Romania's government decided to tax meal tickets. Elsewhere in the news, state employees with lavishing salaries escape the salary cut. Last but not least, journalists vs. Romania at CEDO.

Romania's government decided to tax meal tickets, Adevarul informs. It's part of the austerity measures included in the Agreement supplementary Memorandum Romania sealed with the IMF, the European Commission and the World Bank, which is due to come into force on June 1. Capital gains, including interests for bank deposits and compensation payments, are to be taxed as well.

Another measure Romania and the IMF agreed upon was to start taxing IT programmers for their salary. Plus, the social contributions, including pensions and unemployment benefits, will be 15% lower from June 1. Part of the measures will be enforced before the third EU instalment is released. The memorandum also entails measures already announced by President Basescu last week, namely a 25% cut in salaries, including bonuses and other salary incomes for everyone working in the public sector.

The 13th salary is to be dismissed as well. In order to receive the fourth instalment from the European Commission, the government needs to show progress in implementing the 2010 budget, which aims for a 7% budget deficit target, reducing transfers to local authorities and cutting heating subventions. The President engaged to have all monitored companies reducing their debts by 2.5% per quarter. Plus, the salaries' fund for the state sector is to be reduced in 2011 by sacking 70,000 people, so that the number of people the budget would have to support by the beginning of next year would count 1.29 million employees.

Meanwhile, state employees with lavishing salaries escape the salary cut, with the Government "asking" them to not take away all their money, Gandul reads. Officially, staff belonging this category are not employed by state companies. The newspaper reads the Government intended to "ask" them to leave some money for the taxes, meaning to implement a "solidarity tax".

The confusion is valid for managers running companies with state capital, authorities, independent authorities, CEC Bank (state bank). The paper claims that should their salaried be reduced as well, the government would save hundreds of millions of euros. The PM's personal councillor Andreea Vass Paul said the solidarity tax should be applied to politicians as well. Vass added that the Government should call a general meeting for all the companies where it is major shareholder and impose a cut in the salaries' budget.

Journalists vs. Romania at CEDO, Romania Libera reads. An increasing number of Romanian journalists seek and get justice in the European Court. The Romanian state lost five trials in two years against journalists and there are many other waiting a verdict from Strasbourg. The main reasons for which journalists go to CEDO are the lack of grounds, the breech in the freedom of expressions or a breech in the right of a fair trial.

Ioan Barb, for example, a journalist from Hunedoara, lost against the state in Romania and was condemned to pay a 15 million old lei fine and 180 million old lei for libel, insult and moral damages. But the European Court for Human Rights ruled in favour of the journalist. He was first sued in Romania after he published an article on a dubious business belonging to the German Forum President in Hunedoara. Strasbourg noted that the Romanian court did not offer sufficient reasons for the condemnation of the journalist.