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What the newspapers say: February 20, 2008

de Radu Rizea
Miercuri, 20 februarie 2008, 9:05 English | Press Review

Most news and front page headlines discuss the situation in Kosovo, as well as the possible effects of the Romanian refuse to recognize the independence of the province. Still, Romania's position may suffer some adjustments, nuances have already been brought up, even though a Stratfor analysis indicates that the Hungarian minority may be the next to cause similar moves.

"Romania introduces lights and shades in its position towards Kosovo" is the title in Evenimentul Zilei. The presidential Defense counselor, general Constantin Degeratu, declared that Romania may have to change its point of view accordingly to the European position. Even president Basescu, who firmly declared that Romania will not recognize Kosovo, had previously accepted that Romania will obey any decision of the UN Security Council. Degeratu added that a good time to find a viable and peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem may be the NATO summit in Bucharest (April 2-4).

Also in Evenimentul Zilei, Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu offers an interview, explaining why the Kosovo situation can not be considered as a precedent. Sejdiu says that Kosovo will maintain a friendly attitude towards Romania and that he believes Romania will gain a "fair view" on the situation.

Meanwhile, the UN troops were forced to abandon a border checkpoint last night, because of the attacks initiated by Serbians in Kosovo, Gandul reads. During the night, the US troops blocked the Jarinje border point. According to unofficial sources, Serbia gathered some significant military forces near the border with Kosovo, same Gandul informs in its online edition.

"Tariceanu hit three times because of Kosovo", Cotidianul reads. One: the main Opposition party, the Social Democrats (PSD) intend to submit a censure motion against the Government, taking into account the political blockage and the recent different position expressed by the Hungarian minority governing partners (who spoke in favor of Kosovo's independence). Two - Liberal vice president Ludovic Orban demanded PM Tariceanu to expel the Hungarian minority representatives from the Government, because of the same reason. Three - A European Parliamentarian, also a Liberal, openly criticized Romania's position in the Kosovo situation.

At the same time, Romania Libera quotes a Stratfor study that point at the fact that the Kosovo independence may stir the nationalist feelings among the Hungarian minorities in the Eastern Europe as well as within the nationalist groups in Hungary.

In the economic news:

- Central Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu speaks against the decrease of VAT for basic food products, showing that a fiscal relaxation period is the last thing Romania needs (Gandul).

- The House of Deputies adopts the motion against the car tax, but the Government already changed its name in "environmental tax". (Gandul)

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