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What the newspapers say: June 24, 2009

de C.B.     HotNews.ro
Miercuri, 24 iunie 2009, 8:32 English | Press Review

Romania pays commissions for not using four billion euros awarded by EIB and EBRD. Elsewhere in the news, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to close 14 international missions. Last but not least, World Bank officials criticised Romanian Minister of Economy Adriean Videanu.

Romania pays commissions for not using four billion euros awarded by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), vice-prime minister Dan Nica stated on Tuesday, Cotidianul informs. The money is not used because it would increase the budget deficit agreed with the European Commission (EC) and with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Nica said during "Private Government", a debate organised by Business Standard, it was not allowed to spend more than the deficit, except if Romania dropped its EC duties and decided to go for a 10% GDP deficit.  

Lacking financing is a false issue, according to Nica. The four billion euros contracted in 2005, 2006 and 2007 "must be probably spent according to certain rules, auctions. These are EIB and EBRD money and must be spent accordingly to their rules, it's complicated. Therefore, we preferred investments from the state budget; this money remained unused, so we pay commissions for not using them. Very big commissions have been paid in 2007 and in 2008 as well!” Nica added.

Romanian Ministry of Foreign affairs (MAE) intends to close 14 Romanian international missions, Gandul reads. The embassies in Ethiopia, Peru and Malaysia may be closed and the budgets for other eight missions will be cut by 20%. MAE intends to save money by closing down more embassies in Africa, Asia and South Africa. The final decision is in the hands of President Basescu and PM Boc. Two countries most hit by the crisis, Hungary and Latvia, took the same measure.

Romania has currently 96 embassies in just as many countries and 32 general consulates, plus 12 permanent missions placed with international organisations. MAE lost 25% of its 2009 budget in May, during the budget rectification. MAE saw its plans for opening eight Romanian consulates in Italy reduced to three. Romanian news agency Mediafax informs that MAE will cut 20% in capital and staff spending for eight of its missions with large budget. MAE needs to spend 216 million lei less.

Evenimentul Zilei reads World Bank officials criticised Romanian Minister of Economy Adriean Videanu. World Bank says that the energy department must go on with investments and more companies should become private. Instead, Videanu proposes reorganising producers. Local World Bank country office manager Benoit Blarel said the institution wanted to see the detailed plan for the future two integrated energy societies. He also urged for more investments.

Romanian financial department representative Doina Visa said that if the cheap producers were mixed with the expensive producers, the first will lose out on investment capacities. She also stated that a company cannot become private "just for the sake of it, but because there are necessary investments to be made that the public sector cannot afford".

Economy Minister Adriean Videanuclaimed he discussed the restructuring with all electricity important producers and suppliers - E.ON, Enel, CEZ and GDF SUEZ - and they welcomed and "appreciated" his proposal. He also said that including Electrica in the two integrated companies should be done in such a way as not to distort the market and discourage loyal competition.

National Authority for Energy Settlement (ANRE) said the body is analysing three programmes for reducing the cost of electricity, with the results to be expected by the end of the current week. The statements have been made in Suceava (East Romania), when Adriean Videanu and World Bank officials took part in reopening a 400 kV axis, a project designed by electricity transport company Transelectrica. 80% of the money for the project came from the World Bank.


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