Romania is officially in the general strikes' month. Elsewhere in the news, there are other decisions aimed to get the IMF's next instalment which have not been listed in the intention letter. Last but not least, Romanians' biggest problem is that they leave everything for the last moment, Jonathan Scheele opinionated.
Romania is officially in the general strikes' month, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Following the pensioners, the state employees threaten to press the presidency and the government with protests until the end of the month, when they could declare general strike. Starting today, union members will rally the Government and the Cotroceni Palace for a week.
Street unrest will peak on May 19, when 40,000 people are expected to take part in the protest from Piata Victoriei, showing their anger over the austerity measures. Mothers on child care benefits expecting cuts might join the protests next week, bringing their babies along. Teachers announced general strike to begin from May 31.
On top of these, National Railway (CFR) workers will also show their bitterness over the 25% salary cut. The same reason might convince public transport staff from Metrorex and RATB to join the movement, which might block Bucharest. Teachers will not grade students in the registrar and will refuse to take part in the national tests and the baccalaureate to come, in an attempt to change the government's attitude. Students risk repeating the academic year.
Adevarul reads about other decisions aimed to get the IMF's next instalment which have not been listed in the intention letter. Among them, the cutting of the 13th salary; the rationalisation of the number of schools, cutting the number of hospital beds by 9,200 and shutting down at least 150 hospitals.
Other austerity measures: a limit for the salary fund of up to 39 billion lei; introducing the co-payment system for medical services; the tax for solidarity imposed on those working for state agencies with a certain income level; cutting 25% of the incomes of staff in companies funded mainly or completely by the state; additional tax for people owning several houses; 16% tax on copyrights and a 20% drop in spending for ministries, agencies and subordinated companies.
Romanians' biggest problem is that they leave everything for the last moment, European Commission Transports general manager Jonathan Scheele believes, according to Romania Libera. He spent five years in Romania as EU ambassador. He believes that in order to solve the issues of a poor country with European ambitious, the national ambitions must first be clarified.
According to him, by the end of 2006, not all chapters required by the EU had been solved for accession. The chapters were competitiveness, judicial reform and competition. The cooperation and investigation mechanism is still on for Romania, "who also needs reforms to answer the aspirations of the Romanian citizens and, at the same time, to manage the EU funds more efficiently", Jonathan Scheele says.
Scheele believes that the Romanian judicial system is more difficult to be reformed "for many reasons, some of them dating from the first moments after 1990, when the judicial system was founded. I believe the mistake then was to choose a very intricate structure when there were insufficient specialised professionals. And I believe a balance between independence and arbitrary in the Romanian justice system has not yet been found", he said.
He suggests that a total transparency in regards to what happened during the communist period in Romania and immediately after the December 1989 Revolution. Only when such a transparency is achieved will an efficient democracy be able to function in Romania. "As it is, there is the danger of focusing on exclusion and/or sanction for certain persons and, therefore, become a political instrument" Jonathan Scheele believes.