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NEWS IN BRIEF

Romania will send observers to Moldova poll


Romania will send monitors to July 29 elections in the Republic of Moldova and will ask the European Union to watch the elections more closely in order to avoid fraud allegations as those reported after the April poll, Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu told Realitatea FM yesterday. Diaconescu gave assurances that Romania wants to watch closely the entire electoral process, including the events prior to the actual poll because, irregularities occur before the elections as well.


Patriciu hearing in Rompetrol file, postponed


A Bucharest City Court panel yesterday postponed until August 20 a hearing of businessman Dinu Patriciu as one of the lawyers involved in the case was not present, according to Mediafax. Patriciu was supposed to be heard in relation to the charges of embezzlement, money laundering and association to commit offences leveled against him. In September 2006, Patriciu was sent to trial in the Rompetrol case. He is also facing charges of stock exchange market manipulation, revealing classified information and setting up an organized crime group. There are several people involved in the case, including journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu. Referring to the phone conversation between Stanescu and President Traian Basescu in the case, Patriciu told reporters yesterday that the journalist did not ask the president to intervene in the Rompetrol file and that there are witnesses that can confirm this.


Tiriac’s hunting ground put up for auction


The Ministry of Agriculture announced yesterday it would put up for auction 44 hunting grounds, including the one in Balc, Bihor County, which was previously owned by businessman Ion Tiriac, according to daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’. The 44 plots measure between 5,000 and 17,000 square meters and the starting price in the auction will be of 12 euros per square meter. Tiriac gave up the Balc hunting grounds because the management tariffs for the place have increase significantly starting from May 15.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

FM: Romania could mediate between Iran and the West


Romania’s dialogue with Iran is more advanced than other countries’ and offers to act as ‘an honest postman’ regarding the Middle East, FM Cristian Diaconescu stated on Realitatea FM, according to ‘Ziua’ daily. Yesterday, Diaconescu re-iterated the fact that no Romanian citizen living in Iran had so far asked for consular assistance or for any kind of support from the Romanian authorities. On the other hand, Diaconescu noted that ‘the situation in Iran was extremely concerning and would need to be monitored with a lot of attention’. On Wednesday, Diaconescu saw the Secretary General if the Gulf Co-operation Council, Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, who is on an official visit in Romania, talking about the recent developments in the Middle East, Iraq, Iran and the international economic and financial crisis. In the meantime, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Bucharest, Hamid Reza Arshadi, was invited for an audience with the Foreign Ministry on the 23rd of June, according to a press statement published yesterday. The reason for summoning the ambassador was to inform him on Romania’s position on the development of the EU-Iran relations, analysed from the point of view of the recent presidential election held in that country. ‘Romania expressed its concern about the attitude of the authorities in Teheran on the demonstrations that followed the announcement of the results of the presidential election. In the context, it was made clear that Iran’s accusing EU member states of intrusion on its domestic affairs was unacceptable and unsubstantiated’ the quoted source states.


Elena Basescu joins EPP group


Elena Basescu, recently elected MEP has been accepted as a member of the European People’s Party, according to a press communiqué issued by the Romanian delegation within the EPP. During a meeting on Tuesday, Theodor Stolojan, the head of the Romanian delegation, saluted the accession of the new members elected within the Romanian delegation, also welcoming Laszlo Tokes. Basescu’s possible accession to the EPP was the subject of an e-mail that Hungarian MEP Laszlo Surjan (member of Hungary’s FIDESZ party) sent to the other EPP members. FIDESZ is a Hungarian party that has won 14 European Parliament seats during the recent European elections. Antoine Ripoll, the spokesperson of EPP leader Joseph Daul, confirmed the fact that Surjan had sent that internal e-mail. In the e-mail the Hungarian MEP asked his group not to allow Basescu to become a member, claiming that nepotism would be encouraged by the decision to do so.

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BUSINESS

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CSA: 30 pc of owners choose the houses policy


Only 30 pc of the eight million homeowners as stipulated by the Law on the mandatory insurance of dwelling units (AOL) in the first year when this law will be enforced, Marius Bulugea, director in the Insurance Supervisory Commission (CSA) announced yesterday, according to Mediafax. “The surveys made by authorities show the future Pool of Insurance Against Disasters (PAID) will pay damages worth EUR 100 M in the first year since the AOL law is enacted, with a comprehension degree of 85 pc. I estimate that, in the first year of this law, the comprehension degree will not exceed 30 pc and, in this case, damages will be around EUR 35 M,” Bulugea said. Under Law 260/2008, the owners of dwelling units must buy an insurance policy whose premium will be differentiated depending on the type of dwelling, between EUR 10 and 20. The insured value of a dwelling unit will not exceed EUR 20,000 and the minimum level will stand at EUR 10,000. The same act rules that the insurance policy against natural disasters (PAD), issued under the AOL law, is concluded in written form between PAID and the homeowner. The failure by natural or legal persons to meet their obligation of insuring their houses is a misdemeanor sanctioned by fine between RON 100 to 500.


