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2004 | 2005


May - 2005

News Review


Road to Europe still rocky

The European Parliament has voted in favour of Romanian entry for 2007, but hopes that every European country would ratify the treaty for accession were thrown into disarray when the German opposition, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said it favoured delaying entry by a year. Before 2007 every EU country’s parliament has to give a positive vote to Romania’s accession hopes in a strong majority to assure the country enters the union. Ole von Beust, a CDU mayor has declared that he doesn’t want Romania to become a “bottomless sack” for European funds. (See special EU feature).

Ukraine suggests joint canal administration

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine has proposed to Traian Basescu a common administration of the Bystroe canal, a Ukrainian construction in the Black Sea that has caused criticism for its damaging effects on the Danube Delta. Yushchenko, who is the first head of state to visit Romania after the 2004 presidential elections, and Basescu agreed to form three Romanian-Ukrainian committees to deal with the breakaway Transnistrian district of Moldova, ethnic minorities and the canal.


Basescu in war of words with Chirac

Traian Basescu has declared to The Financial Times that France should stop scolding Romania for its relationship with the US and Great Britain. Basescu said that Chirac had “offended” EU candidate states when, in 2003, he asked them “not to speak” about Iraq. Jacques Chirac has been quoted as saying that in 2003, when Romania supported the Iraq war, it lost “a good opportunity to keep silent”. Basescu added that the offence was made even worse by French Foreign Affairs Minister Michel Barnier’s declaration, during a visit to Bucharest, that Basescu does not have “a European reflex”. However Presidential counsellor Adriana Saftoiu later said that Traian Basescu had not made the comments.

Commerce diplomats called back home for retraining

All 110 Romanian commercial attaches will be recalled home for retraining. The commercial missions will also be renamed 'economical expansion centers'. Also, for the first time, attaches will have to apply for their jobs and win a post through an interview process.

Geoana wins top PSD post over ex-President Iliescu

Former minister of foreign affairs Mircea Geoana has won the presidency of the PSD party with 964 votes against Ion Iliescu's 530 votes at the recent party congress. For the executive, former deputy mayor of Bucharest Sorin Oprescu gathered only 443 votes against ex-prime minister Nastase's 1,018 votes. The general secretary of the party is now former minister of transport Miron Mitrea. After the congress had finished, the new president of the PSD had declared that he will create a “fantastic” team with Adrian Nastase, but also mentioned that he is expecting advice and support from Iliescu.


Doctors fight back against prescription quotas

A senior doctor's union has called for the resignation of the minister of health Mircea Cinteza over a new law that limits the number of subsidised prescriptions doctors can give to financially disadvantaged groups, such as students and the elderly. The Federative Chamber of Doctors's president Dr Dan Peretianu told The Diplomat: “I don't like the Minister telling me how many prescriptions I can write. And I really don't understand Cinteza's decision, especially when six months ago he was fighting with me against the restrictions on subsidised drugs.” The trade-unionists are going to take the ministry to court.

Four down, dozens to go

Romanian ambassadors Traian Chebeleu (Austria), Petru Ioan Cordos (Lithuania), Caius Traian Dragomir (Greece) and Mihai Dinucu (Croatia) have been recalled from their embassies, as part of Minister Ungureanu’s intentions to reform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to press reports. At the beginning of March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made public the fact that 38 diplomats would be recalled from Romanian embassies, consulates or missions abroad because they ended their mandate in 2005, were approaching their retirement age.

Danube Delta governor dismissed

Minister of Environment and Water Management Sulfina Barbu has dismissed the governor of the Danube Delta, Virgil Munteanu for not having fulfilled the requirements of the governmental plan regarding the area of natural beauty. Munteanu, who was also chief of the Administration of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (ARBDD), claims that he has been sacked for political reasons: “The dismissal has nothing to do with my activity or that of the ARBDD, as our activity is widely appreciated by international organisations in the field,” he said. Tulcea County PNL vice president Paul Cononov was appointed in his place.

Bulgaria builds second nuclear unit next to Romanian border

Bulgaria has approved the construction of a second nuclear power station close to the Romanian border. The 1,000 megawatt reactor will be built near Belene on the river Danube, close to the Romanian district of Teleorman, for an estimated 2.5 billion Euro and a completion date of 2010. Its existing nuclear power station, Kozloduy, which provides 40 per cent of Bulgaria energy, will close down two of its remaining four reactors by the EU accession date of 2007.

Anti-Romanian songs condemned, but airplay continues

National Council Against Discrimi-nation (CNCD) has asked the National Council of the Audiovisual to ban tracks by Spanish DJ Syto for their racist and xenophobic lyrics. DJ Syto's techno tracks have been hits in Spain for a year now, despite protests by Hispanic NGO SOS Racismo against their content. These refer directly to Romanian and Moroccan immigrants, inciting violent and racial hatred. The Romanian Embassy to Madrid and the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also expressed concern regarding the hostile content.

Lucky thirteen could switch parties

Thirteen deputies from the opposition are planning to defect to the National Liberal Party (PNL). Eugen Nicolaescu, leader of the parliamentary group of PNL, has revealed that eight deputies from PPRM (formerly the PRM) and another five from the PSD could resign to join the PNL, as reported in Cotidianul. Political adultery is a controversial but common activity after an election in Romania and the 13 could become part of semi-autonomous parliamentary group within the PNL.