Press review (May 15)

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The Romanian dailies on Friday give main coverage to the launch of Social Democrat chairman Mircea Geoana’s candidacy for president and the introduction of the party’s candidates for the Euro-parliamentary elections; the results of a survey commissioned by Transparency International Romania; remarks made by National Bank of Romania’s governor Mugur Isarescu on Thursday; and protests staged by the National Trade Union Bloc in Bucharest on Thursday.

The Social Democrat Party (PSD) on Thursday launched party leader Mircea Geoana in the race for the presidential elections due by year-end, the Cotidianul reports. The event was part of the introduction of the PSD candidates for the European Parliament elections. It was Geoana, however, who took centre stage at the event held in Bucharest, the daily adds.

The extended National Council of the Alliance of Social Democrats and Conservatives late on Thursday approved Geoana’s candidacy for this autumn’s presidential polls and it presented the alliance candidates for the elections for the European Parliament due on June 7, the Jurnalul National reports.

Once the PSD leader announced he would run for the Romanian top job, calculations on his successor have begun being made, the national papers write.

‘No matter what the result of the elections, the Social Democrats could have a new president’, the Evenimentul zilei writes, while the Jurnalul National stresses that the only party member who has unveiled his clear intention to replace Geoana, if he wins the presidential balloting, is former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase.

The Bucharest-based papers report that German parliamentarian Guenther Krichbaum cautioned that Romania must speed up the reforms until the progress report is drawn up.

The Bundestag, in an unanimous vote, has recently approved a resolution asking the European Commission to block the funds for Romania over delayed justice reforms and over the problems in the fight against corruption.

‘We perceive this report as a signal of force, a signal for Romania to wake up until the drawing up of the country report and find again the pace of the reforms it had before the accession’, the Romanian newspapers quote Krichbaum as saying.

More than 80 percent of the Romanians believe the citizens should be consulted before important laws are drafted and passed, shows a survey commissioned by Transparency International Romania that was conducted as part of the campaign called ‘Stop the Codes!’, the Jurnalul National reports.

The Romanians want to be consulted by the authorities not only on the content of the fundamental draft laws, such as the Justice Codes, but also when the authorities decide to amend such acts, the Evenimentul zilei points out.

‘The dilemma of either assuming responsibility or approving the Penal and Civil Codes by the routine procedure stirs disagreement in the ruling coalition of Democrat Liberals and Social Democrats and divides the Social Democrats. Against such background, the civil society tries to force a public debate’, the Romania libera adds on the same topic.

Friday’s print media carries remarks by National Bank of Romania governor Mugur Isarescu, who said Romania fared well in the first three months of the year and its economy responded to the financial crisis ‘very well’. With respect to the inflation rate, Isarescu believes that the peak was reached and passed in the first quarter, the papers add.

Given that the Romanian economy is going to see a time of ‘major readjustments’, the employers and the bankers will have to settle themselves for lower, more ‘reasonable’ profit and to promote work and productivity, the Gandul quotes Isarescu as saying.

The central bank governor explained that the adjustment of the imbalances in the economy, of the current account deficit mostly, has so far been made by means of the exchange rate as well.

He added, however, that the National Bank didn’t let the national leu currency depreciate too much. Isarescu said yesterday that the Romanian economy is dependent on the foreign capital inflows and since such inflows will no longer see the 2008 levels, the financing gap will be covered by the funds included in the arrangement closed with the IMF, the European Union and the other international financial institutions, the Business Standard reports.

The national dailies quote Isarescu as saying that certain information in the memorandum defining the conditions of the loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund will remain off limits to the public at large. ‘Secretive agreement with the IMF’, headlines the Ziarul financiar. Romania’s foreign loan of nearly 20 billion euros is pledged by the entire country.

Nevertheless, not all Romanians will know exactly what the conditions of the agreement signed by Romania with the IM F, the European Commission and other institutions are.

National Bank governor Isarescu said certain parts of the agreement closed by Romania with the IMF will not be made public so as not to distort the market.

Friday’s dailies also give extensive coverage to how the Romanian public sector staff’s wages will look like in the coming years.

The highest wages in the public sector will be paid to the Romanian president, the president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice and the speakers of the two houses of the Parliament, the Evenimentul zilei reports; it quotes a statement made by State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family Affairs and Social Protection Valentin Mocanu.

In the next years, the highest of those three wages will freeze, with the other two to reach the same level, the daily says in an item headlined ‘The head of state has the highest public sector wage’.

‘The incomes of the three state powers top the public sector staff’s pay’, adds the Cotidianul.

‘Down with the government! Down with Basescu! – such were the deeply-felt messages sent by the trade unionists to the country’s leaders that were chanted in central Bucharest by more than 7,000 trade unionists on Thursday.

The members of the National Trade Union Bloc (BNS), being angry with the ones who should find solutions to the crisis, want responsible politicians, who should give solutions to the economic crisis’, the Jurnalul National writes.

Some 8,000 BNS trade unionists marched in protest in the capital on Thursday, demanding that jobs be kept and that there were reasonable prices for the basic products and services, the Ziua reports.

‘Thousands of trade unionists are fed up with lies and incompetence’, adds the Cronica Romana.

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