The European Commission does not want a lower first car registration tax in Romania, but its full removal, a top Commission source told Another source from the Finance Ministry in Bucharest, also speaking anonymously, says Romanian authorities are aware that provisions related to this tax in the Fiscal Code introduced on January 1, 2007 are in breach with EU laws.

The two spoke as the head of the fiscal administration agency Sebastian Bodu, whom PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu dismissed from office last week, took stand against the tax as did the Romanian EU Commissioner Leonard Orban.

Not even the example of Poland - forced to remove a similar tax for the first registration of cars from its Fiscal Code - or Hungary, which has become the target of EU judicial procedures for a similar provision, would not compel the Romanian government to drop the tax.

Finance Ministry sources say there may be two reasons for the government stubbornness in this regard. The first would be to prolong as much as possible the necessary moves to return the already collected money to the population and use it for other purposes in the meantime.

A second would be the pressure of new car importers and dealers, a group which is favored by the tax at the expense of used car importers.