June
2008
POLITICS NEWS
 
Vol. 4 No.5  
 

More Romanians pledge
to leave country and work abroad

 
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Romanians are set to continue leaving the country to work abroad, postponing
Government predictions that EU membership, rising salaries and an improved
quality of life would attract Romanians back to their home country to fi ll the
worker deficit.
About one in six Romanian families have at least one member who intends to
emigrate in the next 12 months, according to research conducted by the National Institute for Scientific Research in Labour and Social Protection sand pollster CURS.
Currently, 11.3 per cent of Romanian families have at least one member working
and living in another country. Almost twice as many Romanians in the countryside than in the city have decided to live abroad. Moldavia, Banat and Dobrogea are the regions most affected.
Romania will experience a defi cit of 400,000 workers by 2013, according to
the National Commission of Prognosis.
At least two million Romanians are currently living abroad, from which only
250,000 people are working legally. Another 700,000 have decided to emigrate on their own for periods longer than one year. A further 700,000 to 800,000 Romanians left Romania to have short-term working contracts in other countries


Five years of Court of Accounts judgements declared illegal

Romania’s Court of Accounts has been functioning for fi ve years as a court
house even though it does not have the right to judge.
Only last month a Parliamentary Commission started investigating the activity
of the Court of Accounts, the highest institution of fi nancial regulation in
Romania. The court is only empowered to investigate public spending, draw up
reports and give recommendations to a court or prosecutors.
The members of the Court of Accounts are not qualifi ed to act as magistrates.
Until 2003, this institution operated as a court house specialised in finance, with the power to judge financial litigations. In the same year the revised
Constitution was approved, stating that the Court of Accounts is no longer part of the Romanian justice system. Nevertheless, some members of the Court of Accounts continued to give verdicts.
Hundreds of lawsuits risk annulment. Both the Supreme Council of Magistrates
and the Constitutional Court have said the members of the Court of Accounts
cannot make judgements.


Ukraine shelves plan to build
canal near Danube

Ukraine has stopped work on the Bystroe Canal, which is designed to connect the Danube River to the Black Sea through the Danube Delta.
The decision was taken four years after Ukraine started building the canal, a
project which has caused political tension between Bucharest and Kiev.
Romania, the European Commission and other states in the region have voiced concerns over the high risks of damage to the natural reservation.
The Romanian Minister of Environment Attila Korodi said that Ukraine’s
decision may have something to do with the country’s aspiration to join the EU.
The Danube Delta reserve is a protected UNESCO World Heritage area with
rare plants, birds and fi sh species.
An Ukrainian offi cial, present in Bucharest last May at the reunion of the
Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment, said that Kiev will
restart the works only after it fulfi lls its obligations as an Espoo Convention
member state. All the countries in this ‘club’ must consult one another to make a decision on a major environmental issue.


Sweden and US caught in
defence deal dog fight

Sweden’s fi ghter plane Gripen is battling with the USA’s F16 to win a 3.5 billion Euro contract with the Romanian state to buy 48 fi ghter planes.
This purchase is part of Romania’s obligation to NATO to modernise its air
fl eet to make it compatible with the Alliance’s planes.
The decision on which planes to buy will be taken in the Romanian National
Defence Council (CSAT), the highest security body in the country, which includes the President, Prime Minister, some cabinet members and heads of the secret services.
Competing producers are the Swedish SAAB and the US Lockheed Martin. Italian Alenia Aeronautica, French Dassaud and the US Boeing are also in the race.
But it is not as simple as picking the best deal, as the winning company will
probably have to counter-invest its own cash in the Romanian aerospace industry, such as buying one of the state’s underfunded aerospace companies.
“The main thing is the off-set programme that comes with the contract,
which will be a lot of money,” says Bucharest’s Swedish Ambassador Mats Aberg.
Last month, the Pentagon announced to the US Congress that it would possibly sell several F16 planes to Romania. This news forced Swedish company SAAB to start pressurising the Romanian Government
to make a decision.
The next day, SAAB announced it would no longer bid for the privatisation
of Romanian aerospace producer Avioane Craiova.


Short News

Commissioner in hot water over
campaign video

European Commissioner Leornard Orbanhas appeared in a campaign video of his brother Ludovic, who has been running for the National Liberal Party to become
Mayor of Bucharest. Commissioners are forbidden to take political sides or appear in campaign videos, unless the EC President Jose Barroso gives permission. Leonard Orban did not ask for approval to appear in the video. But brother Ludovic defended his sibling’s cameo. “This is just a biographical
video that refl ects a reality and in which my brother does not say ‘Vote for Ludovic Orban!’,” the Liberal candidate told daily Evenimentul Zilei.

Tariceanu blasts failure to spend
cash on education

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has criticised the poor administration of his Ministry of Education’s funds for failing to allocate cash to schools and universities.
This year the institution’s budget received the highest percentage of GDP since 1990 - six per cent. “The Ministry of Education and Research has the most defi cient spending,”
Tariceanu said in a meeting with the students at the Academy of Economic
Studies in Bucharest.

Nastase hits back at bribe claim

A UK duty-free operator is suing the Romanian state in an international tribunal in Washington DC, in a bribe case allegedly involving former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, the Financial Times has reported.
Eastern Duty Free (EDF) is taking legal action at the World Bank’s International
Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) claiming 75 million Euro in damages for the loss of two contracts for duty-free sales at Bucharest Otopeni airport and on airline Tarom. EDF alleges that between 2001 and 2002 it was approached by offi cials working for then Prime Minister Adrian Nastase demanding a 2.5 million USD bribe to retain contracts it had won in 1992 and 1996. When the company refused to pay, it claims it was forced out of the business. Nastase expressed “shock and dismay” at the article. “I am not aware of any illegal acts of the Romanian Government or of members of any governmental agency being perpetrated in relation with the business of Eastern Duty Free company,” he said in a letter.

National Integrity Agency fails to
mobilise for elections

Romania’s new National Integrity Agency (ANI) and its 15 agents have been incapable of verifying the 60,000 wealth declarations of the candidates running in local elections this month. ANI was an institution set up at the request of the European Commission to monitor the wealth declarations of public fi gures. The Agency was supposed to start functioning in October 2007. When the Government allocated the funds for ANI, it was already too late for the institution to operate in due time for the local elections.
President of ANI Alexandru Macovei told the BBC that the Agency needs to hire 200 people to function properly.

Becali: accused of bribing football
club to take dive

Gigi Becali, president of New Generation Party (PNG) and the fi nancier of football club Steaua is accused of attempting to bribe the president of club Universitatea Cluj Anton Dobos. Teia Sponte, one of Becali’s right-hand men, was caught carrying a bag with 1.7 million Euro on his way to meet Dobos, the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) stated in a press release.
The next day the fi nal match of the Romanian Championship was set to take
place between Steaua and Universitatea Cluj and Becali was alleged to have been bribing the club to take a dive. After being questioned by prosecutors, Sponte left the country. “This is my money, I do what I want with it and I am not scared of the DNA,” said Becali. The football fi nancier denied the bribe attempt.

Basescu: not an anti-Communist

President Traian Basescu said last month that he would “never dare to consider myself an anti-communist”, but that he would continue to fi ght to reveal the whole truth about the Communist regime. After making this vague statement, he underlined that the structures of the former Communist regime no longer function in Romania.
“I will not accept that 50 years of Communism remain hidden, because we heal as the truth comes to light,” Basescu said. The head of state has been accused of being an informer for the Securitate, the former Communist-era secret police, while he was working as a ship’s commander before the
Revolution in 1989.


 
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