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What the newspapers say: July 31, 2006

de     HotNews.ro
Luni, 31 iulie 2006, 0:00


Romanian newspapers on Monday dissect the visit President Traian Basescu paid to Washington last week.

They also commemorate the tragic death of a Romanian soldier who had just returned from Iraq, the latest polls on the image of political parties, an unlikely debate over the possible introduction of a “religion tax” and the “privatization of traffic fines”, a first in the world.

Cotidianul reports than on the very day of President Basescu’s arrival in the United States for an official visit last week the American Senate adopted a new resolution against the moratorium Romania has set on international adoptions.

The congressmen thus press the Romanian government to relax the adoption procedures, some four months since the House of Representatives adopted a similar resolution.

Congress sources quoted by the newspaper say that a change in this regard is essential if Romania wants to get rid of US visas. And Cotidianul also quotes a European expert on child protection who said that lobby groups have misinformed US Senators on the situation.

And Romanian Ambassador to Washington Sorin Ducaru said he has never witnessed an official discussion on potential connections between the lifting of the visa regime with the adoptions, the Romanian presence in international military efforts or other such issues.

According to Gandul, Basescu is determined not to give in to pressure to change the legislation on international adoptions.

The same Cotidianul proposes a point-by-point evaluation of Basescu’s visit to Washington and his meeting with US counterpart George W. Bush. And it concludes that the “mildness of the visit showed one thing: after 14 years of efforts, we have the trust of the US. But we don’t know what to do with it.

Our diplomacy, expert in the ‘diplomatic siege’ of Washington, doesn’t know what to do now that it conquered this fort”.

For its part, Evenimentul Zilei considers that “Basescu imagines himself as Tony Blair” as the Romanian President insisted his visit to the US was a working visit, not an official one, and that his talks with George W. Bush were talks “between allies”.

The newspaper believes that one of the few palpable results of the visit is the support provided by the White House to Romania in the issue of Transdniestr, a breakaway region of the neighboring Moldovan Republic.

Last but not least: also in Cotidianul, a Washington Post interview with Vladimir Tismaneanu, the head of the presidential commission for the study of the Romanian communist past, is quoted.

While Tismaneanu says the commission’s goal is just to gather piles of materials and statistics to reveal the true history of Romanian communism, the US newspaper reminds that the commission is not entitled to provide verdicts in the case of collaborators with the communist secret police, the Securitate.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Evenimentul Zilei accounts the tragic death of Romanian officer Stefan Balan, who died in a road accident last week, shortly after he returned from a mission to Iraq.

According to the newspaper, Balan died close to the place he was about to die in the Romanian revolution, when a convoy leaving his home town of Focsani for Bucharest, to defend the national television, was attacked. A bullet passed millimeters from his head during that ambush, according to a witness.

Gandul discusses the issue of a “religion tax” by which the Romanian Orthodox Church - BOR may follow the German pattern and become more independent by introducing a tax on its followers.

The discussion was sparked by the visit Bavarian Interior minister Gunther Beckstein paid to the BOR headquarters last week - but the solution has little chance to be implemented in Romania, where people are generally against any tax, the newspaper writes.

Gandul also reports on a new poll that shows if Romanians were to change their mind on their political options, opposition groups including the far-right Greater Romanian Party, the Social Democratic Party and the populist New Generation Party -PNG would have a surprisingly strong “reserve electorate”.

And it shows the leader of the latter group, businessman-politician Gigi Becali, is the only party leader in Romania to pass the exam of public trust, with a 5.56 mark from a scale from 1 (negative) to 10 (positive).

The same poll, quoted by Adevarul, shows that if elections took part next Sunday, the current governing alliance of Democrats and Liberals would receive 43.1% of the vote, followed by the Social Democrats - PSD (24.4%), the Greater Romania Party (11.9%), Hungarian-Democrats - UDMR (6.1%) and the PNG (5.6%).

And Jurnalul National reports that Romania is the first country to “privatize” its traffic fines system. A new project supported by the Romanian police and the public administration involves a 40 million euro investment in placing traffic supervision cameras across the country.

The cameras will be provided by private firms, which will recover their money from the fines collected thanks to the new system, as the newspaper writes.























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