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What the newspapers say: February 23, 2009

de A.C.     HotNews.ro
Luni, 23 februarie 2009, 2:03 English | Press Review

Some 80 million euro allocated for the social integration of the Rroma community went down the drain, without triggering any of the intended changes, one newspaper reads on Monday. Elsewhere in the news, one newspaper notes that family doctors can legally sell all their patients to another one for 6 euro/each. Last but not least, public violence seems to spread across Bucharest.

Some 80 million euro were allocated over the past several years to socially integrate the Rroma community, Cotidianul reads on Monday. The newspaper notes that the projects just managed to improve the government's image and increase the wealth of foreign experts.

Leaders of the Rroma community claim that the money was wasted because the Government just wanted to tick an important political criterion necessary to join the EU and did not strive to actually resolve the social problems the Rroma are facing.

Some 65 million euro came from the European Union through programs like Phare while the difference was covered by the Government. Rroma leaders declared for the newspaper that the EU projects aimed at short term changes and did not solve too many issues.

Thus, they argue that the programs should have been continued by the Government and local authorities. The passive reaction of the authorities determines the Rroma leaders to believe that the government was just using them to improve their image abroad.

Some 535,512 Rroma people live in Romania, according to official numbers provided by the latest census. However, unofficially, their number can add up to 2 million according to their leaders.

Romania Libera reads that a family doctor can legally "sell" all patients to another doctor for 6 euro/patient sometimes, without the knowledge or consent of the patient. Some patients even find out that they were "sold" as they seek the doctor in time of illness.

The practice spread after a Health ministry norm was enacted, regulating the methodology to take over such an activity. However, the norm does not stipulate anything regarding the need of the patient to be informed. Authorities declared that the method is completely legal but fail to talk about the ethic issues involved.

Most often, lists of patients are out for sale on internet forums, known as being accessed by family doctors. According to lawyers, patients need to be informed by the National Health Insurance Agency and not by their doctor.

Even so, a patient is thus worth 6 euro if a doctor feels that he/she wants to give up his practice. The newspaper reads, quoting local sources, that such a list can cost as much as 20,000 euro.

Elsewhere in the news, Gandul reads that gang fights in Romania are raising at a staggering rate. Romania's World and European wushu champion, leader of a local gang in Bucharest, Eugen Preda is officially a police officer in Brasov. However, he was involved in a fully fledged fight in Bucharest's Plazza Mall against guards securing the area. People in the mall were evacuated during the fight on Saturday.

Police chief Petre Toba declared for the newspaper that he couldn't accept that the image of the police is scattered into pieces because of Preda's behavior. He declared that he would request an official investigation into the incident.


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