News review of the day – December 11th

Ministry of Finance publishes draft of the state budget

Ministry of Finance has published today the draft of the state budget for 2015. Some ministries will be alloted supplementary amounts compared to 2014 whilst others are going to see a decrease. Hence, the ministries of Agriculture, Labor, Finance, Environment, Transport and European Funds are going to benefit from extra financing whereas Healthcare, Culture and Internal Affairs are going to receive less. The main macroeconomic indicators on which the budget is based according to negotations with international creditors feature a 2.5 percent economic growth, a 2.2 percent annual inflation rate and 1.8 percent budgetary deficit.
The minimum wage level is due to rise to 975 Ron starting January and to 1050 Ron starting July. Pension indexation by 5 percent and a raise of disability allowances by 16 percent are other social measures considered for 2015.
Unemployment rate target was set at 5.1 percent compared to the current 5.3 percent. The average wage level forecast for the next year is set at 1758 Ron (nearly 400 euros). The state budget is due to be approved tomorrow in a session of the Cabinet.

New survey shows Presidency enjoys most of the public trust

Public trust towards the Presidency has registered a spectacular rise over the last two months according to a survey commissioned by Adevarul national daily and conducted by INSCOP-Research. Moreover, the Presidential institution comes first now in a top of most trusted political institutions. According to the survey, the Presidency’s public trust quota has gone up from 17 percent in November to 44 percent at the beginning of this month. Executive bodies with the largest public trust are the Army, the National Gendarmery and the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, whilst social and private institutions give the Church as leader. The European Union enjoys most trust among international institutions. The INSCOP survey has been conducted between November 27th and December 2nd on a relevant sample of 1.076 persons.

President of the Supreme Court says justice independence was affected during electoral campaign

President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice Livia Stanciu considers that the independence of the judicial system has been affected during the presidential campaign, according to a press statement made today at the end of the plenum session held by the Superior Council of Magistracy.
Livia Stanciu: Politicians have exceeded the acceptable boundaries of public discourse with many attempts to undermine the judicial system or the magistrates and, more seriously, to imply that politics is part of the judiciary or that justice is influenced by politics.

Romania’s grey economy almost a third of the GDP – PricewaterhouseCoopers

Romania’s grey economy represents almost a third of the GDP – one of the highest levels in the EU – according to a study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The experts say tax avoidance in the grey economy is caused by economic agents that offer legal services but do not issue receipts and do not pay taxes owned to the state budget, such as teachers that offer tutoring lessons or employers that enter only a minimum wage in employment records. PwC representative Bogdan Belciu says that one solution to counteract tax avoidance is that more people make use of credit card payments as currently only significant transactions are subject to electronic payment in Romania and most of the grey economy is triggered by cumulated small cash payments.

Prefect requests reinstatement of punishment for national-sign offence

Prefect of Covasna county Marius Popică has requested reinstatement within the Criminal code of a previously abolished punishment regarding offence against national signs. The new Criminal code enforced this year no longer incriminates this offence and the prefect announced that he officialy introduced a request to the Government to reinstate this article in the Criminal law. The previous form of the Code was punishing the offence against national symbols like Romania’s flag, the National Day, the State Anthem or the State Seal with prison times between 6 months and 3 years.

European Court of Human Rights rejects as unfounded complaints introduced by former PM Adrian Năstase

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected today as unfounded a complaint introduced by the former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Năstase regarding his sentencing in a corruption file called „Trofeul calităţii (Trophy of Quality)”. The final judgment of the Court stipulates that the complaints have no grounds and are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Former PM Adrian Năstase was convicted on June 20th 2012 to 2 years in prison out of which he served 8 months before being released on probation. Nastase had been prosecuted for using his influence and authority as a political party leader in order to organize a business symposium meant to raise money for the electoral campaign of the presidential runoff that he was about to take part in, Radio Romania reported.

EuranetPlus editorial project involving Radio Romania receives excellence award bestowed by IER

EuranetPlus editorial project financed by the European Commission featuring international radio co-productions on European matters by 15 radio corporations around the EU – including Romania’s public radio – has received an award of excellence in this field bestowed by IER (European Institute of Romania). The overall audience of the radio stations involved reaches 20 million listeners. The nomination of the project in the „Radio” category praised the promotion of European spirit and values. A ceremony  has taken place in Bucharest today during the annual conference organized by IER. The Romanian Broadcasting Corporation is participating to the project with several of its stations: Radio România Actualităţi – the main news station, Radio România Cultural – cultural department, Radio România Antena Satelor – station with rural audience and Radio Romania International.

Travel alert issued by the Foreign Ministry

Bulgarian authorities have declared a state of emergency in the southern regions of the country caused by the devastating floods over the last days. Rain and snowfall are likely to affect road traffic in neighboring Serbia as well and frost may produce. Therefore, Romania’s Foreign Ministry has issued a travel alert for the southern and southeastern part of Bulgaria.

Bianca Ioniţă