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What the newspapers say: March 31, 2008

de Radu Rizea
Luni, 31 martie 2008, 9:10 English | Press Review

More or less, it is once again all about the summit in the newspapers on Monday. Extreme security measures, with people who risk being shot in case, let's say, they step out on the balcony to get a cold beer, with hellish traffic and paranoid scenarios. What to expect from this summit? Anything ranging from Romania becoming a second Nazi Germany (if one reads the Russian newspapers) to building an over 100 kilometers-long tunnel from Russia to the US.

Evenimentul Zilei counts the stakes of the summit and concludes that there are quite a few challenges to meet. There are, on one hand, the official issues to discuss: new security challenges, developing the partnerships, making operations more efficient and so on. On the other hand, Russia puts pressure on the summit, and the member states are divided when it comes to inviting Georgia and Ukraine to join the Alliance. USA and former communist states seem to be in favor of the idea, while Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Holland are against. Croatia and Albania may be formally invited to join the Alliance, but Macedonia still has to work out some of its own problems, like its very name, which is a reason for a perpetual conflict with Greece.

Gandul finds it fit to put aside the politics involved in the Summit and focuses on the 30,000 intelligence officers from everywhere in the world who arrived in Bucharest in order to ensure the security during the summit. "Eyes in the skies", underground monitoring and ground checks take place everywhere. Curios old men are advised to stay away from their windows and balconies, for fear one of the snipers around may have a too eager finger on the trigger.

But snipers come and go, while Bucharest remains the same: a city where 130,000 new cars appear every year, despite the fact that the city was built for only 200,000 cars in all. A recent study put up by Eco-Europa indicates that the pollution caused by cars kills 20,000 people every year. Lung diseases incidence increased from 3.9 to 48.8 cases at every 1,000 people, Evenimentul Zilei notes.

As difficult as the traffic was before the NATO summit, the corridor shut for the usual citizens and reserved for official cars makes it purely impossible, Cotidianul reads. 15 minutes from the airport to the Parliament and 5 more minutes to the presidential palace is an impossible record for Bucharest, but official cars in the simulation pulled it off.

While expecting the show, Romanians may have fun reading the Russian daily Pravda, which managed to transform Romania into a future Nazi leader. According to the Russian daily, Romania may profit from the summit in order to rise territorial pretentions over Moldova and some of Ukraine, namely the Romanian inhabited areas and the Serpents Island. "By uniting Moldova with Romania, NATO would control all the South-Eastern Europe and, after Ukraine joins the Alliance as well, NATO will be able to push Russia away from the region", the paper comments. Moldova prime minister Vladimir Voronin even said it in an interview: Romania doesn't want to sign a border agreement because it hopes in an union with Moldova, Cotidianul reads.

On the other hand, Russia may get closer, in fact, to the US. Some rumors were heard, claiming that Putin will ask Bush to agree to build a 103 kilometers-long tunnel connecting Russia and the US, underneath the Bering sea, Jurnalul National informs.

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