Press review (Sept 4)

The main topics grabbing front-page headlines in Romania's national dailies of Thursday  (Sept 4) are public hearings in the Romania v. Ukraine case concerning marine delimitation in the Black Sea continue at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague; Romania's ambassador in Washington gives an interview to daily Ziarul financiar; Parliament starts ordinary session; MP Miron Mitrea of the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) resigns seat in the Chamber of Deputies; Ford Company considers manufacturing a small-class automobile in Craiova.
Ziua remarks that the Serpent Island case continues in the Hague, reporting on the ongoing hearings at the International Court of Justice in the Hague in the case opposing Romania and Ukraine in a marine delimitation issue in the Black Sea.The paper quotes the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) as saying Romania's team on Wednesday argued in their oral argument that the Serpent Island geological formation cannot be considered a relevant geographical point on the Ukrainian shores.
The paper quotes Romania's Agent before ICJ Bogdan Aurescu as saying in his plea that the island is nothing more than a rock that cannot sustain human inhabitation or proper economic activities. Among the evidence presented by the Romanian pleaders were aerial satellite pictures offered by NASA indicating that the Serpent Island is in no way integrated with the Ukrainian seashores, an argument that was supported even by a blueprint presenting the inhabited areas on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast that Ukraine included among the documents submitted to the ICJ for the case.
Ziarul financiar carries an interview with Romania's ambassador in Washington Adrian Vierita in which Vierita says Americans are interested in EU funds. It says American entrepreneurs are interested in many things when it comes to Romania, but particularly in the EU financial grants. Vierita says the strategic partnership between the US and Romania is working perfectly at a political and military level, but what the Romanian diplomacy is focused on now is supplementing the partnership with an economic one part.
The next challenge, says Vierita, will be to strengthen the strategic partnership between the US and Romania in the business area, as the two countries have to switch from a political and military area to an economic zone.Evenimentul zilei remarks that the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) MP Miron Mitrea's resigning his seat in the Chamber of Deputies is just a show-off. Mitrea said on Wednesday that he is resigning the seat so that he may be available to the prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) for a criminal investigation of him.
Ziarul financiar quotes Mitrea as saying he is resigning but he will come back. He told the MPs that he will come back because he will not turn a monk. The paper carries Mitrea's statement that he will not change his mind about the resignation, because he is one of the people that never change their mind. He explains that this was the only solution he could think of to make an honourable exit.
This is more of a moral question than a juridical one, says Mitrea. Being always told that you are hiding behind immunity from prosecution so that you may not be investigated by I do not know who is embarrassing, says Mitrea. He also mentioned having asked his MP fellows to vote in favour of a criminal investigation being started of him.
Mitrea is probed in a file where also involved is former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase.

Ziarul financiar remarks that Romania's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has advanced six times more than the EU average, informing that Romania's economy has advanced in contrast to the economies in the Euro zone, and the 9.3% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2008 occurred amidst a 0.1% decline in the EU economy in the second quarter, on a quarterly basis.Almost half of the European Union's 27 member states posted economic growths of below 3% in Q2 2008 compared with Q2 2007, with the EU average standing at 1.6%. Given the figures, Romania's GDP growth is almost six times bigger than the EU average, placing Romania first in the EU in this province.
Ziarul financiar remarks that the first day of Parliament's ordinary session witnessed the first motions tabled against the government, informing that the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) MPs in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday tabled an unqualified motion called "Romanians will be deprived on heating this winter. The ongoing crisis of the public heating system," and is considering tabling another one against Government's agricultural policies.
National leader of the opposition Democratic Liberal Party (PD-l) is quoted by the paper as having said early this week after a meeting of the PD-L National Standing Bureau that the party will table fine unqualified motions this parliamentary session related to heating subsidies, education, infrastructure, healthcare and the absorption of European funds, and the first of them is expected to be filed today for the heating subsidies, unless the Government pays out the outstanding subsidies.
Ziua notes that the pollution tax levied on motor vehicles was discarded on Wednesday by a joint meeting of the Administration Committee and the Budgetary and Financial Affairs Committee of the Senate, which also decided that the pollution taxes so far collected be returned adjusted for inflation. The modifications were brought to Government Emergency Ordinance 50/2008 concerning the pollution tax and passed 10 to 2.
Voting for them were the senators of the PD-L, the opposition Greater Romania Party (PRM) and the opposition Conservative Party (PC), while the votes against were cast by the National Liberal Party (PNL), major at rule, and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), minor at rule. Six PSD senators abstained and so did one Liberal. The government officials and PNL senators having attended the discussions in the Senate argued that the new amendments will deprive ongoing environmental projects of funding.
Ziua reports that Romanian farmers on Wednesday staged a protest rally in Bucharest and 15 counties, calling for a 50% cut in the prices for diesel fuel. In Bucharest City, the protesters picketed the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The paper quotes chairman of the Agrostar farmers' trade unions Nicolae Stefan as arguing the entire political class should take responsibility for the current "disastrous" state of the Romanian agriculture. It also quotes Government spokesperson Camelia Spataru as having said on Wednesday that the relevant bodies will draw up an opinion on the farmer's grievances, in consultations.
Adevarul reports that the US Ford Company is intending to manufacture a small-class automobile at its factory in Craiova, Romania. The paper quotes Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming as saying the company will assembly Transit Connect cars in Craiova in 2009 and launch a small-class automobile in 2010 that is not the announced Fiesta model. Fleming also says the new model will be manufactured in Romania exclusively and it will be mainly bound for exportation.
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