Press review (Sept 2)

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The Romanian daily papers on Wednesday give front-page coverage to the final form of the draft unitary salary law and the government plans to see it clear Parliament by taking responsibility for it; squabbling in the ruling coalition; the wish of the opposition National Liberals (PNL) and Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to topple the government; the unions’ discontent over the draft unitary salary law; and the 17th edition of the Golden Stag pop music festival in Brasov starting today.

The government, at its weekly meeting on Wednesday, will make a decision to assume responsibility before Parliament for three laws, the final form of which it is to unveil in the legislative body, the Cotidianul reports.

The executive will assume responsibility on a legal package including the restructuring of the governmental agencies, the public spending rationing, the support for the business climate and moves to meet the agreement with the IMF and the European Commission as well as the education law and the single salary law in the public sector.

The package of laws that the Emil Boc government plans to take responsibility for also includes a law ultimately confirming previous legislation – the so-called Voiculescu law – that banned the return in kind of the land to their former owners.

The law called after its initiator, senior Conservative leader Dan Voiculescu, was challenged both by the Democratic Liberal Party and by President Traian Basescu in 2008.

The government will promote legislation allowing the sale to the local authorities of the lands on which residential buildings owned by citizens stand, the Cotidianul reports. Thus, the citizens have found they own the building only, not the relevant land too, the daily adds.

The Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) calls on Social Democrat (PSD) presidential hopeful Mircea Geoana to show responsibility and resign as the Senate speaker, so as not to use the public resources in his campaign for the presidential elections due in November.

The Democrat Liberals, who together with the PSD make up the ruling coalition, remind Geoana that the presidential candidates of the National Liberal Party (PNL) and Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) resigned their positions in Parliament, the Jurnalul National reports.

The Institute of Public Policies calls on Senate Speaker Geoana to go on unpaid leave during the electoral campaign or to step down from the position, arguing that a leading job in a public institution cannot be carried out as long as the political projects take priority, the Ziua writes.

PNL president Crin Antonescu said on Tuesday the Liberals will discuss with the UDMR in the days ahead the possibility that Marko Bela’s party back a no-confidence vote in the government.

Although the Hungarian Democratic Union (UDMR) did not jump into the proposal, Antonescu insisted that the Emil Boc government is addressing ‘too much serious matters’ as if propagandizing, by taking responsibility ‘for all possible laws’, the Evenimentul zilei writes.

Tourism Minister Elena Udrea came to the hearings of the parliamentary commission set up to investigate accusations that she misspent ministry money not to answer the questions, but to offer a fresh sample of nerve. In a repeat of her first visit to the commission, Udrea came, accused the commission members of incompatibility, abuse of position, ill-meaning and illegality and then she left.

Free circus offered by Udrea, who again mistook Romanian Parliament for the arena, the Jurnalul National says. The tourism minister could be prosecuted for breaking the ministerial responsibility law.

The proposal is to be discussed by the members of the inquiry commission, who accuse Udrea of failing to send them all the documents they required, adds the Evenimentul zilei.

Cutting prices for the construction materials and cutting the labour pay has allowed the real estate developers to reduce the new housing prices by some 17 percent.

As a result, the owners of old apartments were forced to cut the price by around 23 percent. The housing price rises seen in July were a temporary development, a result of the First House programme kick-start, the Jurnalul National reports.

However, Romania remains in a paradoxical situation: while more than 80 percent of the citizens own a house, the housing demand remains high, the daily adds.

The Romanian economists refuse to discourage and issue fresh optimistic projections, despite President Traian Basescu’s recent disappointment. According to their latest estimation, the Romanian economy will begin to show signs of a recovery in the fourth quarter.

Basescu said at the end of last week that he would no longer listen to the analysts’ predictions and that the country’s economy could begin bottoming out of the recession no earlier than in 2010.

The economic analysts say the gross domestic product (GDP) will either stall or record modest growth in the last quarter of this year, in seasonal adjusted figures, from the prior quarter, the Ziua reports.

The big real estate investors have seen their wealth dwindling after the land prices plunged across Romania. In the first half-year, the land prices fell an average 26 percent on the end of last year, with such a drop peaking in eastern Iasi at 40 percent, shows an analysis of Darian evaluation company.

The price drops hit Bucharest and the big cities, where the big investors had bought large areas of land for low prices in the last years, the Gandul reports.

The last consultations on the unitary salary law failed to reconcile the unions and the government. The prosecutors and judges are the most discontent and so are the teachers with the salary they are going to get. The only ones who say they have no objections over the act provisions are the health care trade unions, the Ziua announces.

The 17th edition of the Golden Stag pop music festival beings in Brasov (central Romania) late on Wednesday with an Evergreen Evening – the first of a series of six theme evenings, among which the Pop Evening and the Rock Evening, the Evenimentul zilei reports.

The Romanian artists to sing evergreens will be Luminita Anghel and Aura Urziceanu, who will perform Tina Turner’s hits such as ‘The Best’ and ‘Proud Mary’, Marcel Pavel, who will sing Tom Jones famous songs, and Gabriel Cotabita to sing Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’, the Gandul reports.

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