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What the newspapers say: September 23, 2009

de C.B.
Miercuri, 23 septembrie 2009, 8:33 English | Press Review

Romanian local farmers prefer to feed their milk to pigs instead of selling it to processors for prices that do not cover costs. The Romanian press also writes about a presidential commission report proposing the legalisation of drugs and prostitution. Last but not least, unemployment in Romania soars on its way to reach its climax.

Romanian local farmers prefer to throw their milk to pigs instead of selling it to processors for prices that do not cover costs, Adevarul informs. Most farmers are offered between 30 bani and 1.2 lei per litre and, by the time the milk reaches store shelves, the prices is four or five times bigger. The reason processors invoke for the low price is the fact that the milk is not produced according to EU norms, which see that no more than 100.000 germs and a maximum of 400.000 somatic cells should be found in one milk millilitre.

In order to cope with the costs, many farmers sell on the "black milk market", namely straight to their neighbours, managing to get 3 lei per litre. The money the processors would otherwise pay for one litre can only buy them one cigarette, a chewing gum or one candy, but it won’t cover the cost of a bottle of sparkling water. The Romanian inner milk market is worth almost one billion euros. But because the farmers do not comply with the EU norms, Romanian processors import from Hungary and Poland. The main diary companies in Romania are Friesland, Danone, Albalact and La Dorna.

Diary producers claim that the price is right and show that one litre of milk in the EU costs 12 to 22 cents when bought from farmers, whilst in Romania it costs 25 cents. But the Romanian Union for Cattle Breeders (SCTR) says that the milk price should be 1.5 lei, that is it should increased by 20%. Another problem underlined by SCTR shows that lucky farmers receive their money in 35-45 days from selling the milk, most of them having to wait up to two to three months. Plus, the prices for milk should increase starting October 1. If it doesn't by October 10, SCTR will stop milk deliveries.

A Presidential Commission for Social and Demographic Risks Analysis report launched yesterday proposes the legalisation of drugs and prostitution, Cotidianul reads. The document, for which Romania's President Traian Basescu takes responsibility, scandalises the Orthodox Church and sterns controversies within the public opinion. According to a press analysis, the prostitution market in Romania is worth roughly 450 million euros annually and would bring 100 million euros to the state budget.

The presidential commission report reads that by legalising light drugs, it would bring out the consumers, and by legalising "commercial sex", the prostitutes could benefit regular health checks, which could represent a means to control the spreading of sexual transmitted diseases, and would also insure social and psychological advice. The report proposes though that heavy weight drugs like heroin should be discouraged, but does not exclude the possibility of introducing syringe machines that would provide drug addicts with sterile equipment.

The Authority for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) chief Codrut Olaru declared that legalising drug consumption would be an unhappy measure, encouraging drug traffic. The report estimates a number of 28.000 drug consumers in Romania, up 70% against 2007. It also makes reference to a World Health Organisation report from 2003 estimating the number of Romanian prostitutes, both women and men, to be somewhere between 23.000 and 47.000.

Unemployment in Romania is on its way to reach its climax, according to Evenimentul Zilei. The Romanian Businessmen Association (AOAR) assesses that by the next spring, 200.000 more people will lose their jobs. Plus, around 150.000 jobless Romanians are coming from abroad after the financial crises made its impact. The construction department is approximated to be the worst affected, with the winter is approaching. According to estimates, out of the 300.000 official construction workers in Romania, half of them lost their jobs or are about to. The activity in this sector shrank by 40%.

The Government is set to make big cuts in the public sector to reduce staff costs: 150.000 jobs are to be axed next year. According to the Work Force National Recruiting Agency, Romania recorded 601.673 unemployed in August 31, that is 6.6%. Vaslui county (East) has the highest unemployment rate - 12.5%. But European Estimates indicate a number of 800.000 unemployed. Human resources specialists say they receive 5.000 applications for a sales agent position. Union Cartel Alfa president Bogdan Hossu said that out of the 700.000 Romanians left in Spain, a favourite destination for Romanian migrants, it is estimated that 15%-20% are unemployed.

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