Although Romanian authorities have been doing their best for the NATO summit opening today in Bucharest, the foreign press has focused on those aspects showing a rather negative image of the host state.
Reuters has taken much interest in the beggars driven away from the underground by the Romanian police. And there has been one Sky News analyst to describe the efforts taken to change the look of Bucharest, which he compares to Nicolae Ceausescu's wish to have Bucharest called "little Paris". But one Internet user has replied, informing the journalist that this is how Bucharest would be called ever since the 30s, whereas Nicolae Ceausescu got power in 1965.
The Washington Post too reports on the make up Romanian authorities have been putting on the face of the capital city, usually a plain and lifeless city, they comment. The same newspaper has also provided information about the traffic restrictions Bucharest inhabitants have to put up with these days.
Le temps: Bush is the NATO summit star for the Romanians
According to Le temps, although Bucharest is host of the greatest summit in the history of NATO, the US President W. Bush is sure to be the star of the reunion for the inhabitants of Bucharest. The US President is now paying his second visit to Romania. The first one took place in November 2002. There is added that the Romanian-American relations started to improve in February 2003, when Ion Iliescu, at that time a President of Romania, signed for the famous letter by Central Europe states, supporting Washinton's initiative to invade Iraq. (...)
The Le Temps journalists also remined about Dick Marty's accusations against Romania, in his report on the CIA secret flights in Europe, debated on by the Council of Europe. The analysts argue that the President of Romania Traian Basesu has got serious reasons to welcome George W. Bush. Financially speaking, the military agreement with the US is profitable, for Washington has already spent over $ 30 million for the military base in Constanta, Romania. It is also part of the strategy that the Romanian President wishes to turn Romania into an arbitrator or at least a leading actor for the great economic moves now involving the gas producers in Central Asia, the Russian giant Gazprom and the US states financing the Nabucco project.
The conclusion seems to be that Bucharest officials have got real reasons to be most dedicated supporters of the US approach favorable to future NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. (T.B.)