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What the newspapers say: May 12, 2006

Vineri, 12 mai 2006, 0:00

The Friday newspapers focus on the coming European Commission’s report, following a draft that circulated among high Commission officials which was revealed yesterday by Reuters. The document lacks conclusions yet, but grants four red flags for Romania’s finance and agriculture.

The dailies also bring to the front the open conflict between president Basescu and PM Tariceanu who did not meet yesterday although both of them were in Vienna, the former still in the hospital after hernia surgery, the latter taking part to a charity football game along with other high EU officials.

The rift between the two might lead to a motion in the Parlaiment to overthrow Tariceanu’s Government.

Romania Libera writes about the draft project and the red flags that signal serious areas of concern for the European officials. The document revealed yesterday shows Romania will receive four red flags for agriculture and finances. This statement contradicts the authorities in Bucharest who promised no red flag for this report.

The Commission’s report reduced the number of red flags from 14 to 4 for Romania, and from 16 to 6 for Bulgaria. Bulgaria seems to be a hot potato following the mafia like style assassination of a controversial businessman in Sofia on Thursday.

Cotidianul elaborates on the red flags. One warning concerns the technical management of finances. The computer system for VAT collection is not yet compatible with the ones in EU which renders difficult the VAT collection on the internal EU market after January 1.

The computer system should have been implemented in the beginning of this year but the action was delayed by the Finance ministry that justified postponement due to the rigorous check-ups of the tenders requested by the EC Delegation in Romania.

The other three red flags go to agriculture. One sanctions the payment agencies for farm subsidies that are still not functional, which might lead to the withholding of the funds for farmers. Still lagging is the animals’ registration system. The fourth red flag goes for the lack of veterinary sanitary facilities for preventing the mad cow disease.

The draft report did not contain a date recommendation on whether Romania and Bulgaria should join the EU in 2007 or 2008, according to Reuters which managed to obtain the document. Moreover, it wrote that even if the two countries join the bloc on time, they will not enjoy the full financial aid from the EU because key reforms have yet to be completed.

The EVZ explains that Holland and Germany requested a postponement of the Black Sea countries’ accession, hence the blank conclusion on the draft yesterday. The EU officials will fill it in on the release day. This is meant to create extra pressure on Bulgaria and Romania, but also on the countries that have not ratified yet the Accession Treaty.

Nine out of 25 states expect the May report in order to endorse the Treaty, among which France, Germany and Finland.

Adevarul puts the spotlights on president Basescu who runs the country from the hospital room. Yesterday, he received visits from Romanian ministers, talked on the phone with European officials, and signed decrees.

EVZ writes about the visit Basescu did not receive, that of PM Tariceanu’s, who seemed to have tried to invite himself to the presidential hospital cabinet but a blunt refuse by phone was very clear for Tariceanu. Te Romanian PM was in Vienna yesterday for a charity football game in which he played along top EU officials.

The surgery in Vienna upset some Austrian citizens who complained that people suffering of hernia are put on hold while Romania’s president is urgently rushed in the surgery theatre, according to Gandul. The TV channels also broadcasted these days the Austrian dissatisfaction regarding the surgery that came from the misinformation.

The Romanian president made clear that the intervention was financed by his family.

Theodor Stolojan puts into practice his promise of returning to political stage. During the next days, he will start a journey to the Liberal local branches that have shown support, for promoting the fusion between the Liberals and the Democrats, according to Cotidianul.

The Bucharest Liberals, among which there are the most loyal supporters of PM Tariceanu, invited Stolo for talks, but the answer has yet to come.

Gardianul focuses on a possible betrayal of some Liberals that might ally with the opposition for the motion that could overthrow Tariceanu’s Government. A virulent statement by Liberal Crin Antonescu, former Sports &Youth minister, named some of the party fellows that would like to see Tariceanu gone from the helm of the Government.

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