Press review (Sept 15)

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President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Emil Boc will address Parliament on Tuesday; the ruling coalition faces bleak prospects; the justice minister makes statements with respect to the protests staged by the prosecutors and judges;

the unemployment has climbed to worrying levels; the developments seen by the national leu currency in the last week; and a surge in robberies – these are the main topics covered by the Romanian newspapers on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Emil Boc goes before Parliament on Tuesday to take responsibility for three key pieces of legislation and President Traian Basescu will also address the Romanian legislature later in the day, the Jurnalul National reports.

The government will go before the joint sitting of Parliament to call a confidence vote on the education law, the law on the restructuring of governmental agencies and the unitary public wage law.

The opposition Liberals have already started to assert an independent position, by having announced they will not be present in Parliament for the confidence vote.

The government’s haste to take responsibility for three key pieces of legislation on the same day – a law-making first – is also contested by the Social Democratic Party (PSD, a ruling coalition partner), with Senator Toni Grebla calling on the prime minister to address separate sittings of the legislature for each separate law, the Ziua reports.

Two days ahead of the vote of confidence, the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) is putting pressure on its ruling partners – the Social Democrats – by threatening them to break the coalition ‘piece by piece’, the Jurnalul National writes.

‘The Democratic Liberals have announced they would discuss at a meeting of the party’s leadership today the issue of breaking up the coalition, based on the decisions made by the party local branches’, the daily adds.

‘The PSD and PD-L divorce each other in the local councils across Romania – the ruling coalition exists theoretically only’, the Gandul says. The Bucharest-based dailies carry other headlines on this topic: ‘The PSD is under pressure’ (Jurnalul National); ‘The Democrat Liberals lay the groundwork for a government without the Social Democrats.

The PSD responds by courting the Liberals’ (Gandul); (PSD leader) Mircea Geoana says the President (Traian Basescu) is the father of the coalition break-up strategy’ (Gardianul); ‘The syndrome of the ‘non-existing protocol’ gets to the Democratic Liberal party branches’ (Romania libera).

The government does not give in to the pressure put by the prosecutors and judges, the national print media reports. The dailies quote a message sent by Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu to the judiciary on Monday, telling them the executive will not give in to the magistrates’ pressures more than it has already.

At a video conference attended by the court chiefs from all over Romania, the minister reassured the prosecutors and judges that their incomes will not drop following the adoption of the unitary public wage law.

Moreover, he announced that part of the amendments the parliamentarians had tabled for them would be included in the new act. ‘Therefore, such protests are no longer justified’, Predoiu said.

Romania fully feels the economic crisis, Tuesday’s papers say. ‘Hundreds of thousands of unemployed, crisis decisions, a national hysteria, queuing at the job exchange.

Over the last year, the Romanian job market has felt the recession from all sides – bankruptcies, redundancies, dropped private sector wages, the inability to make any kind of predictions’, the Jurnalul National writes.

The number of Romanian unemployed increased by more than 200,000 in a year, with the official statistics showing that the anticipated 800,000 joblessness this year is increasingly credible.

Tens of thousands of redundancies are still expected in the private sector, while the start of 2010 is going to see 150,000 jobs laid off in the public sector by a decision of the government.

Romania could thus have around one million unemployed, the paper adds.
The Evenimentul zilei reports that the real estate developers attending the second edition of the First House Fair put forward peculiar ideas to attract the clients at times of credit crunch.

They offer the clients to test the flats over the weekend, they offer luxury for 600 euros a square metre and single-room flats for 16,000 euros, the daily adds.

In an effort to draw the buyers, the developers have come up with all sorts of ideas – motor cars, parking lots, free furniture and test-stays in apartments’, the Gandul points out.

The national leu currency lost 1.95 bani (1 leu = 100 bani) to the euro on Monday from Friday’s exchange rate of 4.2552 lei to the euro, the Bucharest-based dailies report.

The leu has been on a downward trend for a week. While the National Bank of Romania last Tuesday announced an exchange rate of 4.2382 lei to the euro, the exchange rate had gone up to 4.2463 lei to the euro on Wednesday, to 4.2495 lei to the euro on Thursday and 4.2552 lei to the euro on Friday.

‘Attack on the leu?’ asks the Bursa. ‘The rate of exchange is at a half-year low. The National Bank governor says the leu is being attacked’, the Gandul says. ‘Speculative attack of the excise taxes on the leu’, adds the Ziua.

The European Commission announces the recession has ended, the Cotidianul reports. ‘The euro area is coming out of the worst recession seen in more than 60 years, the European Commission estimated on Monday, also anticipating the economy will recover starting the third quarter.

However, the Commission stays prudent with respect to the coming developments’, the daily writes.

Robberies and armed attacks have surged in Romania, the dailies report. ‘In 2009 alone there have been 16 armed robberies, thousands of thefts and 54 burglaries all committed by masked individuals.

Since quite often the exchange houses or pawn shops are not equipped with an alarm system of video cameras, it means the thieves are sure to be successful’, the Jurnalul National comments.

For some time now, bank robberies have become common, in spite of the interior minister’s announcement that the prevention actions would be stepped up, the Ziua reports.

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