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What the newspapers say: November 20, 2009

de C.B.     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 20 noiembrie 2009, 8:52 English | Press Review

Reuters analyses the Romanian public sector: lack of competition and disrespect, all in high figures. Elsewhere in the news, the Romanian Finance chief was arrested for bribe. Last but not least, Romania sells its wild horses from the Danube Delta to see them turned into salami.

Reuters analyses the Romanian public sector, Cotidianul reads. According to the news agency, the Romanian public sector staff number is huge, the lack of common sense is just as substantial as 20 years ago and the high incomes are unjustified by a lack of competition. The Romanian National Union Block (BNS) leader Dumitru Costin said Romania supports 1.3 million state employees. That is a third of the country's income receivers, in comparison with Hungary, a country which pays one fifth of its salary receivers from the state budget. Romania needs to cut 150,000 jobs to respect the IMF conditions for the year to come.

Costin says that councils managing communities of 6,000 people have the same number of employees as councils administrating communities of 200,000 people. Many of them are friends, lovers, relatives that don't do anything worth an income, Costin opinionated. In the Health sector, 85% of the budget is spent on salaries, with practically no money left for investments. Plus, Romania has three times the number of necessary high schools.

20 years after the fall of the communism, public services employees are still treating people with the same solid disrespect: tax clerks ignore citizens by taking long coffee breaks, there are long queues to get a train ticket or to post a package. ING chief economist in Romania Nicolaie Alexandru-Chidesciuc says that cutting the number of state employees will not solve the problem. There's a need for training courses, computerised systems and education.

According to him, the state system is not competitive. Some salaries reach 10,000 dollars a month, a huge sum for Romania. State employees are generally paid better than those working in the private sector. The 2008 bonuses represented half of the salaries the state budget paid.

Romanian Finance chief Ionel Olari (52) was arrested yesterday for having received a bribe during his time as the chief of the Financial Guard in Timis (West), to close an eye on the "Radisson affair", Adevarul informs. Real estate developer Radisson fooled over 110 persons and several companies, selling them apartments, only on paper, worth of a total of three million euros. The apartments were supposed to be located in a residential neighbourhood, but it has never been built.

The crooks, Ciprian Nistor and Andrei Nadasdy, went on with the affair in West Romania for about three years. The ex-Timis Financial Guard chief is accused to have received from Nistor 52.815 lei that paid for overseas holidays, so that he would not verify the Radisson Invest, Radisson Investment Group and Radisson Building activities and would not sanction these companies the National Anticorruption Direction in Bucharest informs.

Romania sells its wild horses from the Danube Delta, Evenimentul Zilei reads. There are currently 10,000 wild horses in the Delta that are not cared for by anyone, except those who want to see them turned into salami. The horses used to be looked after by locals. But today only the old remain in the villages, while the young migrate to cities. In Letea forest alone, the natural reservation protected by UNESCO counts 3,000 wild horses. They destroy the special local vegetation.

“Arca lui Noe” Foundation chief Mihaela Eremia accuses an ecological disaster. She came up with a project meant to save both the forest and the horses. She wants to move part of the horses in a nearby forest. Part of them should populate the medieval citadels from Transilvania, to encourage tourism. She also wants to see the horses going to places that have been affected by floods and people lost their animals.

Ex-agriculture minister Gheorghe Flutur seemed to have liked the proposal, as did the staff caring for Transilvanian medieval citadels. But once the Agriculture minister changed, the pursuit was blocked. The local mayor administrating Letea forests told her to help him with the cows if she wanted any favour. She then investigated the local vet, who turned out to declare cows ill and confiscate them without performing any prior tests, therefore leaving people without a source of food.

The mayor eventually agreed to move part of the horses and the project was joined by the Tulcea county Forest Authority, "Save the Danube and the Delta" Association and Prince Charles Foundation, Eminescu Trust. The army pledged to help them see the project through. People allegedly signed a contract with the state, allowing them to use the horses, but they could not own the animals.

Everything was blocked again when local vet authorities ruled that 80% of the horses had an infectious anaemia and had to be killed. The local peasants who were brave enough to contest the result and decision saw their houses burnt. A vet from Hunedoara (West) ran some tests and found out horses were healthy. Mass media read about Italian mafia who wanted to get the horse meat: they were breaking the horses' knees and plucking out their eyes. A healthy wild horse has great value, whereas a handicapped one can be taken out of the country for free, the activist says, explaining that in Italy they make mortadela with horse meat.  

A second type of mafia developed: locals capture horses, implant them with chips, claim ownership and export the animals. About 1,000 horses have been sold under their real value. The project meant to save the horses is stagnating.


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