Books on Romania
Update No: 122 - (26/07/07)
The people trust Basescu
Romanian president Traian Basescu is the only national political leader who
holds the confidence of a majority of the country's residents, according to a
poll by IMAS. 56 per cent of respondents say they trust Basescu.
New Generation Party (PNG) leader Gigi Becali is next on the list with 33 per
cent, followed by Liberal-Democrats (PLD) leader Theodor Stolojan with 31 per
cent. Less than 20 per cent of respondents trust Democratic Party (PD) leader
Emil Boc, former president and Social Democratic Party (PSD) member Ion Iliescu,
and PSD leader Mircea Geoana, and current prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu,
who trails on 13%.
The Alliance for Justice and Truth (DA)-comprising the PD and the National
Liberal Party (PNL)-won the November 2004 parliamentary election, securing 132
seats in the 332-member Chamber of Deputies. DA candidate Basescu won the
presidential run-off in December 2004 with 51.23 per cent of the vote, defeating
PSD contender Adrian Nastase. Basescu later appointed fellow alliance member
Tariceanu as prime minister.
Along with Bulgaria, Romania joined the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1st This
year, tensions between Basescu and Tariceanu have increased, and the coalition
government has come to a stalemate. In April, Basescu was suspended from the
presidency over charges of abuse of power in a 322-108 Chamber of Deputies vote,
following an initiative developed by PNL members of parliament loyal to
On May 19, 74 per cent of participating Romanian voters rejected Basescu's
impeachment in a national referendum.
On July 3, deputy prime minister and Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Romania (UDMR)
leader Marko Bela resigned from the government. Bela had announced he would
leave office shortly after the referendum because his party endorsed the
impeachment drive against Basescu. In a statement, Bela said the UDMR would
continue supporting the current government.
Do you trust the following politicians?
(Positive responses listed)
Current president Traian Basescu 56%
New Generation Party (PNG) leader Gigi Becali 33%
Liberal-Democrats (PLD) leader Theodor Stolojan 31%
Democratic Party (PD) leader Emil Boc 18%
Former president Ion Iliescu 18%
Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Mircea Geoana 16%
Prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu 13%
Methodology: Interviews to 1,300 Romanian adults, conducted from Jun. 9 to Jun.
17, 2007. Margin of error is 2.6 per cent.
Romanians trust ugly politicians more
Normally, good-looking politicians gain the trust of the populace everywhere
in the world, beauty being often associated with confidence. A poll conducted by
the Social Research Bureau had contrary results in Romania, showing that
electors tend to trust more in less good-looking politicians.
Thus, 14% of Romanians say that the ugliest man on the political stage is the
very head of state, President Traian Basescu, who also enjoys the trust of over
half of Romanians.
In the "ugly top", Basescu is followed by far-right leader C.V. Tudor,
former president Ion Iliescu and Senate speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu.
The most beautiful (and least trusted) are Cristian Boureanu, Prime Minister
Calin Popescu Tariceanu, "President's Blonde" Elena Udrea and
controversial Gigi Becali.
There is one fact that the Romanians are forgetting here. Their former dictator,
Ceaucescu was hideous and in a most sinister way, while he had a
gruesome-looking wife too in Elena. Ugliness is no guarantee of decency, any
more than good looks are.
Distrust of Tariceanu widening
Whether Tariceanu is deemed too good-looking to be an honest premier, there
are other grounds for his unpopularity. He had a reshuffle in April in which he
sacked an honest, if homely, woman in Justice Minister Monica Macovei. She had
made a serious effort to target corruption in high places. It could be expected
that the relevant people in the European Commission and the European parliament
will have demanded explanations
She had made this her mission, appointing a team of tough and independent
investigators to assist her. Her and their crime was to do so with spirit,
investigating and indicting lawmakers, ministers and even a former prime
minister, Adrian Nastase. This was to impress the EU Commission that Romania
meant business here, as well as for itself. Clearly that was going too far for
the top brass of Romanian politics. Maybe even a prime minister in situ would be
next on the list. Obviously she had to go and the investigators cowed and put in
In her absence there is unlikely to be any major prosecution, although a few
small fry may be flung to the wolves. These ugly facts explain Tariceanu's
unpopularity rather better than his looks. People don't like being ruled by
crooks and scheisters.
Extreme weather: temperatures expected to rise again after August 12
To turn to a very different subject Romania is suffering from severe heat.
PM Tariceanu held a video conference with local representatives of the
government on July 16th to establish the measures needed to be taken in the next
period to counteract the effects of a long period of drought still affecting
Ion Sandu, general director of the National Meteorology Administration said that
during the next week temperatures, which are expected to remain very high these
days, would fall before growing again starting August 12th.
The Romanian PM underlined the fact that weather conditions and forecast are not
a secret - as alleged in a Bucharest-based newspaper today - and that the
government was working closely with specialists to prepare the population for
extreme weather conditions in advance.
