Press review (May 26)

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The Romanian dailies on Tuesday give main coverage to President Traian Basescu’s meeting with the parliamentarians of the Democrat Liberal Party (PD-L, a ruling coalition partner), attempts to settle certain disagreements inside the ruling coalition of Democrat Liberals and Social Democrats, the restructuring of the energy sector, redundancies made by the Romanian Railways and predictions made by World Bank president Robert Zoellick with respect to the development of the crisis in Romania.

Basescu announces he will make the best decision with respect to his running for a fresh president’s term, the newspapers write. The Democrat Liberal parliamentarians called President Traian Basescu to a meeting to ask him whether he will seek a fresh term, but they only got advice on the law-making programme instead, the Jurnalul National says.

The Romanian leader insisted that his possible candidacy will be announced ‘at the right time’ and that he will make ‘the best decision’; he stressed he prefers to focus on combating the crisis effects, for now, the Gandul reports.

After an increasing number of Democrat Liberal leaders last week tried to twist Basescu’s hand and they announced he would run for a new term, Monday’s meeting was meant to make the president announce his plans to seek a fresh presidential term under the PD-L banner, the Gardianul writes.

The ruling coalition has some ‘small problems’, the Bucharest-based dailies write. The protracted talks on the appointment of the heads of the decentralised institutions keep on pestering the leaders of ruling coalition of Democrat Liberals (PD-L) and Social Democrats (PSD); this is the reason why they will hold several meetings this week, in an effort to find a solution to the problems across the country, the Ziua reports.

While the leader of the PSD Bucharest branch Marian Vanghelie announced after a joint meeting of the two parties on Monday that the PSD and PD-L leaders would gather again on Tuesday in order to settle ‘several small problems’, Democrat Liberal head Emil Boc, vice-Premier Dan Nica and PD-L vice-president Gheorghe Flutur had already met later on Monday in an attempt to find a solution to the problems that the two ruling partners face in the Romanian counties.

The Jurnalul National reports that the ruling coalition leaders will meet today in order to settle their disagreements over the appointment of the heads of the decentralised institutions.
The Government has laid the groundwork for the restructuring of the energy sector, Tuesday’s print media reports.

‘The energy producers are grouped into two companies’, headlines the Evenimentul zilei. The electricity producers will be grouped into two big companies to each include a mining company, namely Oltenia-based Lignite National Company and Petrosani-based Coal National Company.

Ruling coalition sources told the Evenimentul zilei that one of the companies will be made up of three energy-producing compounds based in Rovinari, Turceni and Craiova (southern Romania), Oltenia Lignite Company, a small part of Hidroelectrica and the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant.
The second company will group several heating plants, among which the ones from Paroseni and Deva, the Coal National Company from Petrosani and the largest part of Hidroelectrica, including Portile-de-Fier (Iron Gates) hydroelectric plant in southwestern Romania, on the Danube River.

The Ziua quotes vice-Premier Dan Nica as saying the ruling coalition leaders at their meeting on Monday decided that the energy strategy be put forward to debates, so as to make a final decision in June.

The strategy targets the setting up of several companies to include power plants such as hydroelectric, coal-fuelled, gas-fuelled and nuclear power plants, the daily reports in an item headlined ‘The energy strategy has several versions’.

The Romanians no longer rush into borrowing, the Romania libera says in an article headlined ‘More expensive lending hits the banks and deepens the downturn’.

The National Bank of Romania’s aggressive repelling of the attack on the national leu currency in October, coupled with the higher credit rating of Romania and the curbed money flows from the parent banks to the local subsidiaries resulted in a significant rise in the lending interests, which in turn deepened the contraction of the economy and hit the profitability of the banks in the first quarter.
The ING economists expect the recession to deepen in the next quarters down to minus 7 percent also due to the fact that the banks are not eager to extend cheaper loans, the Romania libera says.

The Romanian Railways (CFR) massively shed jobs, the national papers report, adding that about 3,700 railway system staff could be laid off in the coming period, according to an announcement made by Transport Minister Radu Berceanu after a meeting with the trade unions. T

he employees to be made redundant are close to being pensioned off, and therefore they are going to benefit from a monthly pension, ‘thus avoiding a situation in which people might have been sacked without any severance pay’, trade union leader Gheorghe Popa is quoted by the Evenimentul zilei as saying.
Popa announced 920 staff from the CFR Passenger Transport Division will be laid off, as well as 1,300 from CFR Freight Division and 1,500 from the Infrastructure Division, the Ziua reports in an article headlined ‘The CFR peace’.

Higher education is getting more and more expensive, the Adevarul notes in an item called ‘The college education fees are going up’. It argues that the public higher education ‘is becoming luxury’.

The candidates will have to pay higher tuition fees starting in autumn. The students who learn in the state universities by paying a fee do not cover the tuition costs by such fees, shows a survey conducted by the Education Ministry and the World Bank.

The World Bank senses a serious crisis in Romania, the Bucharest-based dailies report. World Bank president Robert Zoellick has included Romania among the states currently ‘in a delicate situation’.

He believes the number of the Romanian unemployed will rise and he does not rule out an unfavourable development of the crisis yet, similar to the 1930s. ‘A serious human and social crisis, with very important political implications’, such might be the next phase of the current global economic depression, according to Zoellick.
He expressly cites Romania as being in a ‘delicate situation’, the Gandul reports. In an interview with Spanish daily El Pais, the World Bank head warns that although the capital markets have recovered to a certain degree, ‘the use of the production capacity continues to be very, very low’, the Gandul says in an article headlined ‘The World Bank head predicts serious social crisis’ in Romania’.
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