Press review (Sept 21)

Romania’s national dailies of Monday give main coverage to President Traian Basescu declaring promoting Romania as the main theme of his next term in office if he wins re-election in this year’s presidential election; Romanian state officials’ expectations over a new installment from their stand-by financial arrangement with the International Monetary Fund; the European commissioner’s portfolio to be distributed to Romania; the magistrates’ industrial action enter fourth week.Evenimentul zilei remarks that Traian Basescu won the office of President by promising an evolution the magnitude of a revolution and it closes it establishing Romania’s image as the next priority. His motto now, the paper says is ‘let us start a policy to promote Romania at home and abroad.’

The President, the paper continues, does no ask us to put on mink clothes upon our rags; the head of state might have made the heart beat prouder in some cheap patriots making public love declarations to the country, but mocking it by small everyday deeds with the ridiculous cliché ‘foreigners have to learn about our kindness.’

The citizens are not charged with being disrespectful to the state power, but the state power is criticised for not respecting the citizens and for humiliating them, and the state is not Traian Basescu.

Ziua quotes sources with the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L), in the ruling coalition and the main endorser of Basescu for re-election, as saying President Basescu is waiting for all his opponents before announcing he will run for re-election in this November’s presidential election.

Immediately after, the sources say, a campaign to collect one million signatures for Basescu’s candidature will start. The same sources say Basescu will most likely announce its candidature after Mircea Geoana and Sorin Oprescu, two other main contenders, have done so.

The Board of Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is looking today into the results of the first review of Romania under the stand-by financial arrangement concluded with the country and also into modifying some of the arrangement’s performance criteria in odder to approve the disbursement of the second installment of the loan worth SDR 1.718 (nearly 1.9 billion euros), the papers report citing from the IMF schedule.

The money should be disbursed shortly after the vote of the IMF board and it will be steered toward the Government, instead of the National Bank of Romania (BNR), for the payment of public wages and pensions.

President Basescu last week told Radio Romania Actualitati public radio station that he asked the IMF that the second installment of the loan for Romania be steered to the Government to allow it to pay the public wages and pensions in time without delay.

Jurnalul national reports that former secretary general of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), in the ruling coalition, Octav Cozmanca on Sunday sent an open letter to the PSD members and voters in which he voices strong criticism against the incumbent leadership of the party.

Cozmanca, who many say will surely be the chief of the presidential campaign of incumbent Bucharest General Mayor Sorin Oprescu, claims that the party has not has a genuine leader since 2005, when Geoana was voted the party’s national chairman.

The former PSD leader also says he intends to establish a National Alliance of Democratic Left Forces if the PSD fails to become again and in short time the main political force of Romania. He pledges to take this political action unreservedly as he argues the current political parties have no credibility left.

The papers quotes information from the web portal that the number of members states of the European Union vying for the much-coveted agriculture portfolio in the future European Commission is growing long.

For this office, which is also coveted by Romania and which winning has been made a priority by the Romanian diplomacy now, both Austria and Ireland, none of them negligible in the contest for the office, have voiced an interest.

Ireland has openly stated its interest in winning the office of the European agriculture commissioner, for the race of which Romanian Dacian Ciolos and Austrian Wilhelm Molterer have submitted bids.

Evenimentul zilei remarks that if it fails to win the agriculture portfolio for Dacian Ciolos, Romania’s team negotiating over the commissioner office for Romania in the future European Commission, will try to win the enlargement, regional development or the research portfolios.

Jurnalul National notes, in relation to the public participation in the second edition of real estate trade fair presenting the First Home public programme for first-time homebuyers, that although real estate developers have cut their prices by 10-15 percent from early summer, buyer’s interest is much diminished.

Some of the developers have included an automobile in their offer of flats in the complexes they have built, while others have included the price for the furniture in the home price.

The papers quote employers’ associations as saying unrecorded employment has doubled amidst the ongoing economic crisis. Evenimentul zilei remarks that many companies have officially laid off tens of employees but they continued to employ some of them off record.

The companies have thus eschewed paying the social security contributions, which this February went up to 41.3 percent of the wage funds, up from 38 percent in 2008. The increase in these contributions is said to not have boosted the Government’s revenues.

Some of the people recorded as unemployed are collecting public unemployment benefits but they are also operational as unrecorded workers, earning cash in hand. The paper remarks that the Boc Government has taken the black market of jobs out of the crisis.

Cotidianul notes that one of the mentors of the reform of Romania’s energy system Jean Constantinescu is warning that a system crisis is looming ahead for Romania. Now head of the National Romanian Institute for Energy Planning and Use and Romania’s representative at Eurelectric is not listened to in Bucharest, where political crony interests have the upper hand.

Evenimentul zilei remarks that the striking magistrates have not decided yet whether or not they will accept to be included in the electoral offices for the presidential election of November, saying they are still waiting for an invitation from the Government.

The magistrates started today their fourth week of protests that has blocked court cases and are endangering the economy of the country. Only files on arrested people are still being considered and those regarding the placement of minors.
The only magistrates to have announced they are resuming work pending the signing of a Justice Pact are the Craiova Court of Appeal and the Constanta Tribunal, Evenimentul zilei, Romania libera and Cronica Romana report.

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