The Foundation For The Defense Of Citizens Against State Abuses (FACIAS) has lodged a preliminary complaint with the Romanian Government, pointing out the serious consequences of non-compliance with the provisions of Emergency Ordinance No 84/2022 on combating speculative actions as well as on amending and supplementing some normative acts.
The aim of this ordinance, as described in the explanatory memorandum, is to create a strong legislative framework to protect consumers and ensure the fair functioning of the internal market. It is intended to prevent unjustified price increases and to remedy market failures in crisis situations. Despite its importance, and even though the OUG was published in Romania's Official Monitor on 20 June 2022, the Government's obligations to establish and define essential products or services exposed to speculative risk have not been put into practice, although the law says that implementing rules should exist.
FACIAS underlines the need for the Government to issue without delay a decision establishing the essential products exposed to speculative risk in crisis situations, thus ensuring consumer protection and market integrity. We remind the competent authorities of their essential responsibility to act for the benefit and security of citizens.
How does the lack of enforcement rules affect consumers in practice?
In exceptional situations, such as the pandemic for example, Romanian consumers are exposed to economic risks and possible speculative actions. At the time of the pandemic, when there was a huge demand, stocks were quickly exhausted. We are talking about products that provide basic needs. Taking advantage of this, many traders set outrageous prices for food or products needed on a daily basis, which put extraordinary pressure on consumers. This is a scenario we can always expect, given the social and economic context we are going through. We can see the cost of oil, flour, petrol or toilet paper doubling. In this context, transparency and cooperation between the main state institutions are not just optional, but essential. FACIAS draws attention to the fact that the cooperation mechanism between the National Tax Administration Agency (ANAF), the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) and the Competition Council, as provided for in Art. 4 para. 2 of OUG No 84/2022, has not been developed. Without such a collaboration mechanism, the institutions will not be able to respond promptly in a crisis situation and consumers remain exposed to possible abuses.
FACIAS has already made explicit requests to the presidents of ANAF and ANPC to develop and adopt the collaboration mechanism, stressing the acute need for transparency and clear rules in these difficult times.