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What the newspapers say: July 17, 2008

de Radu Rizea
Joi, 17 iulie 2008, 9:06 English | Press Review

The highways, the ways of Justice and the bursting scandal about the Roma fingerprint collecting campaign are the main issues that make the news on Thursday, revealing contradictory positions within families, systems and parties.

The state budget reshuffling brought more money for the highways construction area - some 1.5 billion euro (1 euro = 3.6 RON). In an emergency ordinance yesterday, the Government increased the budget income with 3.8 billion RON, most of it from VAT collection, while the public spending increased 4.4 billion, Evenimentul Zilei notes.

Jurnalul National has some astonishing news: Romania may have 1,000 kilometers of highway in the next four years, according to Transport Ministry deputy minister, Sorin Bota, who explained that contracts for 600 kilometers are signed since 2004 and the negotiations for the rest of 400 kilometers are in a very advanced stage.
An amazing wonder, considering that not even one kilometer of highway was built last year in the existing projects, not to mention that the 600 kilometers already contracted are a bare fantasy, designed to pull millions from the budget as compensations for the fact that the State doesn't fulfill its part of the deal - getting the terrain.

Still, the Government maintains a straight, coherent image: it keeps changing its mind about everything. After accepting the growth of the minimum wage in winter, after claiming last month that this is impossible, the Government accepted yesterday to increase, in the end, the minimum wage to 540 RON in October and 600 RON in January 2009, Gandul informs.

For something completely different: The "Clean Justice Initiative" issued a report pointing at the fact that the Romanian Justice is under political pressure. The report pinpoints several problems, including some regarding the Supreme Council of Magistrates and the National integrity Agency, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

As if attempting to support the report, Romania Libera informs that the largest corruption scandal in Romania ended, of course in favor of the corruption suspects. Former Economy Minister Codrut Seres and former IT&C Minister Zsolt Nagy will not be prosecuted for the corruption and espionage charges against them. International spy Stamen Stanchev was also exonerated. Bank reports showing dubious funds owned by one of the former ministers were not considered as evidence of corruption.

In Italy, the campaign for collecting the fingerprints of Roma immigrants continues. Romania Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu finally expressed his concern with the discriminatory treatment and asked the Foreign Minister to be "more active", although over a month has passed since the scandal burst. According to Gandul, Tariceanu asked the officials to "keep a close contact with the Italian authorities".

Meanwhile, Elena Basescu, daughter of Romania president Basescu, along with a Liberal-Democrat colleague, posted her fingerprints on the postal boxes of Italian European Parliamentarians in Brussels, as a protest against the Italian campaign, Gandul reads. On the other hand, some newspapers say that her father, the President, seems to have agreed with the campaign, after discussing with the Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni.

To put an end to all discussions, Maroni said he doesn't care about all the fuss around his discriminating policy and that the fingerprinting collecting campaign will continue, regardless the scandals around it, Cotidianul reads.

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