Books on Romania
Update No: 120 - (30/05/07)
There are three 'p's that matter in Romania - the parliament,
the president and the people. The two former are at loggerheads; but the two
latter are together against the parliament. Such is the verdict of a crucial
referendum, held on May 19th.
Hegel thought that the world revolved around the negation of the negation. Well
at least Romanian politics now does.
Romania faces new political landscape after referendum win
Romania is facing a realignment of its political forces after the vast majority
of the electorate voted not to depose President Traian Basescu on May 19th.
Basescu has returned to the office he had to leave during the referendum
campaign with a strengthened mandate, after three quarters of the public voted
not to impeach him.
The five parties from the government and opposition that had pushed for
Basescu's impeachment are now considering the consequences of their defeat.
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu must pay the price for the very
unsatisfactory plan by parliament to try and shut out Basescu. Leading
politicians from Tariceanu's National Liberal Party (PNL) have demanded that he
Tariceanu and his allies accused Basescu of violating the constitution by
interfering in the running of the government. The Constitutional Court rejected
The voters were not convinced by the moves either and saw Basescu as a kind of
knight in shining armour battling against corruption, the big issue in the
Tariceanu and parliament were against Basescu because the industrial mafia
wanted it, the president had said. Basescu said that he was for effective
judicial reforms to combat the mafia.
The unpopular parliament
Basescu also benefited from his victim status, which cast him in a good
light compared to the traditionally unpopular parliament. A very large majority
of the 322 members of parliament had voted for the referendum to impeach the
The result was that it looked like a conspiracy against gifted populist Basescu,
who knew exactly how to exploit its emotional message with the people.
Heads could also roll at the opposition Socialist Party (PSD): one faction
within the PSD, the so-called Group from (the Transylvania city of) Cluj, had
been against any impeachment of Basescu from the start, but they had been unable
to push past the ex-communist faction of former PSD chairman Ion Iliescu.
Iliescu, who was president from 1990 to 1996 and again from 2000 to 2004, forced
current PSD head Mircea Geoana to initiate the impeachment proceedings against
Basescu in parliament.
Tariceaunu for the chop?
Events could now rebound on the premier. He wanted to oust the president.
The boot could now be on the other shoe. Speculation in Bucharest is mounting
over whether Basescu will align himself with the Group from Cluj within the PSD
to launch a no- confidence campaign to topple Tariceanu.
Basescu can also rely on the middle-class Democratic Party (PD) which had been a
part of the government until Easter when Tariceanu threw them out of the ruling
coalition as part of his long-standing fight with Basescu.
It was still unclear how the other smaller parties that had joined the campaign
against Basescu would react as massive numbers of grass- roots supporters of the
ultra-nationalist Romania Mare (Greater Romania) Party, the Conservative Party
(CP) and the Hungary Party (UDMR) voted for Basescu in the referendum, as did
many supporters of Tariceanu's PNL and the Socialists.
All of these parties' supporters registered protest votes during the referendum,
and even before the vote, opinion polls showed a massive drop in support for
them. Basescu's PD, meanwhile, climbed by 18 percentage points in the opinion
polls over six weeks to reach 51.9 per cent in the most recent ones.
The trend and the resounding referendum victory suggest that Basescu could
reconfigure not only the government, but also the opposition.
German official: Romania needs early elections urgently
Germany has a huge influence on events, holding as it does the EU presidency.
German Christian-Democratic deputy Elma Brok, member of the European Popular
Party board, told Deutsche Welle on May 21st that the result of the May 19
referendum that had President Traian Basescu return to power proves the urgent
need for early elections in Romania.
He believes that the pro-presidential vote shows the backing of Romanian voters
for the continuation of the fight against corruption and of reforms in the
Justice system. Brok said early elections would help turn the will of the
Romanian people into future legislation.
He also said that in the event of early elections, he would immediately call the
European Commission to put up a report describing how Romania must fulfil
accession criteria. "Otherwise, the safeguard clauses provided in the
[accession] treaty must be applied", he warned.
Raiffeisen Bank Romania to expand network to 370 units
Raiffeisen Bank Romania plans to expand its network to 370 units by the end of
2007. The bank plans to expand in major and medium size cities, whereas a rural
strategy will be followed at a point by which this target will have been
conquered, Nine o'Clock reported.
