Press review (Aug 10)

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Romania’s national dailies of Monday give main coverage to how the uniform pay law in the public sector and the pension law will pass; the ruling coalition split over education, the prospects for lay-offs in the public sector and the earmarking of aids for agriculture; the start of the Anonimul International Independent Film Festival.

Curentul remarks that boosted by the crisis and the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister Emil Boc announced again that the uniform pay law for the public sector and the pension law will pass by Government assuming political responsibility for them before Parliament, so that, in Boc’s word, he may see whether or not there is political will in the ruling coalition and parliamentary backing for these reforms that ‘no government so far has had the courage to tackle.’

The paper also notes that Boc’s moment of courage is poorly timed, because the deadlines for the passage of the two laws, October and November, respectively, are right in the midst of the campaign for the presidential election.

The paper remarks that the one in charge with airing the tough messages of the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L), in the ruling coalition, Vasile Blaga warned PD-L’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), that the Government will collapse this September unless PSD accepts the restructuring of the state apparatus, the education law, the uniform pay law and the pension law.

Previously, Boc said that assuming responsibility for these reforms, ‘which no Government in Romania has had the courage to carry out in the past two decades,’ will be a real test for the ruling coalition.

Adevarul notes that PSD, sticking to its guns, accused the PD-L of not intending to assume the Government’s responsibility for the education law, the uniform pay law and the pension law, claiming that they are only after ‘systematic harassment of the coalition partners and looking for new reasons for squabbling.’
Ziua remarks that PD-L is forcing PSD into choosing between carrying out reforms and leaving the coalition.

Adevarul says this is the stormiest month for PM Boc. Gardianul says that PD-L’s strategy is to get rid of PSD at the hands of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL), and Evenimentul zilei quotes Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Minister Nita as claiming PD-L is looking for new pretexts for squabbling.

Evenimentul zilei notes that the Ridzi, Udrea and Berceanu scandals, the hesitation of President Traian Basescu to announce whether or not he will seek re-election or whether Prime Minister Boc will run in his stead are all parts of Basescu’s strategy of silencing his opponents and winning the unconditional support of the PD-L.

Even PD-L members are at a loss when it comes to understanding the communication strategies of the President.
The paper quotes political analysts Cristian Parvulescu as saying PD-L is suffering from ‘political obesity,’ that has an unhealthy effect on mobilising the party.

‘Will people mobilise for Traian Basescu? Only if his disappearance from the presidential office would be fatal to them. This is how we might better understand his game.

He delays saying yes so that he may scare them so as to offer him unconditional support for his candidature. In this case, if Basecsu runs and loses, PD-L will have a problem, but a smaller one than if Basescu does not run.

If he withdraws, something quite unlikely, than the party loses and the entire power structure will come down crashing,’ says Parvulescu.
The number of people considering joining the race for President could be smaller this year than in the previous election.

The reason for discouragement relates to the intention of the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) to ask each presidential candidate to produce a pledge of 2,000 minimum wages upon registering for the race.

Under a draft version of the presidential election law, currently under consideration, any candidate will have to pay RON 1.2 million, that is 300,000 euros upon registration, Evenimentul zilei reports.

Curentul quotes sources with the Government as saying the Government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the laying off of 100,000-150,000 public employees by mid-2010, freezing pensions, with the exception of minimum social pensions and the pay to public employees until the new uniform pay law for the public sector has generated its first effects.

It says the IMF is expected today to announce the findings of its recent reviewing mission to Romania
Cotidianul quotes sources with the Government as saying the Government will send all public employees on an unpaid vacation this autumn to economise on funds.

Gandul notes that the ‘grand redundancy’ will follow as the IMF money suffices for barely one month, and the Government suggests that Romania should keep on borrowing.
Cotidianul mentions that a PSD analysis indicates that the lay-off of 300,000 public employees will directly affect more than one million people.

The papers inform that the Government approved 420 million euros in loans from the Treasury to pre-finance agricultural programmes and RON 600 million more in aids for autumn crops, quoting Prime Minister Boc to the point after an extraordinary meeting of the Government held on Saturday.

Boc also said that the funds earmarked in loans will be recovered from the funds to be earmarked by the European Commission, the same as the Government did this spring.

Ziarul financiar carries recent data released by the National Companies Registry Office (ONRC) indicating that retailers, banks and consumer credit institutions were the recipients of the highest capital injections this June.

The same data show that the capital contributions of foreign groups to their local subsidiaries stood at 221.5 million euros this June, up from 140 million euros in May.

Adevarul reports that the 6th edition of the Anonimul International Independent Film Festival is staring today at Sfantu-Gehorghe. Opening the festival will be the screening of Pedro Almadovar’s ‘Los Abratos Rotos,’ (Broken Embraces) starring Penelope Cruze in the lead.

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