Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Daily News – April, 6th

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EP President to visit Bucharest

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek will pay an official visit to Romania on April 11 and 12, when he is due to meet President Traian Basescu, the speakers of the two Houses of the Parliament, Premier Emil Boc and Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi. According to a press release issued by the Deputy Chamber, Jerzy Buzek will come to Romania on the invitation of Chamber of Deputies President Roberta Anastase.  Former Polish Premier Jerzy Buzek, now aged 69, was elected last July as president of the European Parliament, thus becoming the first East European who accedes to this high position. Jerzy Buzek is a member of the Civic Platform center-right party – led by acting Polish PM Donald Tusk – that is affiliated with the European People’s Party.

PM Boc demands ministers come up with layoff plans

Prime Minister Emil Boc asked ministers to come up with concrete restructuring plans in two weeks’ time and to analyse how to enforce civil servant layoffs, minister sources told Mediafax after Wednesday’s government session.

The sources said some ministers have already ordered an audit to establish the exact number of employees needed for the proper organization of subordinated institutions. “Government talks on public sector restructuring so far were only held on hypothesis level, but the prime minister demanded concrete proposals in two weeks from now. Ministers will also analyse what measures to enforce for extra staff, in places where jobs are held by civil servants protected by law,” the sources explained.

The move comes as last week, Boc demanded ministers to prepare a second stage of public sector restructuring after last summer’s government agency reorganization. The second stage will imply further layoffs in order to cut budget expenses. The plans are part of wider government projects to cut budget expenses by 0.2 per cent of the GDP, under the International Monetary Fund agreement. In August last year, the government decided that only 112 government agencies would continue working out of a total of 223. Under the decision, more than 9,000 jobs were cut, accounting for 21 per cent of a total of 43,268 budget positions in the agencies. Over 7,800 people were fired at the time.

Romanian MPs  defy crisis

Lawmakers can have their salaries and pensions cumulated despite the fact that other public sector employees are not allowed to do so. According to a Constitutional Court decision, the MPs and magistrates will continue to enjoy these benefits. Last week the Parliament’s Permanent Bureaus took note of the Court’s decision, a decision that was published early this week in the Official Gazette. Speaker of the Lower Chamber Roberta Anastase (PDL) argued that by applying the controversial law the Parliament’s Permanent Bureaus did nothing but respect the CC decision. ‘From a procedural point of view we are compelled to apply the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Consequently, at the Statute Commission’s initiative, the lawmakers’ statute law has been sent to the Permanent Bureaus in order to be modified in line with the Constitutional Court’s decision,’ Anastase explained. ‘Article 4, paragraph 5 of the lawmakers’ statute stipulates that the lawmakers’ salary can be cumulated with their pension and there is also a Constitutional Court decision that confirms the constitutionality of this provision. In this case the Permanent Bureau could only take note of this,’ she added.

Asked to explain this inadvertence, the MPs were unable to give a clear answer. Ruling coalition representative and Democrat-Liberal MP Sulfina Barbu stated the decision is an error that can be corrected. ‘Of course the Premier did not green light such a measure. It can be corrected by changing the statute,’ she claims.

On March 29, 2010, the Official Gazette published the Permanent Bureau’s decision to abrogate Article 1 paragraph 2 of Law 96/2006 concerning the lawmakers’ statute. Basically the leaderships of the two Chambers have eliminated through a decision taken during a joint Permanent Bureau meeting on March 22 the statute provision according to which ‘pension cannot be offered simultaneously with the salary.

Israel: IDF expands distribution of gas masks

The Home Front Command is expanding its gas mask distribution campaign, following a successful pilot in the Kiryat Ono area in the past few weeks. A new Postal Company campaign will be launched Tuesday evening, officially opening the process of distributing atomic, biological, and chemical kits to citizens’ homes across Israel.

Colonel (Res.) Yossi Sagiv, head of the Home Front Command’s Gas Mask and Protection Kits Department, says that the pilot generated a high response among many citizens, who arrived at the distribution stations to receive the gas masks, and that many used the Postal Company’s services and ordered the kits home. “We are not dealing with an operation, but rather, with routine,” a senior military officer said. “We intend to turn it into a policy whereby the distribution of masks is taken for granted and constitutes part of the emergency equipment of every citizen.” Source: Ynet

Taliban attacks U.S. Consulate in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – With a complex and deadly assault on the most vivid symbol of U.S. influence in this country’s troubled northwest, the Pakistani Taliban served notice Monday that it remains formidable despite a sustained campaign to wipe it out.

The midday attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city of Peshawar failed in its apparent aim to breach the facility’s gates, but it succeeded in reminding nervous Pakistanis and apprehensive U.S. officials that the militant threat here has not gone away.  Insurgents used at least two vehicle bombs, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to carry out the raid, which killed eight people. Hours earlier, a suicide attack killed 42 people at a rally for a political party that has aligned itself with the United States in opposing religious extremists. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said no American employees were seriously wounded. Source: Washington Post

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Written by Theophyle

April 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

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