The Romanian dailies on Monday focus on the remarks made by President Traian Basescu during a visit to Italy; Europe's curbed dependence on Russian energy; the acquisition of new fighter jets by Romania; the Romanian demographic issue; a steep fall in the number of cattle; the boom seen by Romanian online trade; the death of respected actor Ilarion Ciobanu; and the surprising defeat suffered by the Romanian soccer team in a home match against Lithuania.
"The president: I'm looking forward to your coming back home during my next tenure", says the Evenimentul zilei in headline to an item carrying the remarks made by President Traian Basescu during a recent visit to Italy. "Some one thousand Romanians travelled more than 10 kilometres from Rome on Sunday to the new headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Bishopric based in that country, in order to meet President Traian Basescu and his wife Maria.
Basescu, who attended the first religious service on land owned by the Romanian state in Italy, did not conceal the fact that he was seeking a new term and he urged the Italy-based Romanians to come back home ‘in three or four years", after he hopefully gets a new term at the Cotroceni Palace (the presidential administration's offices – editor's note)".
The daily also reports that the Romanian leader, before talks with Pope Benedict XVI, whom he invited to pay a visit to Romania, in an interview with the Italian media reiterated Bucharest's discontent with the "negative media campaign" waged by the Italian press. Basescu stressed that "we have a dialogue with Rome" and cautioned over the "wrong clichés" used with respect to the Romanians living in Italy."
"We are concerned with the normative acts included in the "security package" and we are keeping a constant dialogue with the Italian authorities on this issue. We believe that the image of the Romanian community in Italy has been too much and unjustly distorted by a negative media campaign. It is unacceptable to discriminate honest European citizens by carrying simplistic and false clichés", Basescu said in an interview with the Catholic Archbishopric's daily Avvenire on Saturday.
The Evenimentul zilei stresses that "Basescu's message, which is similar to the one sent several weeks ago after a meeting with Premier Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, came two days after the European Commission had assented the Italian norms on conducting a census in the nomadic camps".
"The Russian lesson forces Europe to fail the exam", the Saptamana Financiara weekly says. "Europe's curbed dependence on Russian resources is being made by each country on its own", the publication says, adding that "the lack of a European unitary policy on reducing the dependence on Russian energy has resulted in an endless protraction of the projects Romania is involved in. The Georgian war has taught the Europeans nothing for the mere reason that Russia is always one step forward."
"What can Romania gain by the acquisition of new fighter jets", reads a headline in the Business Standard economic daily. "The talks on the acquisition of a new fighter jet will be carried out on 3 fronts – military, diplomatic and economic. The biggest public acquisition contract in history is also one of the most difficult political decisions Romania has to make. Romania gives the go-ahead this month to the proceedings for the acquisition of up to 48 multi-purpose jets that should replace the MIG 21s. 5 competitors are being considered for what is going to be the biggest public acquisition contract in Romanian history", the daily writes.
"The demographic bomb has started ticking", says Saptamana Financiara in a headline. It quotes the most recent estimates made by the European statistic office Eurostat as showing that by 2060 "each Romanian pensioner will be backed by the welfare contributions of just 1.5 employees, down from the current 4.7".
"The sheep, cow and pig are increasingly hard to find in the Romanian peasant's farm", Adevarul reports. "The dramatic fall in culling mirrors the loss of the cattle. Expensive grain, small subsidies, the lack of labour – such are the main reasons why the small farmers are giving up cattle breeding", the daily explains.
Online trade is looking forward to a new booming year", reads a headline in Saptamana Financiara, which reports that the trading carried out on the Internet in Romania this year will total one billion euros.
"Ilarion Ciobanu has passed into the gold archive", Cotidianul reports. "One of the very few Romanian actors who played almost exclusively in films died on Sunday at age 76".
The disastrous home defeat suffered by Romania in the World Cup qualifier match against Lithuania is examined by most Bucharest-based newspapers. "The Clown Cart", headlines Cotidianul. "The metastasis has ultimately got into the dying Romanian soccer, putting the national squad into its rightful place", the daily writes.