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What the newspapers say: February 4, 2011

de A.C.
Vineri, 4 februarie 2011, 9:14 English | Press Review

All eyes are upon the Democrat Liberal party as it prepares for internal elections in May. In an interview, former PDL Economy minister Adriean Videanu talks about the elections within the party and reveals that the President of the party will no longer be Prime Minister. Elsewhere in the news, 200 customs officers are targeted by anti-graft prosecutors and might be retained in the following days on top of the other 70 customs officers who were arrested. Last but not least, one newspaper reveals the four reasons that keep us out of Schengen.  

All eyes are upon the Democrat Liberal party as it prepares for internal elections in May. In an interview for Gandul, PDL Adriean Videanu revealed that starting with these elections, the President of the party will no longer be Prime Minister as it happened until now.  

Videanu said that Boc might even remain President of the party. Videanu refused to take a side between Blaga or Boc, and said that they are not the only ones the party can choose from but underlined that Blaga is a very good option for the leadership of the party and that he would trust him with his vote.

Evenimentul Zilei reads about the massive operations of anti-graft prosecutors against customs police officers and customs personnel. On top of the other 70 customs police officers already arrested, anti graft prosecutors plan to take on another 200. Interior officials declared that the operations will not end here, with prosecutors investigating only the Siret customs, in North Romania. 

The actions follow Romania’s wishes to join Schengen considering that our country has been criticized for its weak or even lack of anti-corruption fight. Home searches revealed that the officers arrested were supporting the cigarettes traffic. The customs officers would allow them to smuggle about 200 boxes in 12 hours. 

The sum received by customs police officers amounts to 1 billion old lei for one shift only, which represented 25% of the value of the merchandise.  

Romania libera quotes British daily Financial Times that puts forward the blend of technical and political grounds that block Romania and Bulgaria’s adhesions to Schengen. For Bucharest, the most important thing right now is to get a calendar of its adhesion.  

The two countries have nothing left than to try and control the losses, the newspaper reads. The approval, even if it came with some reserves from France, of all eight technical reports proves that from this point of view, Romania is more than ready. However, if Bulgarians will not be ready, than Romania’s struggles are for nothing because the two countries will have to join together. 

The main problem of the Bulgarians is their border with Turkey, which is not secure enough to stop illegal immigration to the EU. It’s an unfair situation for Romania, as FT admits but there is little to be done about it. FT admits that Romania’s adhesion to Schengen is the only instrument EU has got to pressure Romania and Bulgaria to accelerate their fight against corruption and reform the judicial system. 

Nonetheless, FT admits that the introduction of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism among the criteria is unfair. Even so, FT reveals that reforms in justice are by far satisfactory.

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