Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Daily News – April, 12

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President Basescu lashes out at PDL

In a B1 TV show on Monday evening, President Basescu discussed everything going on in Romanian politics, criticising both the opposition and the ruling party. Next week the head of state will summon the government to consultations on public sector redundancies.

The head of state launched new ideas, such as raising the election threshold for parliamentary elections to 10 per cent. Basescu did not refrain from mentioning his predecessor, Ion Iliescu, who, he said, had played an important part in events surrounding the anti-communist revolution and miners’ protests. The president also made explanations regarding the acquisition of F-16 planes or the decision to send in more troops to Afghanistan.

By far, the president’s most vehement criticism was directed against the party he once led, the ruling Democrat Liberals (PDL). More precisely, Basescu argued that PDL’s new manner of electing leaders, by lists that include four vice-presidents, teaming up with the candidate for presidency in the party, indicates “a Bolshevik tendency in the party”. “I accept the fact they supplemented the number of vice-presidents. It was, probably, a necessary thing. However, to bring a list in PDL seems to me a Bolshevik tendency, as displayed by others. I say it openly: it’s a shameful step backward from PDL’s way of democratic functioning. A list is a clique list, no matter who features on it. Thus, the president appoints a tiny clique beneath his command,” Basescu said. He added it was for the first time in the history of PDL that such a thing had occurred. “I wish them the best of luck, but the fact that they turned the leadership of a party into a hybrid, the president’s clique, four appointed vice-presidents … No one would believe they are visionary figures in the party, no matter what their names are, I think this will not do,” the president argued. Basescu added that, given PDL’s intentions regarding internal elections, as well as the way the National Liberal Party (PNL) elected its leaders, by lists, at the Congress, the Social-Democrat Party (PSD), which elected its leaders by direct vote, proved to be the most democratic.

Moreover, Basescu argued that, beyond the questionable way in which it elects its leaders, PDL is also liable to criticism because of its attitude in administration.

As a matter of fact, the head of state also criticised the government, which mostly comprises Democrat-Liberals. He announced that he would summon the government to consultations next week, on the grounds that, when analysing statistics, he failed to find the sackings announced for the public sector. Basescu mentioned that the goodwill he showed when he attended government meetings, in his first term, proved inefficient, so that he decided to summon the executive to Cotroceni. Source: Nine O’Clock

France, Italy reaffirm support for Balkan EU bids

PARIS – France and Italy reaffirmed their support for attempts by Balkan states to join the European Union because they would bolster peace and stability. In a joint column in Le Monde published on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini called for increased action on granting visas to Balkan nationals and on EU adhesion talks.

Every state according to its merits and according to a rigorous process, but every Balkan state has a calling to join Europe,” the ministers wrote. “It is for peace and stability as well as for future generations. “This year could be a decisive year for the Balkans if we know how to give new impetus to skirt the real dangers which await us, indifference and negligence.”

Balkan states are lining up to join the European Union. Croatia hopes to conclude negotiations this year and join the bloc in 2012 and Serbia is applying for membership in December.

However, issues including tackling corruption and cooperating with International War Crimes Tribunal investigations into the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia have slowed progress. Source: Reuters

FDI keep downward trend – 2.8 times less

Foreign direct investments (FDI) totaled EUR 466 M in the first two months of the year, 2.8 times less than the EUR 1.32 bln reported a year ago, according to data released by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) yesterday. According to the Central Bank, all the FDI registered in January-February were capital participations.

In February, FDI were cut to nearly half the previous month’s level, down to EUR 164 M from January’s EUR 302 M, BNR data reveal. BNR revised downward the figure for the first two months of 2009, from EUR 1.37 bln to EUR 1.32 bln – higher than the FDI volume reported in January-February 2008, of EUR 995 M. Last year, FDI declined to EUR 4.89 bln – half the amount registered in 2008, covering 96.9 pc of the current account deficit. In 2008, non-residents made FDI in Romania worth EUR 9.49 bln.

On the other hand, the current account deficit of the payment balance soared by 64.3 pc during January-February from a year ago, to EUR 754 M, mainly because of current transfers going down 68.5 pc, according to BNR data. The balance of current transfers declined from EUR 989 M during January-February 2009 to EUR 312 M in the first two months of this year.

Last year, the deficit of the balance of payments’ current account went down 68.7 pc, to EUR 5.05 bln, after a 1.2 pc increase in 2008 to EUR 16.877 bln. In the first two months, services had a negative influence of EUR 138 M, though in the same months of 2009 they had a EUR 3 M contribution to curbing the imbalance. Meanwhile, the payments balance deficit rose by 10.2 pc in the January-February interval, from EUR 323 M to EUR 356 M.

Romania’s total foreign debt at end-February topped EUR 82.35 bln, up 2.85 pc from end last year. This takes medium- and long-term foreign debt at February 28 to EUR 67.737 bln (82.3 pc of the total foreign debt), up 3.5 pc from the end of 2009. After the first two months of the year, short-term foreign debt reached EUR 14.6 bln (17.7 pc of the total foreign debt), roughly the same level as at the end of last year.
Source: NBR (BNR)

US senators press Clinton on Mideast peace

An overwhelming majority of US senators urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday “to do everything possible” to shore up ties with Israel and thaw the frozen Middle East peace process.

Seventy-six of the 100 US senators signed a letter urging Clinton to ease tensions over Israel’s decision to build more settlements in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state.

We write to urge you to do everything possible to ensure that the recent tensions” over the way Israel announced its plans “do not derail Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or harm US-Israel relations,” they said.

“In fact, we strongly believe that it is more important than ever for Israel and the Palestinians to enter into direct, face-to-face negotiations without preconditions on either side,” the senators wrote.

The message, drafted by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, followed on the heels of a similar message to Clinton from 333 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives.

The senators urged Clinton “to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds that tie the United States and Israel together and to diligently work to defuse current tensions” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

 “The Israeli and US governments will undoubtedly, at times, disagree over policy decisions. But disagreements should not adversely affect our mutual interests — including restarting the peace process between Israel and her neighbors and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” they wrote. Source: Ynet

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Written by Theophyle

April 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

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