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  Nr. 3311 de sambata, 30 aprilie 2005 
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Property Restitution Office was founded
-- The new structure will watch how Law 10/ 2001 is applied
A new special structure, subordinate to the Prime Minister's Chancellery is to coordinate the ongoing process of restituting properties confiscated during the communist regime and of paying damages to former owners. On Thursday's meeting, the government consented to the idea of founding ANRP (The National Property Restitution Office), by reorganizing the Office to watch how Law 10/ 2001 is applied and take over the activity and staff of the Department for Use of Law 9/ 1998 on compensations to Romanian citizens for their properties that were transferred to the Bulgarian state, due to the Treaty of Bulgaria and Romania, signed in Craiova in September 7 1940. The new institutions also takes over the Department for Use of Law 290/ 2003 on damages or compensations to Romanian citizens for their goods in Basarabia, North Bucovina or the County of Hertza.
Less bureaucracy
Authorities say the bureaucracy system will get simplified due to this change. The new structure will give methodological assistance to territorial commissions having attributions in the restitution of properties abusively confiscated and will monitor the state of restituted assets and the damages to be paid to former owners. ANRP is also to include a control department that will sanction eventual unexplainable delays in solving petitions on restitution or damages. Ingrid Zaarour is Chair of the Office for Use of Law 10/ 2001. She stated: " Accession to the European Union would not be possible without rapid solutions to all property difficulties. The target of this institution is to control and carry out the process of restituting assets and setting damages." According to reports by the ex government, 210,000 petitions for notification were written, asking for properties set by Law 10/ 2001. 128,000 of them refer to the restitution of the real properties and the rest asked for damages. 30% of the solicitations were solved by the end of last year and the remaining ones are to be solved by the end of 2-6, said Ingrid Zaarour.
Similar institution
A structure similar to the Office for Law 10 is going to be created for the restitution of land properties. The announcement was made yesterday by Vasile Lupu, initiator of Law 1/ 2000 on the restitution of agriculture lands and forests. Lupu said he was satisfied with the contents of projects on property laws and opined that the rapid promotion of new norms needed the government to take this responsibility. Lupu outlined: "Unless the government takes this responsibility, there are scarcely any chances to solve this property problem. The CDR (the Romanian Democrat Convention) failing experience can get repeated. And mind you, this is not just about law adoption, but about law usage. I believe that the law adoption is only one of the problems. The rest is up to the Executive, to the way it manages to make prefects and property commission members behave". He opined that if the new norms were applied the right way, " in one year's time the number of Justice trials would decrease with a quarter."
Political risks
Lupu expressed no positive opinion on the Office for Use of Law 10, created by PSD (the Social-Democrat Party). He opined that the former institutions "did nothing to solve propriety problems and was some kind of brake on this process." Vasile Lupu described present officials and opined: "In case PNL (the National Liberal Party) does not keep promise to restitute properties stolen by the Communists, it will have the same political destiny as PNTCD (the National Christian-Democrat Party). " The former PNTCD member mentioned that CDR officials had been unable to solve the property issue because of Petre Roman's opposition, as at that time he was president of PD (the Democrat Party), Lupu said the Democrats and the Liberals reached consensus on the property issue in the meantime and that there were signs showing the restitution process would be completed.
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