Press review (May 13)

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The Romanian daily papers on Wednesday give main coverage to the planned legislation on pensions based on the same requirements for all the employees; the political offer made by the main parties barely a month ahead of the elections for the European Parliament and half a year to go till the Romanian presidential polls; developments seen by the Bucharest Stock Exchange lately; and the 100th anniversary of the Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF).

The Government has begun drawing up the principles of the draft law on a single public pension system ‘to be applicable to everybody, be they magistrates, spies, diplomats or ordinary workers’, the Gandul reports, and it invites the public to ‘correctly read’ the planned legislation:

‘The Government must work for the billions of euros it gets from the IMF, more precisely it must put forward such a law or it stands no chance of seeing the second instalment of the loan.

Why is that? Absolutely all international financial institutions – the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union – have noticed the huge hole driven in the state budget by our parallel pension systems’, the daily comments.

‘Those bankers, since they gives us the money, don’t want to put it into a broken bucket.

Our pension system has been distorted to such a great extent that we no longer know, in Romania, what a pension really is.

Theoretically, the pension represents the money the state gives one back after it managed the contributions one paid during a lifetime’s work.

Actually, however, the pension has nothing to do with such contributions for hundreds of thousands of persons’, the Gandul writes.

All social brackets will have to contribute to the public pension system from 2010, and this includes nearly 350,000 persons who work in areas that have special pensions.

There are currently nearly 4.9 million persons employed in the public and private sector who contribute to the public pension system, the Bucharest-based dailies quote state counsellor for labour and social protection Mihail Seitan as saying.

All persons will contribute to the system of pensions that will be calculated on the basis of their contribution; there might also be a parallel occupational pension system by which each group of professionals will have their own system for getting a pension, the Azi says by explaining the governmental decisions on this issue.

‘What political colour will Romania have – red or orange?’ the Cotidianul asks. ‘In the red corner, the warring group of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) is led by Mircea Geoana who, in line with the party’s strategy, must launch daily attacks on President Traian Basescu’.

‘The advisors hired by the PSD explained Geoana that he needs to take an anti-Basescu stand and he needs a longer campaign if he wants to be perceived as a presidential hopeful by the electorate; therefore, he must take advantage of the race for the European Parliament elections too’, the Cotidianul says.

‘In the orange corner, the strategy of the Democrat Liberal Party (PD-L) says the party must block Geoana’s attacks on Basescu, therefore the Democrat Liberal leaders try to place themselves between the PSD leader and the head of state and to launch their own attack on the Social Democrats. The Democrat Liberals seek to play down Geoana as a presidential contestant and target the entire PSD by their attacks’, the daily comments.

The economic crisis in Romania is going to hit the multinational companies’ employees too, with 62 percent of them fearing they will lose their job, while 51 percent expect their salary to drop; 58 percent of such employees believe their spending power will be affected, the Jurnalul National reports.

As much as 41 percent of the Romanians working in multinational companies are already directly hit by the economic crisis, shows a survey on the Behaviour of the Employees in the Multinational Companies in Romania conducted by PES Activists Romania.

The survey also shows 52 percent of the Romanians are not afraid of the effects of the economic crisis, while 7 percent do not know yet what effects it is going to have on them.

ALRO aluminium maker based in Slatina (southern Romania) has cut production and it is shedding jobs, the Ziua announces. However, the company re-sells the electricity it has available at a profit, since ALRO has the possibility to buy cheap electricity and sell it for a higher price, the Ziua reports.

The bankers are optimistic and the IMF predicts growth in 2010, the Evenimentul zile i reports. However, the current figures show Europe is still badly hit. The global economy is getting ready to turn a leaf, however it is merely in terms of projections.

The actual figures still look pretty bad, with drops in all sectors, but with clear signals of a recovery, according to the European bankers.

The regional economic spring projection for Europe this year made public by the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday shows that the European economies will recover next year, after seeing steep decline in 2009. ‘Have we passed the crisis peak?’ the daily asks.

The Romanian print media comments the figures released by the National Institute of Statistics that show the annual inflation rate dropped to 6.45 percent in April from 6.71 percent in March, amid lower tariffs for services and the stagnation of the foodstuff prices, that made up for the higher prices for non-foodstuffs.

A consortium made up of French group Vinci – the world’s biggest constructor – and Greece’s Aktor won a tender for the biggest motorway concession contract, namely the 58-km long Comarnic – Brasov stretch, with the project being put at more than 1.5 billion euros, the Ziarul financiar quotes market sources as saying.

More than 100 percent increases offered by the Bucharest Stock Exchange in the last two months have attracted the increased interest of the small local investors, who made acquisitions of nearly 80 million euros in April, i.e. double on March and five times higher than in February.

For the first time in four years, the acquisitions made by the personal local investors accounted for 62 percent of the transfers on the Stock Exchange, but sales also stood at a close value, the Romanian economic dailies report.

Artists, laser games, gifts and a dinner and other ceremonies at the Palace of Parliament – all this was offered by Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF) president Mircea Sandu to the more than 600 guests invited to celebrate the FRF’s 100th anniversary, the Jurnalul National reports.

UEFA president Michel Platini and former head of the European soccer body Lennart Johansson were among the guests, the papers report.

Romania’s representative at Eurovision 2009 Song Contest, Elena Gheorghe qualified on Tuesday for the competition’s finals due on Saturday at Olympiysky Arena in Moscow.

Elena competed in the first semi-finals with the artists from another 17 European countries. The second semi-finals will be held on Thursday, the Bucharest-based dailies report.

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