Press review (Sept 29)

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The Romanian dailies on Monday carry reports on the governing programmes announced by the parties ahead of the general elections due at the end of November; the implications of the global financial crisis on Romania's plans to switch to the euro; the stage in the privatisation of Avioane Craiova aircraft maker; and Romania's ranking in the region by retail spending per capita.
 
Evenimentul zilei daily carries an analysis called "The flat tax or progressive taxation?" It reports that "the parties announced their governing programmes. The differences are noticed at the taxation chapter. The Romanian political parties have embarked on a genuine race of electoral promises, as they hope to get as many votes as possible at the Nov. 30 elections. The ruling programmes put forward by the opposition Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L), Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the ruling National Liberals (PNL) feature several joint topics".
 
Thus, "the pension increase ranks top of all the programmes. After having firmly opposed the move, arguing there won't be sufficient funds, the Democrat Liberals want to win the battle for the votes of the elderly. The PD-L promises the highest pension by 2012, at 415 euros up from the current 141 euros. The National Liberals promise just 350 euros, while the Social Democrats speak of a monthly rise in pensions, in keeping with the inflation rate, but also promise to give a 13th pension a year.
 
However, it is not quite clear how such promises will be delivered", Evenimentul zilei comments. It adds that "the PD-L and PNL are in favour of keeping the current taxation system, namely the 16% flat tax that applies to all income brackets", with the flat tax having been introduced in early 2005 by the then ruling Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.
 
"How much does the financial crisis spoil Romania's plans to switch to the euro", reads a headline in the Business Standard economic daily. It says that "the global banking crisis, that has reached a new phase by the bankruptcy of Washington Mutual – the biggest U.S. savings bank – might put off the Romanian plans to switch to the euro by 2014, while it may also trigger the launch of the next eurobonds issue by the Romanian state, this year. The economic analysts, however, argue that switching to the euro depends on Romania's efforts only.
 
"I'm not backing one 100% the remarks made now about what would happen in 2014. It is possible that this crisis may influence the adoption of the euro, but if it keeps on then I think it is too early to say what would happen in six years. Switching to the euro in 2014 depends on us, and not on the present crisis", analyst Bogdan Baltazar told the Business Standard, amid remarks made by the Central Bank governor on Friday on the possible effects of the global crisis on Romania's adoption of the single currency.
 
"It is too early to see all the details of the financial crisis and the impact on Romania by 2014. The crisis potential is pretty big and it is likely that many of the elements shaping the global system at present change by then. I'm no foreteller, I cannot say", Central Bank governor Mugur Isarescu said on Friday.
 
"Turbulence surrounds the privatisation of Avioane Craiova", the Saptamana Financiara (Financial Weekly) announces. "The privatisation talks stumbled last week over the demands put forward by the Czech investors, which the Romanian state deems unacceptable. The Czechs' oldest aircraft maker AERO Vodochody has proved an adamant negotiator in the talks held with the representatives of the Romanian State Assets Realization Authority last week.
 
They deemed the Czech investors' demands unacceptable and called a meeting of the Board of Directors last Thursday in order to take a final decision, i.e. either to sell the Romanian aircraft maker or to resume the privatisation process. The Czech investors' plans to include Avioane Craiova into the biggest aircraft making holding company in Central and Eastern Europe might fail this week", the publication writes.
 
"Romania ranks last but one in the region by retail spending per capita", Ziarul financiar reports. "Romania, with a budget of 790 euros per capita assigned to retail spending, ranks last but one in the region ahead of Ukraine with 563 euros; it trails behind another six Central and Eastern Europe states, according to a Euromonitor survey using the figures made available in 2007".
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