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What the newspapers say: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

de C.B.
Miercuri, 24 martie 2010, 1:43 English | Press Review

Abused children, who were saved from human traffickers, are now abandoned by the state. Elsewhere in the news, three Romanian magistrates are still active, although the court has ruled out that they have been informers of the former communist political police. Last but not least, Romania’s explanation for buying 24 American second-hand F16 fighters, in spite of the strong competition, is poverty.

Abused children, who were saved from human traffickers, are now abandoned by the state, Adevarul reads. The only centre in Romania to host children who have been victims of human trafficking networks is to be evacuated the day after tomorrow. This is due to the fact that the building from Bucharest is to returned to its rightful owner, SC Bucur Obor SA. Bucharest's Sector 2 council has failed so far to find a new location.

The building has been claimed by its owner six years ago. It has never actually belonged to the local council. The "Gavroche" centre has been active for over 18 years. During this time, it has been the home of over 300 Romanian children, who have been recovered from various European countries and sent back by foreign authorities. Most of the underage have been found in France, Italy, Austria, Denmark and Spain.

The centre currently lodges 20 children and young persons, with ages ranging from five to twenty years. Nobody knows where these children will go on Friday. They have no shelter, no solution. The Tribunal in Bucharest rejected the request to delay the enforcement of the sentence. None of the Romanian public institutions sought to defend the interest of the children, who have been forced to beg or prostitute in the past.

These children are special cases and cannot be mixed with abandoned children, Sector 2 Child Protection department general manager Isabela Hurjui says. The owner of the building claims that they proposed to "Gavroche" management to move the children with accredited foundations or to pay rent, but none of these solutions was agreed. As it is, the children are likely to end up on the street this week.

Three Romanian magistrates are still active, although the court has ruled out that they have been informers of the former communist political police before the 1989 Revolution, Evenimentul Zilei informs. Ten magistrates received the sentence, but only seven of them thought they ought to retire. According to the newspaper, their situation has also touched the penal code, as they have given false declarations to the Romanian Magistrates Supreme Council (CSM).

Two more judges were also faced with the same sentence in January 2009. One is a judge with the Court of Appeal in Iasi (N-E), who worked for the Securitate, and the other is a delegate-judge assigned to the Timis Prison (West), who was a collaborator. They are still active in the judicial system, alongside a magistrate in Bacau (East). But the number of informer magistrates could be higher, as the 10 are part of a group of 29 exposed magistrates. The court rejected two other cases submitted by the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS).

The only punishment Romanian ex-Securitate collaborators face is not being able to have leadership roles. But magistrates have to submit an annual declaration, confessing whether or not they have worked with the Securitate. Therefore, a penal investigation is necessary and the CSM has submitted a request in this sense to the High Justice Court. In the meantime, the retired ex-informer magistrates live peacefully, receiving over 4,000 lei per month from the state.

Romania is buying 24 American second-hand F16 fighters, following Romanian Defence minister Gabriel Oprea's proposal, Gandul reads. The Parliament is yet to approve this decision. The American F16s are to replace Russian fighters MIG 21 Lancer, which were produced during 1958-1985 and updated in 1992.

Romania explained the decision to buy the second-hand F16- Lockheed Martin aircrafts, despite the competition - Eurofighter Typhoon and Gripen-SAAB - in one word: poverty. The Country's Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) issued a communiqué, published by the Presidency's website, saying that Romania cannot afford newer fighter aircrafts.

Military sources told Gandul that the state has paid one billion dollars for the twenty-four F16s, a special offer granted by the Romanian-American strategic partnership. Romania pledged to invest 4.5 billion euros in its air forces in 2008, before the economic crisis started to bite. Should the Parliament approve, the aircrafts will be delivered next year, defence Ministry sources added. According to them, this is a strategic decision taken by the Romanian state, addressing its national security.

There has been quite a competition to modernise Romania's air forces. Eurofighter promised a huge wave of investments in various sectors of the Romanian industry. There were even talks of opening a Fiat factory in Romania, since Italy is a major member of the European multinational Eurofighter consortium. The Swedish from SAAB promised to produce spares in Romania if the state would choose Gripen, guaranteeing contracts for the next 40 years. Later, SAAB improved their offer, asking for two billion euros, to be paid over a long-term and offering to wait for the money.  

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