Press review (Jan 15)

The dailies that appeared on Thursday present the recent developments on the political stage as well as a number of analyses, comments and information of an economic and financial nature, the main subjects being the proposals made by bankers to relax the mortgage credit, the landmarks of the budget for 2009, the prospects of the labour market, the increase in the capital of Ford Romania.
In its final report published on Wednesday, the Presidential Commission for Analysis of Political and Constitutional Regime in Romania suggests that "the institution of the Head of State being removed from office should be eliminated."
In the opinion of the above-mentioned presidential commission the current constitutional provisions referring to the suspension of the Head of State "create the double prerequisite for a constitutional blockage and for a tension between the referendum vote and the modern idea of representation," reads newspaper Cotidianul in the article titled "Traian Basescu Has Ordered a New Republic for Himself."
The same subject is dealt with by daily Ziua in "Traian's Republic," which says that the proposals of the commission are to be subject to debate by the political class and the civil society.
The first opinions coming from the civil society referring to the report of the Presidential Commission for Analysis of Political and Constitutional Regime in Romania are recorded by daily Adevarul. Thus, the Institute for Public Policies said that the step concerning the dissolving of Parliament by the President can be a "dangerous weapon" in the hands of a head of state. The representatives of the Centre of Legal Resources (CJR) took the same stand.
"I too think that the Constitution must be changed, but it must be changed very carefully for us not to come to a worse situation than the current one," said Georgiana Iorgulescu, CJR executive manager. The ProDemocratia Association confined itself to criticizing the introduction of the one-chamber regime, reads the newspaper mentioned before.
In the leading article titled "He Who Changes the Constitution Falls into Its Trap," which was published by daily Romania libera, Sabina Fati said that "in a country where changes are only made by force and modernization was carried out under the western scourge, it is hard to believe that Basescu will be able to start the engines by himself.
The President especially wants a clear semi-presidential republic, by which he should possibly benefit during his second term in office or, in other words, to have at hand the so-called mechanisms meant to solve conflicts, which might make it possible for him, for instance, to dissolve Parliament and start early elections.
Traian Basescu himself went through the dilemmas, the unclear things and confusions of the Romanian Constitution. His being suspended from office, which was carried out by Parliament in keeping with the law, was only one of the most thrilling adventures offered by the Constitution. But the same Constitution offered criminal politicians the bad weather umbrella."

"Hardly have 30 days passed since the Government was installed that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) have well gone through the first major conflict and a ministry staffed with about 120,000 employees has been left without its minister," writes Mircea Marian in his editorial published by daily Evenimentul zilei.
"I do not want to be absurd and wait for Minister Pogea to finish the draft budget for 2009 in seven days and in the meantime to prepare an anti-crisis programme too. But it is clear that the drawing up of the budget is hindered by the disputes in connection with the appointment of the future officials. Now too there are main credit release authorities, besides the Ministry of the Interior, that have nobody to run them.
Moreover, besides the conflicts that have become public, PSD and PD-L have serious misunderstandings in connection with the sums to be allocated for the salaries of the teaching staff or for pensions," also reads the above-mentioned leading article.
Bankers and bank credit applicants on Thursday expect the decision of the board of the National Bank of Romania on the possibility of a higher indebtedness degree for mortgage credits. According to newspaper Cotidianul, real estate analysts are skeptical about a possible invigoration of the market by means of such a step.
On the other hand they think that a relaxation of the credit might lead to an increase in the number of transactions but even if such a thing occurs, there will be no more soaring prices charged by the real estate business.
"The beginning of the year on the labour market in Romania shows rather gloomy prospects: the unemployment rate is on the increase, companies dismiss their employees or put them on short-time working for a stated period of time, a measure that is sometimes marked by the employees "needing" to have a holiday," reads Financiarul daily.
According to the above-mentioned newspaper, the data supplied by the National Employment Agency (ANOFM) say that, in the first weeks of January, 5,589 jobs were vacant nationwide, down by 50 percent as against the week before Christmas, the ANOFM representatives saying that "they are the least numerous jobs offered in 20 years."
On the other hand, reads the newspaper mentioned before, numerous people are being employed in retail trade, IT or FMCG.
The number of local companies that turned insolvent or unable to pay their debts grew last year to 14,483, up by 74.5 percent as against the same span of time last year, when their number amounted to 8,297, informs daily Romania libera.
"It is one more proof of the crisis we are already in and which will turn even worse," says Matei Paun, BAC Investment partner.
At the same time the economic analyst appreciates that the tendency making the number of bankruptcies grow will stay the same for at least one year "if not for two."
The Minister of Finance builds his draft budget for 2009 on a new macro-economic prediction: 2.5 percent increase in the GDP, 2.5 percent budget deficit, 1,690 lei (about 422 euros) as gross average salary, reads Cotidianul newspaper.
According to the newspaper mentioned above, the prediction referring to the main macro-economic indicators on the basis of which the draft budget is drawn up has changed four times so far. The only indicator that did not change is the exchange rate, which stood at 4 lei/euro.
The capital of Ford Romania grew by more than 25 times, from less than 10 million euros to almost 250 million euros and the money, which is necessary for going on with the investment plan for the car-making factory in Craiova (southern Romania), will be available in the account within five days at most, informs Financiarul daily.
Quoting the Ford Romania representatives, the newspaper mentioned before says that the company in question sticks to its pledges in connection with the Craiova-based factory, which mention a 675 million euro investment for changing the plant into a last generation car-making centre.
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