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What the newspapers say: November 21, 2006

de     HotNews.ro
Marţi, 21 noiembrie 2006, 0:00


A scandal surrounding a rapid growth of fuel prices on the Romanian market keeps the front pages of most Romanian newspapers today. They’re also arguing about an announcement made by the head of a major media industry organization yesterday that he would resign in a show of discontent about the mercenariness in the Romanian media.

And they expect make-or-break decisions in the frictions within the governing Liberal Party.

Recent revelations about the secret terms of the privatization contract of Romania’s biggest oil company Petrom, by which buyer OMV is trying to recover the costs at the expense of the Romanian public, have produced a shock on the political stage and the media.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that shortly after President Traian Basescu met OMV head Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu will follow suit with a new such encounter today.

And the newspaper reveals that Petrom-OMV is about to take over extensive state-owned properties at insignificant prices, in an abusive move that somehow complies with the privatization contract and by which the state wants to bolster the social capital of the company.

Jurnalul National focuses on meetings today and quotes PM Tariceanu who said a proposal would be submitted a solution be found based on the social responsibility of companies. Such a move is aimed at diminishing pressure on consumers and would be forwarded to other energy companies as well, according to Tariceanu.

Cotidianul reports that the privatizations in the Romanian energy sector including the sale of Petrom will be discussed at the Supreme Defense Council of Wednesday. And it writes the Petrom contract had already been requested by the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) in April this year.

According to Adevarul, DNA is making preliminary moves to open a criminal inquiry into the sale of Petrom to OMV.

The same Cotidianul reports that problems affect the electricity industry as well: energy producers showed signs of compliance with an order by Economy minister Codrut Seres that they abandon direct contracts and sell their electricity in public offerings.

But they’re now applying much higher prices than those used in “under the table” contracts with distributors.

Meanwhile, Jurnalul National is one of the many newspaper to discuss attempts of reconciliation between the leadership of the governing National Liberal Party-PNL and ousted Liberal Teodor Stolojan, who had shown readiness to use his popularity to challenge the party leadership with an alternative Liberal platform.

According to Jurnalul, the PNL president, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, are due to meet Stolojan today in the first such talks since the beginning of the political crisis within the group.

According to Cotidianul, the meeting may include a PNL offer that Stolojan become executive president of the party, but Stolojan has already said he would not accept a position in the group as a means to calm down disputes.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Evenimentul Zilei reports a major event in the Romanian media industry - the resignation of the head of the Romanian Press Club-CRP, Cristian Tudor Popescu.

Popescu announced his resignation yesterday in a show of discontent about the increasingly more intense migration of “mercenary” journalists from some institutions to others and about the fact that the “too much money” invested in Romanian media lately have changed the CRP from an organization of journalists into one of media moguls.

In an interview with Popescu, Evenimentul Zilei challenges his reasoning and suggests the CRP has been an organization of media owners for a long time already.

Cotidianul reminds that Popescu’s resignation comes as a group of journalists in the city of Cluj were arrested under blackmail charges and after a series of other controversial events.

It also notes that CRP did very little to combat what Popescu is also challenging now - the politicians meddling with media problems - under the previous government, seen as one of Romanian media’s darkest periods.

Also today, Adevarul quotes a report of an association of Romanian researchers who warn the scientific performance of the country is unworthy of its European member status as its research is comparable with or even outpaced by that of exotic countries such as Gambia, Gabon, Jamaica or Botswana.

Gandul tackles President Traian Basescu’s latest foreign policy position and quotes an interview he made with German paper Franfurter Rundschau, in which he said Romania would push for EU member states to accept the Moldovan Republic in the Western Balkans group of countries considered for future EU enlargement.

And Evenimentul Zilei reports that a Romanian man who had left to work on the Italian black market managed to become the head of an office for foreigners in Italy and this year was elected head of the League of Romanians in Italy. He’s been working in the country for almost ten years already.























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