Gov might raise business saving deposit ceiling


The government could raise the ceiling of business savings accounts up to EUR 50,000, HotNews reports. The finance minister presented yesterday’s government session with a draft bill increasing the guarantee ceiling from EUR 20,000 to EUR 50,000. In the autumn of 2008, government upped the ceiling only for personal savings deposits. Yet, under an European directive, the measure should also be applied to enterprises. The directive should be transposed as of June 30, Pogea said. Last year, the European Commission decided for personal savings deposit to be guaranteed up to EUR 50,000, from EUR 10,000, AND IN 2009, to EUR 100,000.

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New director at Otopeni


Tudor Jidav, the director of the ‘Henri Coanda’ International Airport, was appointed general director. He succeeds Sorin Ciobanu, who was dismissed on Tuesday by Transport Minister Radu Berceanu. Jidav has been the airport’s technical operational assistant general director.


Berceanu said he fired Ciobanu, as the Social Democratic Party (PSD) had not answered his demand to decide whether or not they endorse Sorin Ciobanu for the job. Ciobanu, who was installed in his position last week, replaced Gabriel Tara.


Bogdan Neagu, in-coming Electrolux Romania Care Manager


In April 2009, Bogdan Neagu became the new Care Manager of Electrolux Romania, after an absence of four years when he had worked in managerial positions for prominent companies, the company informs by press release.


Neagu is replacing Florin Porojan, who held the position from January 2005 until March 2009. Bogdan Neagu has over 11 years of managerial experience in key-positions, at companies such as Credit Support (financial consultancy) and MBC. He had also worked for Electrolux Romania between November 2001 and December 2004.


‘I am returning to Electrolux at an important moment both for my career and from the point of view of the general economic context.


I am facing a big challenge, but, together with the team I have known fro so many years, I know we will consolidate the position of Electrolux on the Romanian market’, Bogdan Neagu said.

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Gov’t options: raise taxes, cut salaries, layoffs


Gloomy prospects are looming for the Romanian economy. The Executive might raise some taxes or even cut civil servant pay, HotNews reported Andreea Vass, an adviser to PM Emil Boc, as saying on Radio France International. ‘What remains under question is related to public administration reform, where we have three options to choose from: we either raise taxes to collect more budget revenues to succeed covering spending, to diminish the number of public employees or salaries in the public sector,’ Andreea Vass said on Wednesday.


The premier’s adviser however made it clear no decision has been taken yet. ‘None of the three solutions have been definitely in, they are on the government table,’ Andreea Vass says, who said economic contraction could be quite severe in the second quarter, up to down 9 per cent. ‘Salaries and pensions will be paid no doubt about it. I repeat, salaries and pensions are cushioned,’ Vass stated.


EU states near acid pollution deal


BRUSSELS – European environment ministers could agree to tighten up widely flouted acid pollution laws this week after rapid progress in recent negotiations over industrial emissions brought a compromise within reach. The complex Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) weaves together seven existing air quality laws, including the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control directive (IPPC) and the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD). According to a group of nine countries that are heavy users of coal — such as Britain, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece — the compromise deal is too costly and in some cases could harm energy security, negotiating documents show. Britain says the forced closure of plants will contribute to a gap in generating capacity around 2015. Poland fears the laws will impact its communist-era district heating schemes, which could in turn force people to heat their homes by burning coal, worsening air quality further.

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POLITICS

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Draft law on modifying the SRTv and SRR law, turned down by MPs


The plenum of the Lower Chamber has turned down on Tuesday, with 131 votes ‘for,’ 93 votes ‘against’ and 4 abstentions, the draft law that sought to modify the law on the organization and running of the public TV and Radio. Democrat-Liberal Raluca Turca, the initiator of this draft law, claimed that the MPs ‘have sentenced the TVR to becoming a party’s television station.’ ‘Dear colleagues, we want to draw your attention to the duplicity that dominates the political class. There are some politicians that state one thing and do another. There are people willing to sacrifice their party colleagues only because they want to transform the Public Television into a party’s television station. Through your vote you have sentenced the Public Television to becoming PSD SRL’ Turcan stated. In reply, MP Sergiu Andon explained that the PSD+PC group has registered no consensus in what concerns this draft law. Andon stated that he voted against it because of the ‘clumsiness’ and ‘pointlessness’ of the draft. In his turn, Social-Democrat MPs Nicolae Banicioiu has claimed that the draft’s initiator would have liked to introduce some NGO members within the SRTv’s administrative board. ‘Mrs. Turcan actually wants to take the politics out of the Administrative Board but she introduces certain NGOs and people appointed by the Presidency. Guess where does her husband work? At the Presidency’ Banicioiu said.


Fresh checks into former minister Dan Ion Popescu’s fortune


The nine-judge panel of the High Court of Cassation and Justice made public Tuesday the grounds for its retrial ruling on further investigations into the fortune amassed by former minister Dan Ioan Popescu. The court held that the lower court ‘did not insist in finding the truth’. ‘Judges have the duty to insist, by all legal means possible, and in order to prevent any error on finding truth, by establishing the facts and fairly enforcing the law,’ the ruling motivation says. In 2005, the Prosecutor General’s Office notified the High Court that Dan Ioan Popescu, a former industry minister in the Adrian Nastase Cabinet, was unable to justify a fortune worth over 46 bln ROL he made during December 12, 2000 through December 12, 2004, during which he was a minister. The judges who tried the case in 2007, when they ruled his fortune was grounded, included in the count the income worth over ROL 15 bln representing the salary earned by his wife, Elena Popescu by late December 2004

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