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  Nr. 4119 de luni, 24 decembrie 2007 
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POLITICS
A synthesis of 2007
-- There is one single reason why 2007 was important to Romania: the accession to the EU. Romania would have missed it, had it been about merits only. But the foreign political criterion had been decisive before in the country's history, like in the 1918 Unification of the regions that made Romania...
As for Romanians' basic expectations in terms of economy in 2008, they consist in a budget deficit lower than in 2007 and a growth in productiveness to bring larger income and no inflation (this is also the view expressed by the IMF representative to Romania).
2007 also ment the intensification of the conflict between the Presiden of Romania Traian Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, with the former wishing to impose the main decisions onto the latter.
As far as embarrassing deeds are concerned, Liberal Bogdan Olteanu, a speaker for the Chamber of Deputies, was top of the list. He accused Nicholas Taubman, the US ambassdor to Bucharest, of having been appointed due to corruption ( a hint to the services the official allegedly delivered to the Republicans in power).
Starting with the second term of 2007, Romania has had a Liberal government still in power, due to skilled wire walking, although always the target of the Romanian President's attacks. It has diminished politicians' credibility and it has led to more and more insisting proposals to modify the electoral system (replace the proportional vote with the uninominal one). As the uninominal vote system favors political parties in an unfair way, the electoral law hasn't been changed so far. Even President Basescu, the main supporter of the system, stopped being an adversary of it a short while ago.
General corruption has been the main reason why the government has lost much in terms of credibility. Romania passes for one of the most corrupted EU states. This is why PM Tariceanu had to sacked Decebal Traian Remes, a minister of agriculture.
Traffic of influence is a common form of corruption and in 2007 the PM himself had to face accusations that he was interfering in Justice by his famous "notes" in favour of businessman Dinu Patriciu, his friend in the party.
The Democrat Party, ruled by the very head of state from the shadow, has also been the target of similar accusations. Many honest people trusted Romania's Justice minister Monica Macovei. But for unclear reasons she was replaced with Tudor Chiuariu, a young jurist from Iasi, dear to the PM. He himself is a reason why the Liberal Party has been losing in popularity and he is an official the President dislikes. The conflict that followed was used by the head of state to cause a split in the National Liberal Party and the effects of it will emerge soon.
Businessmen were also accused of playing for so-called "groups of interests" tougher than Justice. The President has got to use phrases like "villaineous system" and "oligarchs" more and more. Some journalists even claimed the President himself wanted to make economy obey politics, which has made foreign investors rather reticent, which is the last thing the country needs... The President has been reproached for dictatorial tendencies, which has not prevented him from topping opinion polls.
PM Tariceanu was complaining about "the political pell mell" in May 14, although he himself was guilty of it to a considerable extent... Skilfully plotted by a coalition of parties coordinated by the PM, the suspension of President Basescu lacked the expected effect, although his popularity started going down. It was seem in the May 19 referendum too.
The failure of the referendum was a surprise. Given this, the Soocial-Democrat Party headed by Mircea Geoana, but with Ion Iliescu as guru, turned into the key-factor.
Ever since September Romania has been facing severe energy difficulties influencing foreign affairs too. The country manages to cover for some 30-40% of its needs from its own resources and important is also used, especially from Russia. As Russia, now in full economic and political expension, is interested in augmenting this dependence, Romania, whose resources are diminishing, has got to diversify the providers. Doubt mounted because a company from Kazahstan (an ex Soviet republic where Russian capital prevails) bought 75% of the Rompetrol Group. Now Dinu Patriciu owns only 25% of shares and he is a general president of the company. His Rompetrol has become Kazah... for now. The President of Kazahstan paid a visit to Bucharest a short while ago, but the outcome of his meeting with the Romanian President is unknown. The matter is all the more important as Russia hasn't hidden its dissatisfaction with Romania's participation to the North-Atlantic Pact.
Adrian Cioroianu, Romania's foreign minister, has been much criticized for lacking a strong profile and stance even in the protection of Romanian interests as far as the independence of Kosovo is concerned. The NATO powers are supporting the idea, but some take it for a precedent that may be invoked by those asking for the independence of Transylvania in both Budabest and Transylvania. For the time being, the Magyar Democrat Union is keeping moderate in the relations with the government in Bucharest. But the group has lately been under the criticism of a newly made Magyar group in Transylvania, led by episcope Laszlo Tokes. And the very significant difference in terms of standards of living is working in favor of Transylvania's independence...
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