Ion Sandu added that after July 22nd the country would maintain its yellow code
as the temperatures would fall by 2-3 degrees Celsius. However, starting August
12th, temperatures will increase again tremendously.
Tariceanu summoned local officials to have them better involved in counteracting
the drought, to set up lists of vulnerable persons and to offer emergency
catering services so that they would not be forced to exit their homes.
The PM announced that there were 374 points of water distribution and 339 first
aid tents to help passers-by in 180 towns across the country.
Romania discovers environmentalism
Ioana Lupea, Liberal member, believes global warming is the ideal vehicle
for increasing Romanians' interest in ecological issues. The Romanian Liberals
have now discovered the environment as a political theme.
"A lot of rubbish will be dumped in our rivers before we finally adopt an
environmentally friendly lifestyle. We're still traumatised by the shortages of
electricity, water, gas and heat during the times of communism. The Liberals are
the first political party to recognise the potential of environmental discourse
and green policies, and they have the advantage that they're already in power.
The Rosia Montana project, the Danube delta and the rubbish dumps surrounding
Bucharest could be the deciding factor in a political contest that so far has
largely ignored ecological issues."
Ford Motor submits bid to acquire Craiova plant
Ford Motor recently submitted a bid - formally accepted by the Romanian
Authority for State Assets Recovery - to acquire the Automobile Craiova assembly
plant, Auto Industry reported.
Speaking regarding the process in Bucharest, Ford of Europe President and CEO,
John Fleming, was quoted as saying: "Although it is too early to discuss
specifics of our proposal, we believe it offers the best combination of
financial, technological and environmental commitments under which Ford would
turn the Craiova facility into a highly innovative world-class manufacturing
complex with significant employment opportunities." Ford believes the
facility in Craiova is a strategically important site for the company's future
growth. Ford of Europe produced 1.86 million units at seven assembly plants in
2006, and additional manufacturing space is needed to meet its ambitious new
product and growth plans.
Rompetrol's LPG division to up market share significantly
Rompetrol Gas expects increase in its market share two-fold to 15 per cent in
five years, Romanian national daily Ziarul Financiar reported on June 18th.
Rompetrol Gas is the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) division of Romanian oil
company Rompetrol. "We expect to reach at least 15 per cent market share on
the retail segment within five years by speeding up our investments,"
company General Director Toma Veron was quoted as saying. Rompetrol Gas expects
to achieve this goal by tripling its presence in the autogas sector and by a 10
per cent increase in the gas cylinder distribution segment, it was reported.
"We had a six percent market share last year and we expect to reach a seven
percent market share through investments planned in the retail sector,"
Veron was quoted as saying, adding: "We have 6,000 gas cylinder shops in
the country and we plan to increase this number by 10 per cent. We also plan to
triple the number of autogas distribution stores." The most important
investment of the company is a 16-million-Euro investment in two LPG terminals
in Arad in Western Romania and Bacau in Eastern Romania. Autogas sales show a
significant increase in Romania, while the company expects the government to
further promote this market segment, as autogas is seen as less polluting, the
newspaper reports. Rompetrol Gas also intends to sign cooperation agreements
with taxi companies, a move that could assure steady deliveries for the company,
according to the news source. Rompetrol's LPG division - established in July
2006 - expects revenues to reach 34 million Euro in 2007. The nearly 450,000
tonnes of gas sold on the Romanian LPG market section in 2006 is worth a total
of 320 million Euro, while Veron expects this number to reach 350 million Euro
in 2007, it was reported. A recent move in the Romanian LPG sector was the
acquisition of two Shell LPG distributors for 50 million Euro by Romania's
largest oil company Petrom in early June. Petrom's LPG division now has a 33 per
cent market share in the liquefied petroleum gas segment, followed by Romanian
gas distributors Butan Gas with a 21 percent market share and Crimbo Gas with a
10 per cent market share.
Petrom to invest 500 mln Euro in Ploiesti plant
Petrom announced on June 18th that it plans to invest 500 million Euro in
establishing a gas-fired power plant in the Southern Romanian city of Ploiesti,
Interfax News Agency reported.
The plant will have a capacity of 860 megawatts. Petrom is Romania's largest oil
company and is majority-owned by Austria's OMV. "Petrom approved in the
meeting of the Supervisory Board on June 15th the project to build a gas-fired
power plant," the company's announcement read, adding: "The total
investment for the plant including infrastructure investments will be in the
magnitude of 500 million Euro." The power plant will be constructed on the
premises of Petrobrazi refinery, starting in 2008, with full capacity expected
by the end of 2010; and will be supplied with natural gas through the pipeline
of Romanian state-owned National Company for Natural Gas Transmission (Transgaz),
the Romanian participant of the planned 4.6bn Euro Nabucco pipeline project,
which would carry gas from Central Asia through Turkey to Austria, it was
reported. Around 20 percent of the power plant's capacity will be used to supply
the demand of Petrom's own consumption in refining, exploration and production
segments, while the rest will be distributed in the national power grid.
