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What the newspapers say: November 21, 2008

de Radu Rizea
Vineri, 21 noiembrie 2008, 8:39 English | Press Review

Romanians are among the most unhappy Europeans, a study indicates. It is more than certain that the study didn't cover politicians, who seem happy to spend ten times the legal limit in this electoral campaign.

The lack of money and the poor health severely affect the quality of life in Romania, pushing it down to one of the lowest levels in Europe. Romanians are among the most unhappy Europeans, a bit above Bulgarians, but far behind Danes, Finnish and Swedish. One quarter of the Romanian families need financial or food aid from their relatives, compared to only 9% in older EU states.
All the problems Romanians face everyday caused the mental health status to fall also to one of the lowest levels in Europe, on fact the last but one place in the ranking put up by Eurofound, Evenimentul Zilei and Cotidianul inform in the same voice.

The above-mentioned study does not include - most probably - the politicians. According to Evenimentul Zilei, they are more than happy to spend between 100,000 and 500,000 Euros in this electoral campaign, even though a place in the Parliament will be rewarded only with a 60,000 Euros wage during the entire four-year mandate. An important mention: the legal spending limit is 50,000 Euros for those who run for a seat in the House of Deputies and 75,000 Euros for those dreaming for a Senate office.

Speaking of politics: Prime Minister Tariceanu announced recently that he intends tom maintain the PM office after the elections. A problem may arise, though: an article in Cotidianul indicates that none of the parties Tariceanu's Liberals may ally with is interested in his intention. Social Democrats would impose their leader, Mircea Geoana, as prime minister, and let Tariceanu be speaker in the House of Deputies, while Democrat-Liberals don't want Tariceanu in any official seat, Gandul reads.

Although the electoral campaign is at its peak these days, the political news is still scarce, the economic downturn taking up a lot more printing space in the Romanian newspapers. In an extensive article dedicated to the way the crisis affects Romania, Cotidianul points at a common sense solution that no one brought up so far: Romania should take on major infrastructure works. Former Finance Minister Daniel Daianu explains that taxes decrease in order to protect jobs is a measure that should have been taken in 2005, since it isn't likely to produce effects now. Instead, massive infrastructure investments, since those would not only create many jobs, but they would also help the general economy status.

Of course politicians are far, very far from such reasonable attitudes. In one of the latest outbursts of populism, Liberal-Democrats say that they will suggest a two-year delay in banks executing debts. In other words, those who didn't pay their debt towards banks could relax for a half of their mandate and not lose their homes, as Cotidianul informs, quoting former Bucharest mayor, Adriean Videanu.

Meanwhile, the situation gets more and more dramatic in the current account area, where Romania is close to losing 3 billion Euros out of its exports. Romania is still captive in the EU market, the financial crisis leading to a severe decrease of demand for Romanian products, from cars to the textile industry, Romania Libera reads.

The good news of the day is that the mobile telecomm market regulatory institution, ANC, will force operators to reduce their interconnection fees by 25 - 30% during the next 3 years, a decision that will significantly influence the total bill of end-users, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

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