Budgetary austerity has not stopped state employment on the conveyor belt

The coalition has constantly conveyed in 2023 that it wants to tighten the belt, in order to make savings on the budget. But the Executive still did not succeed, being an increase of 33,749 occupied positions compared to the first days of Ciucă's mandate, but also 8,360 more than when Ciolacu took over the government.

The last two prime ministers of Romania, Marcel Ciolacu and Nicolae Ciucă PHOTO Inquam

In May, the Government came up with an emergency ordinance by which, in the state, hiring could only be done in special situations or if it was essential sectors, such as health, education, defense forces and national security. Everything related to employment from that moment on had to go through the Government, by adopting a memorandum, so the situation was under control. There was a time when there was also a rocade at the Victoria Palace, Marcel Ciolacu coming to the position held by Nicolae Ciucă.

When taking over the mandate of prime minister, in June 2023, the number of positions held in the state was 1,284,199. During Nicolae Ciucă's mandate, despite the fact that for half of 2022 (July-December) measures were taken to freeze employment at the state, the number of budget workers also increased. Ciucă took over a budget apparatus of 1,258,810 employees in November 2021. So, the dowry from Nicolae Ciucă's period was 25,389 new positions filled.

Later, in September 2024, the Ciolacu Government pledged its responsibility on a new law to reduce part of the budget expenses, including the reorganization of institutions and the abolition of some institutions, but the period of transposition of the normative act was extended from 31 December 2023 to June 30, 2024. This is how only four ministries have so far adopted a reorganization, according to the requirements.

How the budgets are divided

According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Finance, related to December 2023, there were 827,393 filled positions in the central public administration, while there were 465,336 filled positions in the local administration. The largest employers were the Ministry of Education, with 302,040 filled positions, followed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with 123,808 filled positions.

The milestone of 1.3 million state employees was also reached during the Tăriceanu government (December 2004 – December 2008). Moreover, in December 2008, the Tariceanu Executive narrowly “missed” the threshold of 1.4 million state employees, with only 1,399,000 positions filled, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. At that time, Romania was still in a period of economic growth, with increases in pensions and salaries taking place on a rolling conveyor belt, especially since 2008 was also an electoral year, with local and parliamentary elections, then the following year the European Parliaments and presidential.

And now Romania is preparing for European parliamentary, local, presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be, including in the case of merged elections, at least two and a half months of official electoral campaign.