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What the newspapers say: February 18, 2009

de A.C.     HotNews.ro
Miercuri, 18 februarie 2009, 3:43 English | Press Review

The government offered "bribes" of 70,000 euro to each parliamentarian belonging to parties now forming the governing coalition so that they pass the 2009 budget, one newspaper reads on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister fires 61 of the 68 Government Control Body members, among which a pregnant woman, even if persons in such situations cannot be fired according to the law. Elsewhere in the news, Romanians cannot afford to take up EU funds.

Gandul reads that the government set up a reserve fund of 23 million euro for MPs belonging to the the Democratic Liberal (PD-L) and Social Democratic (PSD) parties - the two groups forming the governing coalition -  in an attempt to secure their vote for the 2009 budget. The funds would be used by the coalition parliamentarians to propose amendments for the colleges their represent.

The decision was taken after two rounds of negotiations last week. According to governmental sources quoted by the newspaper, the fund was proposed by the prime minister and sustained by the Finance minister Gheorghe Pogea.

It appears that the fund allocates 70,000 euro for each Parliamentarian, amounting to 23 million euro for a total of 328 senators and deputies belongign to the two coalition parties. The money will be used by MPs to support all sorts of programs within their constituencies, like rehabilitation of schools or churches and to deliver their promises to the voters.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has fired 61 employees of the Government Control Body, on grounds that they were not trustworthy, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Sources within the institution declared for the newspaper that amont others a pregnant woman was fired, while another one was on leave as she just gave birth - and it is not legal to fire such employees.

Moreover, the government's general secretary Daniela Andreescu declared that the decision was taken due to an emergency ordinance that rules the reshuffling of the Government Control Body.

Elsewhere in the news, Cotidianul reads that even though both the Prime Minister and the President encourage people to take up EU funds, it seems that they cannot afford to. One of the main reasons is that people need to take up a credit to be able to prove they can co-finance a proposed project and thus take EU funds.

As both interest and exchange rates increase, people are compelled to pay higher rates than estimated. Vladi Consulting representative Flori Marica declared that more and more people consider backing off because they are afraid to commit to such projects given the economic conditions.

For example, a 10-room guesthouse would cost about 400,000 euro to build, of which half should be financed by the owner and half by the EU. The solution is to take up a credit but the rates are just too high. Marica declared that banks should consider putting up some offers for people considering taking up EU funds, to attract new clients.

Romanian Academic Society think tank member Sorin Ionita declared that in Hunedoara, West Romania a third of the beneficiaries consider withdrawing from projects due to the harsh economic conditions.

Consulting companies declared that should banks fail to relax their policies, people would not be able to co-opt EU funds.


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