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NEWS IN BRIEF

Corruption and inter-country adoptions, key priorities of nominated US Ambassador


The US ambassador nominee to Romania, Mark Gitenstein said one of his main priorities if confirmed on the post will be to improve to improve the environment for U.S. businesses and to increase trade between the two countries. “Key to that effort will be convincing Romania to invest the resources needed to fight corruption, increase transparency, reform fiscal controls, and cement an independent judiciary and regulatory apparatus,” Gitenstein said during his hearing by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.


Gitenstein explained that Romania will not be able to attract long-term investment without ensuring fairness to U.S. companies in terms of approvals, payments and reimbursements as they fulfill their contractual commitments.


Another top priority of the future ambassador is the resumption of international adoptions, in particular the so-called “pipeline” cases. “I can’t imagine how heart-wrenching it must be for parents to work so hard to identify a needy child to take into their home, only to suffer years of separation from them with no idea when they can be reunited,” he said. Gitenstein closed by voicing appreciation for “the genuine commitment expressed by leaders like President Basescu to eradicate anti-Semitism and end discrimination against the Roma people.”


Romania backs Moldovan opposition, May IRK Russia


Romania’s president risked antagonising Moldova and Russia on Tuesday by saying he hoped the pro-Western opposition would make gains in this month’s Moldovan parliamentary election. Wading into a sensitive campaign, President Traian Basescu told a group of foreign journalists: “I hope that democratic forces, the current opposition, get a better positioning after the 2009 elections.”He added: “We consider that after the elections, irrespective of who is in power, (bilateral) relations would re-enter a normal path. No one can change our goal to bring Moldova closer to the European Union … we have a duty towards the Moldovan population.”


The last election in April produced a Communist victory and sparked violent street protests, which the authorities said were fomented by Romania. Bucharest denied this. Russia said at the time that the riots were aimed at undermining the sovereignty of former Soviet Moldova, and pointed the finger at forces favouring union with Romania.
Communist President Vladimir Voronin accused Romania, a member of the EU since 2007, of whipping up the April violence and said opposition parties were bent on having their country swallowed up by its western neighbour.


He said opposition groupings had done nothing to distance themselves from the “unionist” arguments of Romania’s leadership which has offered Moldovans free education and passports.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

FP to sell its stocks in CEZ-controlled companies


Fondul Proprietatea will sell its stocks in three companies controlled by the Czech group CEZ for at least RON 550 M, because the minority stake in CEZ Distributie, CEZ Vanzare and CEZ Servicii represent more than 5 per cent of the Fund’s net assets. ‘The transaction has a value higher than 5 per cent of the Fund’s net assets, so it needs to be approved by the General Assembly of Shareholders,’ FP General Manger Daniela Lulache told a press conference yesterday. The assets of the Proprietatea Fund were worth RON 11.03 bln at the end of last year. However, the exact value of the transaction will be negotiated, Lulache said. The Fund holds 30 per cent in CEZ Distributie and 30 per cent in CEZ Vanzare, from Electrica’s minority shareholding in both companies subsequent to the privatisation of former Electrica Oltenia.


Sarbu: Agriculture Ministry staff to be reduced to a half


The personnel working in the central structures of the Ministry of Agriculture will be halved, Agriculture Minister Ilie Sarbu has said, according to Mediafax. Approximately 300 of the over 600 employees will remain. The Government decision adopting the measure will probably be approved next week. Sarbu said that most of the staff would most likely go to work at the agriculture European funds payments agencies, as they are best qualified for such positions.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Eurostat: Romania’s GDP drop


In Q1 of this year, Romania’s GDP dropped by 4.6 per cent compared to the level registered in the last quarter of 2008, the drop placing Romania sixth among the EU member states, according to the revised data presented by Eurostat yesterday. The previous data placed Romania eighth, Mediafax informs. In May the National Statistics Institute (INS) revised the data on the economic drop in Q1, pointing out that the GDP dropped by 4.6 per cent compared to the previous quarter and by 6.2 per cent compared to Q1 of 2008. The previous estimates pointed to a drop of 2.6 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively. Thus, according to a Eurostat report presented in early June, Romania’s 2.6 per cent GDP drop registered in Q1 placed it eighth among the EU member states. For Romania Eurostat is posting an adjusted economic drop of 5.7 per cent in Q1 of this year compared to the level registered in the same period last year.