"The new power plant will have a major contribution to the increase of
Romania's energy security and to the reduction of environmental impact,"
Petrom Deputy CEO Werner Schinhan was quoted by Interfax as saying, adding:
"It is a project developed in accordance with the European energy strategy
and in line with EU environmental requirements." Schinhan said that the
power market will see major structural changes in countries where aging
capacities are to be replaced by new, cleaner and less carbon-intense
technologies, and that entering the power market is an excellent opportunity for
Petrom. "This project sets the strategic growth path of Petrom and the OMV
group, as it is one of the company's sources of diversification and sustainable
development," Schinnan said. Petrom revenues reached 3.7 billion Euro in
Agip Romania to invest 7m Euro in new stations
Agip Romania, the domestic branch of the Italian petroleum group Eni SpA, will
invest approximately seven million Euro in opening five new filling stations
this year, according to company general manager Nicola Meuli, Budapest Business
Journal reported on June 26th.
The Italians announced their intention to invest 36 million Euro within the next
four years, which would boost Agip Romania's market share from two percent to
four percent after the investment programme is completed. "In order to have
a comfortable position on the market, we would require a minimum share of eight
percent," Meuli was quoted as saying by the press. He said that the big
infrastructure projects announced on the market represent a significant
development opportunity for the fuel retail market. Agip Romania estimates a 90
million Euro turnover, alongside a net profit of two million Euro for this year.
CEZ to invest in Cernavoda's reactors 3 and 4
CEZ Group Romania is interested in investing in reactors 3 and 4 of the
Cernavoda nuclear power plant, Ian Veskrna, chairman of the CEZ Board of
director, was cited by ACT Media News Agency as saying recently.
Company officials said the group is interested in investing 208 million leu in
Romania this year, in all sectors of operation. "We are interested in
reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda plant, but we are waiting to see the Romanian
energy strategy document approved, and the decision to invest in this sector
will be made by the group's board of directors," CEZ Romania Business
Development Manager, Doru Voicu, was quoted as saying. Group officials are also
interested in the Romanian co-generation market (electricity and thermal power),
it was reported. "For four months, we have been assessing the acquisition
of parts of the thermal power plants operated by local authorities in
Romania," Doru Voicu was quoted as saying. Construction works for reactors
number 3 and 4 in Cernavoda could start in the first half of 2008, with
estimated costs of 2.4 billion Euro. The authorities intend to select investors
that would contribute to the capital of the project company, together with the
plant's operator, Nuclearelectrica. CEZ Distributie reported profits of 27
million Euro for 2006.
Mobexpert looks to boost sales by opening new stores
Furniture group Mobexpert expects to post sales worth 30 million Euro on the
Bulgarian market in the next few years, after the opening of several large
stores, Ziarul Financier reported on June 20th.
"On the Bulgarian market, we intend to open three hypermarkets. In terms of
sales, I believe we can reach 30 million Euro," Mobexpert Chairman Dan Sucu
was quoted as saying. The group is close to completing a six-million-Euro
investment in its first hypermarket outside Romania, which will be located in
Funds to be used to promote tourism
Until 2013, Romania will benefit from 150 million Euro in funds for tourist
promotion and information programmes through the Regional Operational Programme
(POR), said Lucia Morariu, state secretary for tourism in the Ministry for SMEs,
Trade, Tourism and Liberal Professions, Nine o' Clock reported on July 3rd,
cited by Reporter.gr.
"We shall receive around 150 million Euro for promotion, through POR, until
2013, the money being used for the creation of a national brand for tourism, the
promotion of the domestic market and the creation of a pilot network of national
promotion centres," Lucia Morariu was quoted as saying.
The European Union will allot around 75 million Euro for the construction of a
national brand for tourism and promotional campaigns, it was reported.
Another 15 million will be allotted for the development of the domestic market
by supporting the promotion projects, while around 60 million will be used to
build a pilot network of national promotion and tourist information centres.
Initially, POR list included Suceava, Baia Mare, Oradea, Arad, Cluj, Ramnicu
Valcea, Sighisoara, Bucharest, Tulcea and Constanta, but the authorities want to
include all the county capitals on the list. Morariu also said that the
promotion funds, around 1.5 million Euro, will be directed, in a proportion of
70 per cent, towards the external promotion. According to the plan regarding the
development of Romanian tourism, the priority markets are Germany, Austria,
Britain, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States, while the secondary
countries are in the Scandinavian Peninsula, Benelux, Spain, China and Japan, it
"This year, we have a very significant growth on the littoral, so big that
it is very difficult to find places. Some 1.3 million Romanian and foreign
tourists are awaited, the latter being as many as 100,000," she was quoted