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Global Economy

Romania: Refuel "in sips" in protest

The governing coalition in Romania is introducing a tank discount for the next three months. According to Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, the state takes 0.50 lei (10 cents) off the price of a liter of petrol or diesel. A price cap for fuel had previously been discussed, as in Hungary and Croatia. Two years ago the price of petrol was 1 EURO, now it is 1.8 EURO.

Many motorists protest in their own way. In Iași, a large city in the north-east, people have blocked gas station operations. They lined up to fill up for 10 or 20 cents. Each driver refueled their car up to 5 or 6 times.

A customer:

"The price of fuel has risen again, we used to fill up for 120-140 euros, now 180-200 euros are due for a tankful, it is obvious that the price is exaggerated."

Bogdan Chirițoiu, President of the Competition Council:

"Two years ago the price of petrol was EUR 1, now it is EUR 1.8, it is clear that we are talking about an abrupt increase that no consumer can be happy about, and the protests show consumer ingenuity and humor. ”

TANK DISCOUNT OR PRICE LIMIT?

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, the leader of one of the ruling parties (Partidul Social Democrat), was actually in favor of a price cap for fuel:

"Without the pandemic or the energy and fuel crisis, these gains would not exist. Some of the gains are based on a speculative price."

However, the liberal government partners do not share the views of the social democrats. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca told his coalition colleagues that mistakes could cost Romania enormously in times like these. The President of the Senate, also a Liberal, agrees.

Florin Citu, President of the Senate:

"These are financial crises, there is no strategy, nobody tells us where to go."

Felicia Macaleţ, Euronews:

It's been a month since we've been monitoring the prices of fuel at this gas station in Bucharest and we've been noticing increases each week. For instance, 30 days ago, 1 liter of gasoline was 1.62 EUROS. But now, the price is 1.73 EUROS. If we talk about Diesel, in May its price was 1.77 EUROS. And now it costs 1.87 EUROS.

"We have been monitoring fuel prices at this gas station in Bucharest for a month and we have noticed higher prices every week. For example, 30 days ago 1 liter of petrol cost 1.62 EURO. Now it is 1.73 EURO. And diesel was included in May 1.77 EURO Now it's 1.87 EURO."

With the tank discount, Prime Minister Nikolae Ciuca's conservative party (PNL) prevailed over the powerful, co-governing Social Democratic Party (PSD). PSD had demanded that fuel prices be capped, similar to neighboring Hungary. Now it is to be feared that the producers will increase the prices all the more, so that the subsidy that has now been decided will not reach the consumer – as has already happened elsewhere in Europe, according to the PSD.

Felicia Macaleț, see below with dpa

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