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What the newspapers say: January 13, 2010

de C.B.
Miercuri, 13 ianuarie 2010, 2:25 English | Press Review

The Romanian state was sentenced by CEDO to pay fine over religious discrimination. Elsewhere in the news, Gazprom official says it is time for Romania to decide whether it wants to be part of the South Stream project. Last but not least, a 57 year-old Romanian is to preside over the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Romania was sentenced by the European Court of Human Rights (CEDO) to pay 15,000 euros for religious discrimination against a Greco-Catholic parish, Romania Libera informs. The Romanian state refused the religious institution's right to use an Orthodox church for Sunday masses and the right to take the matter to court, according to Romanian news agency Agerpres.

Greco-Catholic parish representatives from Sambata complained to CEDO, accusing the Romanian state for preventing it to use one of its former churches that was transferred to the Orthodox Church in 1948, after the cult had been dissolved. CEDO judges ruled in favour of the Greco-Catholic parish, deciding that impeaching its right to appeal to justice was discriminatory.

28% of Sambata residents are Greco-Catholics. After the fall of the communism, in 1990, the cult was recognised again and they requested the right to share the church with the Orthodox. The plea was denied and the parish could not appeal to justice because the Romanian law considers that religious ownership of cult buildings is not a matter of court, but of mixed commissions. Strasbourg judges said that the Romanian law needs be changed, since it entails "legislatives gaps suspected to block access to the court".

Adevarul reads Russian energy company Gazprom vice-president Alexander Medvedev says this is the best moment for Romania to clearly express whether or not it wants to be part of the South Stream project, since Bulgaria is delaying its answer. This is the first time when the Gazprom official lists Romania on the list of the countries to host the pipe.

South Stream project is designed by the Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni to bring gas to Europe through a route avoiding Ukraine. In an interview for Southeast European Times, Medvedev indicates that the pipe will connect Russia with "one of the countries from the Black Sea, probably Bulgaria, then Italy, via Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and maybe other countries, too". He declared that Bulgaria might be replaced with Romania if the state refuses or delays its response.

Romania's official position sees Nabucco as chief priority, a project which competes with South Stream, but the country pledged to give Russia all the support needed to complete their pipe. Romania was not officially invited so far. Negotiations are still rolling in Bulgaria and a feasibility study is carried out in Romania. A Gazprom delegation is expected this month to arrive in Bucharest. A similar delegation will visit Bulgaria as well, before the final decision is taken.

Romanian industry representatives claim the country could benefit tremendously from hosting both Nabucco and South Stream, mainly from the gas supply perspective. Plus, it would bring jobs and Romania could become a more important diplomatic player in its relations with rich and resource consuming Western countries. On the other hand, it would make Europe more dependent on the Russian gas.

A Romanian man mediates the world's interest in space, Evenimentul Zilei reads. The only Romanian to have ever flow into space (29 years ago), Dumitru Prunariu, will take over the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), plus a series of challenges addressing nuclear issues, navigation, global warming and the limitation of natural disasters' effects.

He will head a committee focusing on the use of space for world economic and research interests for two years. Prunariu is 57. The Romanian Space Agency (ASR) will host in Bucharest a regional centre for data cast. One such centre might be built in Ukraine as well. ASR is member of the European Space Agency and Prunariu says Romania might become full member this year. The committee will manage the SPIDER project. Plus, it will also analyse the cosmic entities whose nearing the Earth might become harmful for the planet.

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