Press review (Sept 3)

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The main topics grabbing headlines in Romania's national dailies of Wednesday are anongoing annual meeting in Bucharest of Romanian ambassadors and consuls and the speech delivered by Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu to the opening session of the meeting, and the beginning of public hearings at the International Court of Justice in Romania v. Ukraine case concerning marine delimitation.
 
Ziarul financiar remarks that Prime Minister Tariceanu is calling for an increase of Romanian business presence abroad, quoting the prime minister as calling on the attendees of the annual meeting of Romanian ambassadors and consuls to give up their sufficiency and showbiz diplomacy and promote instead the interests of Romania in a more efficient manner, particularly by supporting investment projects abroad of Romanian companies.
 
The paper quotes Tariceanu as having said the ambition is to turn Romania into an excellence pole in the region, a medium power in the European Union, both in political and in economic terms, and having urged the ambassadors to place the interests of Romanian companies more visibly on the map and promote the geo-strategic position of the Constanta part as a hub for connection with the Caucasus. Tariceanu also said the Romanian diplomats have to fight more efficiently for the expansion of companies running on Romanian capital in South-Eastern Europe and in the eastern neighbourhood, be it in Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova or Western Balkans.
 
Gandul remarks that Tariceanu is dreaming of Romania making it to the top of economic powers, saying that encouraged by unprecedented results of the local economy, PM Tariceanu is betting on Romania becoming one of the European Union's seven biggest economic powers. Moreover, the paper says, Tariceanu is advancing the idea that Romania should give up on its status of a modest and complex-ridden country and promote instead the image of an ambitious and emancipated state. The paper quotes Tariceanu as saying if the ongoing economic trends continue, Romania could become Europe's seventh or eight largest economic power in 2014, but emphasis should be placed on economic expansion abroad.
 
Romania libera reports that Romania on Tuesday presented its oral argument before the International Court of Justice in the Hague in the first day of public hearings in its case against Ukraine relating to the delimitation of the Black Sea continental shelf around the Serpent Island, an area rich in oil and gas reserves.
 
The paper quotes Romania's Agent before the ICJ Bogdan Aurescu as arguing Romania wants the discounted area to be delimitated in a fair way, indicating that the Serpent Island should be treated according to the international law norms regulating rocks, as Ukraine agreed when it signed a basic political treaty with Romania in 1997.
 
Aurescu is further quoted as telling ICJ that the case against Ukraine is not very difficult, because there are no territorial claims involved and the geographic context is not very much complicated by exceptional circumstances, save for the existence of the Serpent Island in the area that has to be delimitated.
 
Weekly Capital writes about what it calls the treasury on the Serpent Island- the oil and gas resources there valued at $37 billion, informing that Romania and Ukraine are presenting their oral arguments before ICJ September 2-19, and the ICJ will be expected to rule by February 2009 on how the 12,000 square kilometres in dispute will be shared. The stake here is a huge amount of oil and gas that has been waiting to be tapped since first detected in the 1970s. These resources are valued at $37 billion, of which $7 billion would be the value of the crude oil and the remaining of the natural gas.
 
Business Standard remarks that the Romanian side showed up before ICJ armed with maps and graphs to back up its oral argument, mainly technical in nature, in its case against Ukraine. Four agents are representing Romania before ICJ – two Romanians, one French and one English – delivered a three-hour plea in favour of the use of the Romanian methods when delimitating the continental shelf around the Serpent Island, the historic and geographic contexts, and the ICJ jurisdiction.
 
Ziarul financiar remarks that Vadim Tudor became chief in the Senate with support from the PD-L party of President Basescu. It reports that the opposition Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) on Tuesday ceded the vice-chairmanship of the Senate to the national leader of the opposition Greater Romania Party (PRM) Corneliu Vadim-Tudor, which won PD-L, a party close to President Traian Basescu, accusations from the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) that it is contemplating entering a future alliance with PRM.
 
The paper explains that Tudor on Tuesday nearly lost his office following revelations by the opposition Conservative Partry (PC), currently allied with the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD), of a protocol signed after the 2004 general election under which agreement was reached the deputy-chairmanship of the Senate, which was to go to PC to go to PRM for the two sessions of Parliament in 2008, and the office of the Senate's secretary to be held for the entire time by the PC.
 
Cotidianul remarks that President Basescu reacted in an official press release to these speculations saying he had no contacts with any political party or leader, not even PD-L, to discuss the distribution of offices in the Senate.
 
Ziua carries the findings of a report by Citigroup indicating that the record growth of Romania's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2008 is proof to the Romanian economy overheating, and increases the probability of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) further toughening its monetary policies throughout the year.
 
The paper says the National Statistics Institute on Tuesday released official data on the advancement of the GDP in the first and the second quarter of the year – 8.8 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively. Economic growth is said to have exceeded the estimates of Citigrou reading an 8.6-percent rise in Romania's GDP in the second quarter of 2008. The National Economic Projection Board (CNP) initially put the GDP growth at 6.5 percent in 2008 and at 6.1 percent in 2009. This June, the CNP chairman said the CNP may upwardl;y adjust by one point the 2008 economic growth estimates, to 7.5 percent.
 
The paper quotes Citigroup analysts as saying the record growth in the second quarter of the year and the mounting inflationary pressures might lead BNR to toughen again its monetary policies by the close of the year, which would increase the reference interest rate to 10.5 percent or even higher.
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