The scandal continues between the Romanian president and the prime minister, each one taking sides in the teachers' wage increase crisis. The first one says there are enough resources to support the wage increase, the other depicts a true apocalypse that would arrive in case the raise is approved. The good news of the day is that Romanians may soon be able to travel to the US without needing visas.
The recent scandal of the new Police cars, which had a price of 11,000 Euros, but were gifted with equipment over 45,000 Euros per car, ended with no less than 16 officers accused of illegal decisions in the case. The Control Body in the Interior Ministry decided that Gheorghe Popa, former chief of Police, and other 15 officers in the evaluation commission illegally attributed the contract for 1,836 cars costing 78,000 Euros each.
The report issued by the Control Body indicates that the procurement bid was approved without checking the prices for each equipment, only taking into account the global price. The decisions aimed at making a favor to businessman Bogdan Savin, owner of Ager Leasing (the company providing the cars) and his partners, the report reads. A small example of the way the equipment was priced is the alcohol test kit, which costs 9,100 RON (some 2,500 Euros) and was included in the Police cars' equipment for 13,604 RON, Evenimentul Zilei reads.
In the national scandal on the teachers' 50% raise, the battle continues between the President, Traian Basescu, and the Prime Minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The PM sent a letter to president Basescu, warning that the measure would have catastrophic effects on the economy: first of all, all budgetary employees would demand similar raises, then the approval would lead to double salaries in the state sector, compared to the private sector, imports increase by 5 billion Euros, two-digits inflation, 300,000 people sent to unemployment and an excessive budgetary deficit. In all - a loss of all macroeconomic accomplishments made during the past years, Cotidianul reads.
The same newspapers also offers Basescu's response to Tariceanu's letter, calling it an attempt to manipulate the public opinion, by exaggerating the data and attempting to create an apocalyptic image of the situation.
"The arguments used by the prime minister fail to mention that the Education Ministry managed to spend only 43% of its investments fund until October 1".
On his turn, prime minister Tariceanu claimed yesterday that the solution the Government may adopt on Tuesday is to postpone the raise for teachers until March 1, 2009. A 9% wage increase is approved for teachers anyway, and a 10% wage increase for all budgetary personnel is approved for January 1, 2009. The wage raises may add up to 50% through 2009, the PM said.
Three Liberal Party vice presidents said that the Government should block the law, refuse to approve unsustainable wage growth and assume responsibility for the measure. PM Tariceanu replies that such an action would be an open invitation to a censure motion in the Parliament, Evenimentul Zilei reads.
In another intervention on Wednesday, president Traian Basescu also pointed at the problems of the health care system, claiming that a recent report shows that 60,000 people die every year because of the system flaws. The report, put up by the former head of the National Health Insurance Home, dr. Cristian Vladescu, which quotes data from the European Union's institutions and the World Health Organization, reads that 60,000 people suffering from treatable affections die because of the problems in the health care system.
Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu failed to answer to the accusation, saying "I don't comment on such stupid statements. I'm too busy working to have time for this...", Gandul reads.
The good news of the day is that Romania may be included in the Visa Waiver program in a few months, along with Bulgaria, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Poland. all six EU states must meet certain demands to be included in the program, among which an agreement with the Washington institutions on terrorism prevention, passport and airports security, as well as accepting an Air Marshal on each flight towards the US, Gandul reads.