Press review (Dec 28)

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The Romanian newspapers on Monday give main coverage to a Constitutional Court ruling on when the government can call a confidence vote, the situation in the National Liberal Party after its decision to join the opposition, price rises in 2010, redundancies and the condition of the Romanian print media.

The Constitutional Court of Romania has established the circumstances in which the government can call a vote of confidence, i.e. in case of emergency or if it does not have a majority, Evenimentul zilei reports.
The government can call for Parliament’s vote of confidence on a bill only if it is an emergency or if it does not have parliamentary majority, the Court ruled. The judges set these conditions in their explanation of the decision to reject the education law on which the Emil Boc government had taken responsibility.

Former National Liberal Party (PNL) president Calin Popescu-Tariceanu cautions over a great danger facing the party, namely a tactical understanding between the ruling Democratic Liberals (PD-L) and the opposition Social Democrats (PSD) on ‘the introduction of the single-voting system, a non-proportionate, one- or two-rounds voting’.

‘The greatest danger for the PNL is a tactical understanding between the PSD and PD-L. Such an understanding would be aimed at marginalizing the PNL and at opening the way to a two-party system by the introduction of the non-proportionate (majority) single-voting, in one or two rounds’, the former prime minister writes on his blog, according to Romania libera.
Three years since joining the European Union, Romania has absorbed less than 3 percent of the European funds that the Romanian companies, public authorities and organisations can have access to with no interest during 2007-2013, Evenimentul zilei reports.

As for 2007-2009, Romania has already made payments from the European money accounting for 9.58 percent of the assigned amount, show figures released by the Structural Instruments Coordinating Authority. Such an absorption rate is pretty good, consultants say. They explain that ‘the money for projects put forward in 2008 began to flow in in 2009, and it often takes a long time to prepare the projects and the public acquisition tenders’, said Cristian Badiu, head of the Grants & Incentives Department of consultancy Deloitte Romania.

The taxes on houses, land and vehicles that the Bucharest residents have to pay will be hiked by 15 percent in 2010. Capital deputy mayor Mircea Raicu argues ‘it is not about a rise, but an updating of such taxes. The Bucharest residents will pay the same taxes in 2010 as in 2009, but they will be linked to the inflation rate. Such linkage has not been made in three years’.

After having spent lavishly for the winter holidays, the Romanians will have to change habit as early as from the beginning of next year – the prices for foodstuffs, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, fuel and various services will go up in 2010. Thus, milk and cheese will cost by some 3 to 8 percent more, the representatives of the Romanian Employers Association in the Milk Industry told Gandul.

Chicken meat will also cost more, as will fruit and vegetables starting mid-February, as a result of the higher prices for fuel and of the national currency’s depreciation, since more than 70 percent of such products are imported.
A package of cigarettes will cost 10 lei starting January. Alcoholic beverages will see their prices rise by some 4 to 8 percent by mid-year. The state and private sector will shed more than 250,000 jobs next year, Gardianul announces.

Secretary general of the Romanian Businessmen’s Association Cristian Parvan said 280,000 public workers and private sector staff will be laid off next year and he added that next year’s revenue forecast is too optimistic. ‘The 2010 economic growth on revenues is a little bit too optimistic, unfortunately. We are afraid it will be the same as in 2009′, Parvan said after a meeting of the unions and employers with the Finance Ministry officials.

Nothing new in the manner that millionaire businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vantu operates in the news media: his newspapers go bankrupt one after another, but he takes the money, while the others take responsibility, Cotidianul writes. Cotidianul will no longer be published starting the beginning of the year, but Vantu takes the money and administrator Mihnea Vasiliu takes the fall; pretty much the same things happens to the dailies Gardianul and Ziua, and to Realitatea TV news channel, Monday’s dailies report.

Santa Claus made a ‘budget’ gift to nearly 3,000 tourists who crowded Poiana Brasov mountain resort (central Romania) from Christmas Eve eager to ski: in less than 24 hours, the 20 centimetres snow layer they had found when they had arrived vanished, leaving the skiers literally squinting their eyes in the sun, Gandul reports. ‘No big deal, they’ll not die if they do not ski, because one does not come to Poiana Brasov at Christmas to do sport, one comes to eat, drink and have lots of rest, not to stay on the slope all day long!’, a restaurant manager said in cheerful anticipation of the revenues he was going to make.

Romanian Cosmin Craciun, a member of German SKC Victoria 1947 Bamberg team ranks 2nd among the world’s 721 top skittles players, after top-ranked Hungarian Norbert Kiss with Szegedi TE squad, the Bucharest-based dailies report.

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