Press review (Jan 9)

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The Romanian daily papers on Friday carry reports on President Traian Basescu's participation in the meeting of the Upper Council of Magistrates reviewing the 2008 results, the support that the National Bank of Romania will render the Government's policies, fresh information released by the authorities with respect to the natural gas issue, four Romanian families having managed to leave the Gaza Strip and the Romanian state's proposal to issue 10,000 work permits for foreigners.
 
President Traian Basescu slammed the prosecutors and judges over failure to drop the European Commission's monitoring on justice, but also over the judiciary's insistence to add their salary to the pension and to get pay rises by court rulings, the Romania libera reports. "We do not manage to mobilize the system and avoid a range of risks to Romania. It is unacceptable! Unacceptable!", a disappointed Basescu said.
 
The Romanian leader chaired a meeting of the Upper Council of Magistrates on Thursday that reviewed the body's 2008 results and elected its new leadership.
Basescu told the Council members that this year's major goals include lifting the monitoring of the Romanian justice sector and the enforcement of four codes – criminal, civil and the related procedure codes. He announced the four codes must be adopted by the Government's taking responsibility by June, when the new Parliament ends its first session.
 
"The National Bank of Romania (BNR) will support the Government's policies that seek to back up a minimal economic growth in 2008, on condition that the economic growth be not affected and inflation do not surge again", the Financiarul writes in an article headlined "The central bank supports the policies of the Emil Boc Government on certain conditions".
 
The prime minister met BNR governor Mugur Isarescu on Thursday to discuss the macroeconomic projections and the 2009 draft budget. Isarescu explained that the current global crisis makes the adjustment of the current account deficit unavoidable and that the measures to be taken should take into account that such adjustment should be made without affecting the economic growth too much, without pushing the inflation up again or making the living standards plunge.
 
Boc said that in the talks with Isarescu he had underscored that the Executive's priorities this year are to create new jobs, back up the business climate, absorb the European Union funds, ensure massive public investment in infrastructure as an alternate method of creating jobs, avoid slippages or deeper social differences. The talks also focused on common issues related to the correlation of the budget-fiscal policies with the money policies, with the meeting being also attended by Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea.
 
The prime minister asked for the BNR governor's support to set up a Consultative Economic Council, the Financiarul reports.
 
The Romania libera announces that four Romanian families (20 persons) were evacuated from the Gaza strip on Thursday via Erez checkpoint as part of a broader action meant to evacuate some 250 foreign nationals and Palestinians with dual citizenship, with the action being organised with the support of the International Red Cross Committee and with the Israeli authorities' approval.
 
The Ziua quotes the Romanian Foreign Ministry as saying that 69 Romanian citizens, among whom 23 adults and 46 children and 12 Palestinian citizens had voiced wish to be backed by the Romanian Embassy in Tel Aviv to leave the conflict area.
 
"The state proposes 10,000 work permits for the foreign nationals", the Business Standard reports. The number of the non-EU job-seekers allowed to get a job in Romania this year might stand at 10,000, according to a draft governmental resolution put forward by Labour Minister Marian Sarbu.
 
The authorities explain the decision was made by taking into account "the predictions referring the current financial crisis that affects Romania too, and the predictions referring the economic crisis in Italy and Spain, which are states where there is a very high number of Romanian immigrants"; also taken into account was the Romanian labour shortage standing at nearly 50,000 persons.
 
The Romanian natural gas consumption is fully covered from the domestic production and from the stocks in the storage facilities; the heating plants that use alternate fuels, after Russia cut-off all gas supplies, are running normally, the Business Standard quotes the Economy Ministry as announcing on Thursday. Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu said on Thursday there will be no problems related to fuel supply, with the stock being enough for up to 60 days; there will be no energy tariff hikes in Bucharest, he added.
 
"Dacia halves its vehicle output in 2009", headlines the Business Standard; it reports that Romanian carmaker Automobile Dacia will cut its production this year to 200,000 vehicles down from 400,000 as projected for 2009, as a result of the steep decline in sales in the last months, leader of the National Trade Union Bloc Dumitru Costin told the daily.
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