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What the newspapers say: February 8, 2011

de A.C.
Marţi, 8 februarie 2011, 9:46 English | Press Review

Tens of police and customs officers were detained by anti-graft prosecutors at customs in West Romania, as part of a cleansing process at Romanian borders. Romania’s Central Bank will withdraw money from the IMF only in emergency cases but for 2011 the state needs current loans of 4 billion euro. Where will the state get the money, one newspaper wonders. When will Romania get rid of operations on surgery tables worth 3 million euro that fall apart is another key question on today’s press.

Evenimentul Zilei reads that the cleansing at Romanian customs continues as promised by President Basescu this weekend and former Interior minister Vasile Blaga. Over 1,000 police officers from various Bucharest police stations, officers and anti-graft prosecutors together with special troops organized a search at 6 AM this morning at Romania’s West borders in Stamora Morvita, Deta and Cruceni and Naidas and Oravita.  

Searches were also conducted in several cities across 10 counties and in Bucharest, at the homes of those under investigation – about 100 customs police officers, 30 customs officers and 20 cigarettes smugglers. There are 160 customs police officers at Moravita customs and 150 at Naidas. 

According to judicial sources, they will be brought in Bucharest for hearings. 

Romania libera wonders where the government will take the 4 billion euro it needs in 2011 if the agreement with the IMF is a precautionary one. The decision of the government to give up the last IMF installment might be a signal of force if financial markets will consider the country fiscally healthy or a signal of panic if investors will consider that the real reason is that Romania did not respect the requirements of the IMF.  

This year however Romania needs to take up loans worth 4 billion euro and the interest rate paid will depend by the government’s credibility. In either case, the interest rate will be higher than the 3% paid to the IMF. It could increase to 5% for euro loans from local banks or even more in the case of Eurobonds offered by foreign investors.  

Central Bank governor Mugur Isarescu announced that Romania will receive the last EU installment worth 1,35 billion euro from the EU most probably in March or early April.  

10,000 Romanian doctors are ready to leave and work abroad even if the medical personnel in Romania is already insufficient Gandul reads. However, hospitals are not better equipped either as surgery tables fall apart with their patients. Health ministry recently decided to merge hospitals in Romania on grounds that small hospitals use resources that big hospitals lack. 

However, the measure is not a guarantee to resolve problems in hospitals. With a deficit in the health insurance budget of almost 1 billion euro in 2010, the system is in a lot of trouble and doctors are not the biggest problem they have.

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