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Ciorapel the Baron and Dancila the Unsuspecting. How the PSD government and…

Ciorapel the Baron and Dancila the Unsuspecting. How the PSD government and its barons are making a mockery of crucial Romanian infrastructure projects

More than seven years, or better yet, 2,634 days (as calculated by Hotnews) have gone by since the first PSD government after Romania’s EU accession (in 2007), lead by Victor Ponta, has initiated the Comarnic-Brasov highway building project. These days the Dăncilă government has turned the project upside yet again, starting it from scratch, since the same Dăncilă had stopped last year’s Tudose government’s idea of handing it over to the World Bank, dead in its tracks. The Comarnic – Braşov highway managerial catastrophe is just one symptom of the cancer that PSD has helped spread countrywide.

Before writing about the causes of the disaster, take a look below at the huge queue clip on DN 1 between Breaza and Busteni on Monday morning:

For seven years, PSD governments have almost completely disrupted major infrastructure developments. Dozens of Transport Ministers or Major Projects and CNAIR directors, the Prognosis Commission, prime ministers and party leaders have joined forces and completely destroyed any real chance of building highways and express roads essential to Romania’s economic development.

In the past seven years only one correct decision was made: the Comarnic – Braşov project was handed over to the World Bank, which would de facto manage the construction of the motorway. Premier Tudose’s team made the decision in autumn 2017, but the Dăncilă – Dragnea – Vâlcov team destroyed the project in favor of a private – public partnership illusion. Today, Dăncilă announces that PPP is no good and wants to build the highway with public money. This is the fifth attempt to build the highway during a PSD mandate.

Corruption and incompetence are the main reasons behind this situation: Dan Şova, Ioan Rus, Răzvan Cuc, Narcis Neaga, Dragnea, Vâlcov, Dăncilă and Ion Ghizdeanu – are all products of the state system, with no background or results anywhere else. Some of them have already been convicted for corruption, others are promptly following in the same footsteps.

For seven years PSD has played hat tricks with infrastructure projects, legislation, and institutions dealing with infrastructure. It has exasperated Moldovans, who want a motorway, the South, who want a Sibiu – Pitesti highway, and Bucharest people who are still dreaming of a city highway belt.

Incompetence, although important, is not the only explanation. Incompetence feeds on political corruption, which has been the real culprit in this case.

Suffice it to know that the individual now deciding the fate of Romania’s infrastructure is not Dăncilă, nor Cuc, nor even Narcis Neaga – the scapegoat. The man is the PSD « Baron » of Neamt, Ionel Arsene, alias Ciorăpel (Little Sock). He has inseted Cuc in the government after transferring him from PSD Giurgiu, and he is the one holding the knife and the bread in infrastructure matters. A dreadful character, Dragnea’s comrade and partner in misdeeds, Arsene is the archetype of the PSD baron who blackmails the head of party at the center when decisive votes are needed in the Executive Committee.

In fact, Arsene’s existence as well as that of other barons like him (who are from the now PSD or from PDL at the time of Elena Udrea) is one of the reasons underlying the current disaster.

The mechanism they use is straight forward: the central PSD leadership depends on local « barons » for votes and barons ask for money. This is how the PNDL (National Program for Local Development, derived from the old PNDI invented by Elena Udrea to control the PDL’s barons) came into existence. The PNDL is, in fact, the instrument through which PSD governments siphon state money needed for large investments, sending it instead to barons, who build locally (often) unnecessary items using expensive and low quality materials. An excellent report by Recorder reviews these investments that have gobbled billions of euros in recent years .

The barons’ behavior also the explains the refusal to attract European funds. Once the obscure Ciorăpel has placed his stooge and started deciding on strategy at the Ministry of Transport, EU money became scary: Tel Drum cases and others, in which DNA has discovered gross thefts, have demonstrated that European money is dangerous due to the transparency requirements tied to its spending. Thus, they came to the conclusion that national budget funds represent a far more secure source of theft.

The same fear of EU money has also given birth to the lie circulated by Dancila, Vâlcov and Dragnea, namely, that it is good to get funds and expertise from the Chinese, the Turks and the Emirates. Why is this false? Because nothing is cheaper than free EU money, on one condition: that it be properly spent.

One thing is certain: as long as PSD is in power and the late feudal regime it has generated is at work, any major infrastructure project is condemned to failure.

Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu

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