Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu promises lower food prices without pressure on farmers
Marcel Ciolacu, the recently appointed Prime Minister of Romania, has affirmed that consumers will soon witness a noticeable decrease in prices for certain essential food products. He has initiated discussions with retailers to achieve this outcome while assuring that such reductions will not impose any burden on Romanian farmers.
'We have already received the response of the big retail chains to our proposal on the price reduction scheme for basic foodstuffs. And I can say that the retailers have already sent a first list of products targeted. So we have all the conditions in place for finalising an agreement or a regulatory act in the next period, and I would really like to thank them for their promptness and for this approach. This means a guaranteed drop in the price of some basic products indispensable for the population. And here we refer very clearly to: bread, milk, cheese, meat, eggs, flour, cornflour, oil, fresh fruit and vegetables. I want to stress very clearly: it will be a decrease that will not put pressure on Romanian producers. I believe that Romanians fully deserve such a gesture in the form of a joint effort by the state and the private sector', said the Prime Minister at the beginning of a recent Government meeting.
Marcel Ciolacu held the first consultations with the representatives of the Association of Large Retailers in the food sector on June 20, 2023 with discussions focused on establishing an agreed functional mechanism between the Government and the private sector to reduce the price of basic food products, according to a Government press release.
'I am pleased with the openness of the business sector to agree, following our dialogue, to a viable, simple and clear mechanism that, together with government measures, will lead to a reduction in inflation and an increase in the purchasing power of Romanians. Our governance is first and foremost for the people, and our firm commitment is to reduce inflation to a single digit by the end of the year. I am convinced that we can achieve this in partnership with the business environment', said Marcel Ciolacu, quoted in the press release.
The dialogue with the representatives of the Association of Large Retailers is ongoing, in the attempt to come to soon to an agreement which would allow cutting down inflation. Some analysts are sceptical about the chances of such a scheme, while farmers have already voiced concern about possible negative indirect effects the scheme might have on them.
At the same time, newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Florin Barbu stated that one of his main objectives would be to increase the availability of Romanian food products in supermarkets and therefore to curb the current agri-food trade deficit which reached 2 million EUR.