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What the newspapers say: February 7, 2008

de Radu Big
Joi, 7 februarie 2008, 9:19 English | Press Review

Except for the CNSAS problems (the body that should unveil the collaborators of the Communist political police, Securitate), it is all about money in the headlines on Thursday. Cut from an already weak budget to make electors smile again (not for long, most analysts say), stolen without any restriction from international ecological interest sites or obtained by tearing down Bucharest landmarks in the name of real estate development, the cash makes it to all front pages.

One of the main activists in unveiling the collaborators of the Communist regime, Marius Oprea, PM counselor on national security, says that the new rules for the functioning of CNSAS (the body enabled to research the Securitate archives) make the institution stronger. The "political police" expression was dropped, but it previously only restricted the investigations, said Oprea for Evenimentul Zilei.

„Neue Zürcher Zeitung“, the main German language newspaper in Switzerland, quoted by the same Evenimentul Zilei, comments that the Romanian state continues to treat its citizens are subjects without any rights. In Cotidianul, university professor Ioan Statomir sees quoted his comment made for the new Ordinance has the same vice, in another shape, and may very well be slammed by the Constitutional Court.

The rest of life in Romania is going as poor as usual. Senators approved the VAT decrease for basic food products down to 5%, most newspapers note, one day after the prime minister, the Finance minister and the Central Bank governor warned that we need an austerity budget in 2008. Gandul adds that the measure will cost the state budget some 57 million euro.

Where else do we lose money? In the price for natural gas imports, some might say. The Government attempted three times to get in touch with Gazprom officials, but faced a refuse each time. Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian blames Basescu and his attitude for the coldness in Moscow, Cotidianul reads.

And also in Cotidianul, another spending that makes the budget tremble: the Bechtel highway, which came to cost over 10 million euro per kilometer, while other highways in Romania were built under 3 million. The total to be paid to the US-based company is now over 5 billion euro, roughly equal to the money sent home by 2 million immigrant workers in one year.

Jurnalul National adds to the lost money list the Danube Delta, where the Accounting Court found hundreds of thousands of euro spent for works that were never conducted or even for bills paid twice.

And also in Jurnalul National, the sad announcement of a huge loss for Bucharest: the Central Bank tennis courts (Arena BNR) will be shut and transformed in a real estate development project. The place where Ilie Nastase played the finals in the Davis Cup is lost because its 9 hectares are worth a fortune - some 6,000 euro per square meter. Well, good-bye!

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