomings in the most important systems of the state, especially in the health sector, where there was a lack of materials even for urgent and basic needs. Even more, the pandemic has shed light to a range of systemic weaknesses, such as a highly destabilized national economy, lack of public investment, low productivity and limited administrative capacity.

However, the institutions directly involved in crisis management have managed, by taking drastic emergency measures, to reduce the negative effects of the COVID-19 epidemic through direct and effective interventions.

This would be impossible without the professionalism and dedication of the medical staff. Thanks to the way everyone, especially those in the front line, did their job, a large-scale health crisis was avoided and many human lives were saved.

The response on behalf of the citizens, who showed that they understood the criticality of the situation and the need to respect the measures, was also overwhelmingly positive, the Romanian President stressed. The contribution of the non-governmental and economic sectors was also important, he added.

The pandemic has highlighted significant shortcomings resulting from the failed organization and administration of the Romanian state in the last 30 years, the Romanian president said. These shortages cannot be filled in just a few months. Efforts to build an effective state will take time, so reforming large public systems cannot be postponed indefinitely. The big steps that have been taken now, in the direction of a broader digitalization, for example, must be continued at a faster pace.

“Everything that seemed out of place at this time must be put on the right footing. That is why I sent a series of proposed measures to the Parliament, so that, in future crises, using the lessons from this experience, the state will have an increased ability to respond, to ensure the protection of citizens”, he underlined.

The President of Romania appealed for solid co-operation amongst the essential state institutions. “This is not the time for political confrontations and selfishness. Everyone’s common goal during this time must be, above all, to save the lives of Romanians and to protect the citizens of the country. Under such trying conditions for the country, the politicians of all parties must stand up to the positions they hold”, he argued.

“In recent weeks we have witnessed a variety of controversies over one measure or another. Romania and its citizens need politicians not only for their fiery political discourse, which is sometimes subject to pre-election expediency, but also for prudent and solid arguments, a willingness to listen to experts and find the best solutions for society.

There is a need for the Authorities, politicians, journalists, civil society, together, united, by overcoming everything that divides us, to convey to the citizens a message of unity. The virus is real, it has no political color, it cannot be stopped by law, nor does it disappear on its own, simply by ignoring its existence. That is why I call on the Parliament to urgently vote on the necessary framework so that the Authorities can act to protect the health of citizens”, he added.

Concluding his speech, Klaus Iohannis stressed to his compatriots the need to adhere to the restrictive measures so as not to lose the progress that has been achieved thus far. “We are a strong nation and we can overcome this difficulty together”. /ibna