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What the newspapers say: February 16, 2010

de C.B.     HotNews.ro
Marţi, 16 februarie 2010, 2:28 English | Press Review

This is how the Romanian state tricked the IMF. Elsewhere in the news, French recruitment agencies "hunt" Romanian doctors to cover the staff deficit in the Hexagon. Last but not least, historic moment: Republic of Moldova considers joining NATO.

This is how the Romanian state tricked the IMF, Gandul reads. According to the publication, the Romanian state pushed its 2009 debts into 2010 in order to stay with the budget deficit imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Last year, Romania spent 8.5 billion euros more than it could afford, concluding 2009 with 7.2% of the GDP budget deficit. The IMF agreement allowed for 7.3%. 0.1% means 120 million euros.

In reality, if one takes into consideration the state's debts to the private sector and what the state companies owe the state budget, sums postponed for 2010, the budget deficit gets higher figures. The state has to reimburse company owners 382 million euros in VAT. American Company Bechtel, hired to build the Transilvania motorway, should have received 200 million euros from the Transport Ministry for its works by the end of last year. But the biggest state owner is the state himself: Gandul estimates that the 10 companies monitored by the IMF owe the budget 1.3 billion euros.

State income dropped 5.4% of the GDP, while spending went up 1.4% in 2009. Last year, the Romanian Treasury was drained by the slower economic activity, and therefore less money from border taxes (-31.9% against 2008), -16% from VAT duties and 8.9% less funds from the tax on profit. Income tax was 0.3% up though, duties gave 14.2% more and property duties brought an additional 3.8% against 2008.

But social contributions gave the budget about 260 million euros less than in 2008, namely 22.26 billion euros. Economist Ilie Serbanescu told Gandul that the budget has not been adjusted and corrections will occur later and for higher costs. In 2009, the state paid banks interests worth of 1.41 billion euros, 66% up against 2008.


"Thanks, Romania, for good and cheap doctors!", Adevarul reads. French recruitment agencies "hunt" Romanian doctors to cover the staff deficit in the Hexagon. Most of the Romanian doctors end up working in a hospital in the rural areas, where the French refuse to be hired. In France or Belgium, Romanian doctors earn at least 3,000 euros per month, an incentive compared to 300, their monthly wage in Romania.

Many Romanian doctors are leaving not only because of the pay check, but they also indicate better working conditions. Some say that after specialising overseas, upon returning to Romania, hospitals will not have them. French Centre for Training and Counselling representative Sylvian Blondin, currently in Romania in the midst of a recruitment campaign, says that many doctors give up their roles in France because some recruitment companies do not train them and don't help them solve the employment bureaucracy.

Anaesthetists and Intensive Therapy specialists leave mostly to countries like Belgium, France and Germany; surgeons stand best chances in Germany, Great Britain, Spain and France and GPs are mostly needed in the UK and France. According to the Romanian College of Doctors, there were about 1,700-1,800 doctors leaving the country in 2009, 2,100 in 2008 and 1,500 in 2007. As for adapting to the medical system, the French claimed that Romanian doctors are just as competent as the French and have no problems in adapting.


Historic moment: Moldova considers joining NATO, Romania Libera informs. The Republic of Moldova, Romania's Eastern neighbour, considers giving up neutrality following the geo-strategic changes in the region, with Romania accepting to take part in the American missile shield. If Russia responds to Tiraspol's invitation of installing missiles in the separatist region of Transnistria, then military experts say there are good chances for Moldova to aim for the NATO umbrella.

Moldavian Defence Minister Vitalie Marinuta told Radio Romania Actualitati that "it is necessary to analyse all dangers addressing the security of the Republic of Moldova" because "the strategic political-military structure in the region is changing". He stressed that "neutrality costs": in case of an event, one has to defend oneself alone. He suggested Moldova would prefer what NATO has to offer over Moscow's protection.

Foreign Policy Association head in Chisinau Victor Chirila says there should not be any connection between Romania's decision and Moldova's thinking of shaking off neutrality. Having the Russian army in Transnistria will make the solving of the regional conflict more difficult and might take the problem to an international level. Moldavian reintegration vice-PM Victor Osipov stated yesterday that Moldova was a neutral state and excludes any foreign army presence.

Transnistria is a separatist region inside the Republic of Moldova, mostly inhabited by Russian-speakers with Russian passports. They use the Russian rouble and the Russian flag. Moscow has dislocated here a body of the Russian army. Simultaneously, Moldova is on the brink of another round of early election, as the candidate proposed by the rightist coalition governing has not gathered sufficient votes from the Parliament. Discussions in Chisinau are presently trying to change the Constitution and have a president elected by the population and not by the MPs.

Ukraine has taken attitude as well: new president Viktor Ianukovici promised Moscow that it will allow Russian troops to keep its base in Crimea even after 2017, when the bi-lateral treaty expires. Ukrainian official Vasili Hara told Russian publication Nezavisimaia Gazeta that Romania's decision turns Ukraine into a risk zone, adding: "Knowing what sort of man Ianukovici is, I'm convinced that as president he will not leave Transnistria without support". There are many Ukrainians who in Transnistria who voted for him in 2004.

Romanian military specialists claim that Transnistria is not only important for Romania and the Republic of Moldova, but for Ukraine, too. Should the number of Russian troops increase in the region, the Georgia scenario could rerun if Kiev might find itself thinking of joining NATO. Romanian Diplomatic Institute head Vlad Nistor believes that "the traditional NATO-Russia competition s defined at the political rhetoric level". At a practical level, "Russia took steps to get closer to NATO", and 20 years ago "nobody was imagining East European states in NATO", suggesting it would be possible for Russia to gain a NATO membership.


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