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New law: A simple government decision can abolish corporate governance in any state-owned company

de Razvan Diaconu , 27.12.2017

The PSD-ALDE coalition’s amendments to the application of the corporate governance rules in the state-owned companies were approved by 157 votes in favour, 71 against and 4 abstentions on Wednesday, in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, which is the determining chamber.

The bill, which grants the Government the power to simply establish by a government decision that a certain company is exempt from the application of the corporate governance rules, will be sent to the President for enactment.

After the law comes into force, the Government Emergency Ordinance 109/2011 on the corporate governance will be practically eliminated.

The Corporate Governance Act is crucial because it encourages a professional and politically independent management, as well as an increased transparency in state-owned companies, with the final goal being that of improving their performance and the overall economic growth of the country.

Romania has suffered practically incalculable losses because of the results of the management connected to the political class.

On June 6, 2017, the Senate voted for some state-owned Romanian companies, including the CE Oltenia (which covers one-third of the country’s energy need), to be exempted from the corporate governance law.

The pretext was provided by a draft law which exempted from these rules only the Romanian Meteorological Society.

The initiative adopted by the Senate (with the mention that USR was the only opposing party) is in flagrant contradiction with the attempts of Ciolos government to “bring order” among the state-owned companies.

Even in opposition to the initiatives taken by the PSD government Victor Ponta, who announced in 2015, through the voice of the Minister of Finance at that time, Eugen Teodorovici, that he had asked the EBRD and the World Bank to take over the implementation of the ordinance on the corporate governance, meaning to be in charge of recruiting the managers and selecting the board members.

The corporate governance, more precisely its absence from the state-owned companies, was also the reason why the IMF agreement was blocked in 2015 – sources from the European Commission stated at the time for cursdeguvernare.ro that the European authorities were shocked by the fact that Romania does not take into account the suggestions made, particularly with regard to the corporate governance of state-owned companies.

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