Press review (Aug 31)

The Romanian dailies on Monday give main coverage to the second budget revision made by the government this year; opinions voiced by civil society representatives on this autumn’s presidential election and the developments in the Romanian economy;

Bucharest mayor’s plans to run for Romania’s top job; protests staged by the Bucharest judiciary; and Dinamo’s win over archrivals Steaua in a national First League match on Sunday.

The government revised the national budget for the second time this year, at the weekend. The changes come after the International Monetary Fund agreed with a rise in the budget deficit from 4.6 to 7.3 percent this year.

Following the revision, the budget revenues total 31.6 percent of GDP (157.2 billion lei), while overall expenditure accounts for 38.9 percent (193.7 billion lei) of a gross domestic product put at 497.3 billion lei, the Ziua reports.
The revision approved by the government on Saturday leaves the public sector workers with lower incomes.

Each ministry together with its staff will decide the ways to adjust the personnel spending, choosing from such measures as days off, reduced work hours or a temporary cut in salary, the Jurnalul National reports.

At the second budget revision this year, the government has cut the ministries’ personnel expenditure by 15 percent, but the unions do not agree with being forced to go on unpaid leave, the Evenimentul zilei adds.

The last months’ events reveal that the authority of all the state institutions is deteriorating fast and that a climate of confusion, vulgarity and violence is taking its grip of the entire Romanian society, former President Emil Constantinescu says in an open letter carried by the Cotidianul.

As the chances for such a situation to be resolved by the political class are getting slimmer, a response from the democratic-minded intellectuals and the entire civil society is urgently required, Constantinescu argues.

A good opportunity to do this is offered by the presidential election to be held in this autumn. This will be a double first in the political history of Romania.

It will be the first presidential election after Romania’s accession to the European Union and the first separate polls from the parliamentary elections after five elections that were held simultaneously.
As such, we would have expected the public debate to focus on the profile required from the head of a European state, the former president says.

Prominent Liberal Viorel Catarama decided to step into the limelight once again on Saturday in order to recommend his colleagues in the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) to ally either with the Democrat Liberals or with the Social Democrats ahead of the presidential polls due in this November. The Liberals could face extinction if they fail to forge such an alliance, Catarama argued.

However, PNL president Crin Antonescu communicated Catarama he will not give his party to incumbent President Traian Basescu on a silver platter. Catarama told Realitatea TV news channel that the Liberal leader is making a mistake by running for Romanian president, as he will win no more than 5 percent, the Ziua reports.

Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu is considering running for Romania’s top job as an independent, with a decision to be announced in the coming weeks, the Evenimentul zilei reports.

‘At this moment I am considering my candidacy for Cotroceni Palace very seriously, since I bet on all those who have been waiting to live in normalcy for years’, the Ziua quotes Oprescu as telling Realitatea TV news channel on Saturday.

Should he decide to run, Oprescu said he would count on the votes of the undecided Romanians, who now account for 61 percent of the voters, the Gandul writes.
After two months’ recess, the senators and deputies resume work on Tuesday in this year’s second ordinary session of Parliament.

The height of the session is going to be Prime Minister Emil Boc’s announced decision to take responsibility for several laws among which the measures to combat the economic crisis, the education law and the unitary salary law, the Adevarul reports.

The premier’s taking responsibility could result in a vote of no-confidence from the opposition meant to test the ruling coalition’s force in Parliament. The adoption of the civil and criminal procedure codes is another priority set by the parliamentarians in this session, the Cronica Romana reports.

The government is upping its offer in the last phase of the Old Car scrapping scheme that kicks off on Tuesday, as it hopes it could remove all 60,000 old cars from the market by Dec. 11.

Two phases of the Programme for the renewal of the motor fleet have been carried out so far, in which the Environment Fund Administration has managed to sell just a third of the 60,000 units, the Evenimentul zilei writes.

Thus, just 21,163 motorists scrapped their old car and purchased a new one, using the scrapping bonus of 3,800 lei (some 900 euros). Domestic brand Dacia sold the most units, 11,483, followed by Skoda, Ford, Hyunday, Opel and Chevrolet.

Although the government on Saturday decided to give the judiciary salaries as high as up until now, thus offering them ‘proper positioning’ in the unitary salary grid, the prosecutors and judges are not motivated to give up the protests they announced last week.

Thus, the Bucharest Court judges refuse to judge cases starting on Monday.
All the cases to be judged by the Romanian capital courts will be adjourned till next year and the archive personnel will stop working with the public, the Evenimentul zilei reports.

The president of the Romanian Magistrates Association speaks about the reasons that have brought justice to a standstill in an interview with the Cotidianul.

The judges, prosecutors and court clerks are dissatisfied with the salaries set by the government and they threaten to block the judicial system. They will begin protests on Monday over the new unitary salary law, which they say will see them go bankrupt, the Adevarul reports.

Dinamo Bucharest continue their magical moment. Having miraculously qualified in the Europa League groups, the red-and-white squad beat 1-0 archrivals Steaua Bucharest in an away match on Sunday, in the 5th leg of the national First League.

Both Bucharest sides are coached by Italians; while Dario Bonetti managed to better train his team for the Romanian derby, his Steaua counterpart Cristiano Bergodi was unable to react at the crucial moments of the game, the Ziua reports.

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