"Big cities continue to generate large volumes and activity grows fast in
such areas," said Razvan Munteanu, Raiffeisen Bank Romania Vice-President
in charge of retail. The bank currently owns around 40 agencies based in rural
Greece eyes Romanian electricity deal
Greek Development Minister, Dimitris Sioufas, on April 19th announced that a
team of Greek experts would visit Romania in to discuss, with local agencies,
the prospective purchase of electricity from the newest EU member-state.
Sioufas spoke to reporters after a meeting in Bucharest with Romanian minister
of economy and commerce Varujan Vosganian.
The two ministers also discussed prospects for further boost bilateral
relations, as well as Greek businesses' significant presence in Romania, as
Greece is the third largest foreign investor in Romania.
Efforts to increase bilateral trade and economic ties even more will be
discussed during a visit by Vosgonian to Greece in the coming months. The Greek
minister's next stops will be Bulgaria and Turkey, for talks on mostly energy
Petrom to acquire two local Royal Dutch Shell comanies
Romanian national daily Ziarul Financiar reported recently that oil company
Petrom decided to exercise its pre-emption rights to acquire a majority stake in
two local businesses of Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Gas Romania SA and Trans Gas
Services SRL, Interfax News Agency cited.
"The acquisition will allow us to strengthen our position on the LPG
(liquefied petroleum gas) market in Romania," Tamas Mayer, member of the
Executive Board of Petrom, was quoted saying, adding: "This transaction
gives rise to synergies with our existing LPG business and will allow us to
increase our market share, which is now approximately 17 per cent for gas
cylinders distribution and two percent for car gas."
Petrom will acquire 55.3 per cent of Shell Gas Romania and 60 per cent of Trans
Gas Services SRL following the decision of Shell to exit the LPG business in
Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Petrom's
website reveals that the company has already been operating on the LPG market in
Romania through its own bottling and distribution network while it had already
possessed a 44.7 per cent stake in Shell Gas Romania and a 20 per cent stake in
Trans Gas Services SRL.
Shell Gas Romania is the largest gas cylinder distributor in Romania, while
Trans Gas Services is a propane supplier. Petrom has 593 filling stations in
Romania and operates a total of 211 filling stations in Moldova, Bulgaria and
Serbia. Revenues of the company reached 3.7 million Euro in 2006, it was
Romtelecom to invest 500m Euro in Internet network
Romtelecom plans to invest more than 500 million Euro in a Next Generation
Network and high speed Internet, the Romanian government said in a release,
according to Reporter.gr.
Romtelecom CEO, Yorgos Ioannidis, and Executive Legal and Corporate Affairs
Manger, Catalin Dima, met Romanian Prime Minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, and
Communications and Information Technology Minister, Zsolt Nagy, on April 24th,
when the telephony operator's executives told the ministers the investments will
be made from Romtelecom's own funds entirely, stressing that a correct and
predictable regulatory framework, enabling the company to recoup the planned
investments, is very important for the conduct of such a plan, it was reported.
"The new investment will allow the clients to benefit from the
highest-quality services related to access to the Internet, multimedia content
and telephony, at more competitive prices," the release said. Romtelecom,
in the period ahead, will present the government with detailed information
regarding its capability to provide Internet access in the Romanian schools, so
that the executive may decide whether special projects should be worked out by
which the government should ensure the Internet connection of all schools
throughout Romania, Reporter.gr said.
Tariceanu was cited as saying that providing Internet access to all Romanian
schools is a priority project and the government is willing to forge a
partnership with the specialised companies interested in achieving this project.
As a result, the Romanian premier decided to set up a technical working group
made up from representatives of Romania's Education, Research and Youth
Ministry, the Communications Ministry and railway operator CFR that should find
a solution for schools' Internet connections. Tariceanu stressed that one of the
government's priorities is to provide a predictable and transparent investment
climate in Romania.
MINERALS & METALS
Alumil Rom Industry to invest 9m Euro in next 3 years
Aluminum profiles producer Alumil Rom Industry will invest in the next three
years some nine million Euro to build a logistics centre and new production
lines in Filipesti, Prahova county and also deposits in Baia mare and Slatina,
Reporter.gr recently said.
Following the investments, the unit will reach a production capacity of 9,000
tonnes a year, compared to currently 4,500 tonnes a year. Alumil Rom Industry
owns a distribution network of 23 cities and administrates production
capacities, storage and offices spaces with a total surface of 26,000 square