Parliament suspends plenary sitting, to resume budget talks on Tuesday

Parliament suspended its joint plenary sitting debating the draft 2021 national budget at 02:00hrs this morning, planning to resume talks today at 10:00hrs. Also considered today will be a bill on the state social security budget, with a final vote on the two bills scheduled for today as well. The debates were halted at Annex 3 the budget of the Ministry of Development, where several amendments were made and put up for a vote. Earlier, lawmakers voted on the 57 articles of the bill and its first two annexes. No amendments were accepted, and the budgets passed as intended by the Government. Leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) in the Chamber of Deputies Alfred Simonis asked for an additional 80 million lei for the General Secretariat of the Government and the State Secretariat for Religious Denominations in order to provide funds for the rehabilitation of churches. The amendment was rejected 174 to 224 and 4 abstentions. The amendments of the Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR) floor group providing additional funds for scholarships awarded to Romanian students at Romanian-tuition public schools in Ukraine, Serbia, and Hungary and for supporting the activity of Romanians from all over the historical communities around the borders and the Balkans were also rejected. Most of the amendments were made to the budget of the Ministry of Development - 2,487 - designed for local infrastructure investment projects - water works, sewerage, asphalting of roads, extension of gas networks - but they were also voted down. "We have 200 amendments for Bistrita County, but we will support only 15," PSD MP Daniel Suciu announced during the debates, thanking "colleagues in Bistrita" for "nothing" after those amendments were also voted down. Among the rejected amendments was one aimed at earmarking 50 million lei for the rehabilitation of the Nicolae Tonitza High School of Visual Arts in Bucharest. PSD MP Daniel Florea put forth several amendments for funding public facilities in District 5 of the Bucharest City, including the Antiaeriana Park and Laser Valley, which were rejected. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, meeting in a joint session started on Monday at 16:00hrs, EET, debates on the draft versions of the 2021 national budget and the state social security budget. A final vote will be cast today. AGERPRES (RO - authors: Alina Novaceanu, Catalina Matei, editor: Andreea Rotaru; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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