BCR Administrare Fond de Pensii wants to merge with two other funds


BCR Administrare Fond de Pensii has submitted to the Romanian Private Pensions System Overseeing Commission (CSSPP) an application for a preliminary authorisation of its merger with two other compulsory private pensions funds (Pillar II), Mediafax informs. BCR Fond de Pensii Administrat Privat on July 3 completed the merger by absorption with Omniforte Fund, under a final authorization issued by the CSSPP on June24. Omniforte will no longer exist and its former manager – Omniasig Fond de Pensii – will lose its management authorization for that fund. ‘In the course of the merger operation, only 500 of the 70,000 Omniforte contributors asked to be moved at no charge to a different private pensions fund. BCR Fond de Pensii currently has approximately 230,000 validated participants,’ BCR Administrare Fond de Pensii General Manager Simona Ditescu sattes in a press release.

BCR Administrare Fond de Pensii forecasts a total of nearly 270,000 validated participants in Pillar II.


Anca Dumitru – BVB General Director


The members on the Board of Directors at the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) on Tuesday extended for an open-ended period Anca Dumitru’s tenure as general director of the market operator,’ Stere Farmache, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of BVB, said, according to Mediafax.


Anca Dumitru’s six-month interim mandate was due to expire Monday, July 15. She took over the position late last year, after Farmache resigned his post, yet staying as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dumitru got the go-ahead from the National Securities Commission in mid January for taking over the post of BVB general director.


AVAS to appoint temporary manager at Rodipet


The Authority for State Assets Management (AVAS) will appoint a temporary manager at Rodipet following a Court verdict, a press release issued by the institution and quoted by Agerpres informs. On June 30, 2009, the delegate judge approved the request submitted by AVAS that it would be reintroduced as a shareholder of Network Press Concept (previously known as Rodipet) with 7.35 million shares estimated at RON 2.5 per action, representing 51 per cent of the registered capital of this company. Considering the decision of the delegate judge, AVAS will start the required steps in order to appoint a temporary manager at Network Press Concept. By its request submitted on April 1, 2009, AVAS had requested the Trade Registry Office to re-acknowledge the institution as shareholder for Network Press Concept.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Marko Bela criticizes sacking of Hungarians from the helm of decentralized institutions


The sacking of the Hungarians from the helm of the decentralized institutions has ‘turned the Hungarian community back to the times of the Communist totalitarian regime,’ UDMR leader Marko Bela stated yesterday, accusing Emergency Order number 37 of having ‘absurd and perverse’ results in the Counties in which the Hungarians form the majority.


He explained that UDMR cannot prevent such initiatives that run against the interests of the Hungarian community in Romania because it is no longer part of the Government, with the European Union being the only one that can bring a solution to this. At the same time Bela stated that the current Government’s policy is responsible for bringing the extremist parties back on the stage. According to Mediafax, the UDMR President inaugurated the ‘European Union’ workshop by talking about Transylvania and the EU. The workshop takes place from July 7 to July 12 in Baile Tusnad.


Voiculescu proposes Patriciu as Minister


A Government having Ilie Serbanescu, Mihai Tanasescu or even Dinu Patriciu as members would be much more efficient than the current Government that is made up of Emil Boc, Gheorghe Pogea and Adriean Videanu, reads a press communiqué issued yesterday by Dan Voiculescu, the founding president of the Conservative Party (PC). In the communiqué the Conservative leader sanctions ‘the current Government’s lack of professionalism and coherence’ and criticizes ‘the innocence’ with which Economy Minister Adriean Videanu has stated that the introduction of the minimum tax was the current Government’s error. In the opinion of the Conservative Party’s founding president ‘in the context of the worst economic crisis in history, Romania is led by amateurs that have never learned the basics of the economy.’


Basescu decorates Geneva prize-awarded researchers


During yesterday’s ceremony at Cotroceni Palace, President Traian Basescu decorated the 17 members of the Romanian researchers’ team who won this year’s grand prize at the Geneva International Salon of Inventions. He awarded prize recipients Romania’s Star National Order, the National Order of Merit and the National Cross for Faithful Service respectively. Basescu congratulated the prize winners for promoting Romanian research through their efforts that led to the prize won in Geneva. The president held that the research field needs stronger backing and the inventions by prize winners stand proof to their intelligence and perseverance.

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