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Romanian Report Romanian Report
by Euro Reporter
2009-09-25 07:55:43
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Romanian minister’s alleged fund misuse

A Romanian parliamentary committee yesterday recommended criminal investigation of a government minister for alleged abuse of power, conflict of interest and negligence in spending public funds. It also recommended that Tourism Minister Elena Udrea be removed from her post and that the court of accounts verify the way she used public funds in several events to promote Romania’s image at home and abroad.

“The committee has decided to ask the lower house to request a criminal investigation... for instigating abuse of power, conflict of interest and negligence on the job,” committee chairman Ludovic Orban told a news conference. Udrea, 35, a member of the centre-left coalition’s Democrat Liberal Party, has repeatedly denied the accusations and said the probe was orchestrated by coalition partners the Social Democrats and opposition Liberals and was politically motivated. A former adviser to President Traian Basescu and a favourite of the tabloid press who show her riding horses and attending tourism events, Udrea has refused to attend hearings in front of the committee, which she accused of finding her guilty before examining the evidence.

The committee will send its report to the standing bureau of parliament’s lower house, which must decide whether to ask members to vote on whether an investigation should be held. In Romania, only the president and either of the legislature’s two houses can request a probe of a minister. In July, parliament approved an investigation against the country’s former youth and sports minister on suspicion of fraud in a half-million-euro public procurement case.

It seems that political parties funding has become the European thing!


 IMF approves 1.85 billion Euros for Romania

The IMF approved the immediate disbursement of 1.85 billion Euros to Romania, urging the country to pursue further reforms to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis. The funding comes under a stand-by arrangement endorsed in early May, under which the Washington-based international lender agreed to provide a total of 12.9 billion Euros to the Balkan nation over a 24-month period. Romania received immediately the first tranche of 5 billion Euros. The next instalments, the IMF said, would be made available following quarterly reviews of the government's economic performance under its programme of measures intended to deal with the effects of the global turmoil.

The release of the second tranche was approved following the completion of the first assessment of Romania's performance under the stand-by arrangement, the Fund said. A team of IMF experts arrived in the country in late July as part of the review process. Wrapping up their nearly-two week visit to Bucharest, they said the Romanian economy was expected to shrink by more than 8% this year, double the 4.1% forecast in March, when the government sought international assistance to cope with the deteriorating situation.

Jeffrey Franks, the IMF's mission chief for Romania, said Romania faces a "very severe recession" and that it wouldn't be able to finance its 2009 budget deficit, which is expected to swell to 7.3% of GDP, well above the 4.6% target agreed to at the start of the programme. The Fund said Romania would be allowed to run a higher budget deficit this year and next, but stressed the need for "considerable efforts" to ensure that the revised target will not be exceeded. A statement, announcing the approval of the first review of Romania's performance, quoted IMF First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman John Lipsky as saying Monday that the economic situation in the country had worsened in the past four months .

Another loan? For how long?


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