Monday, December 14, 2009

IMF mission to visit Bucharest on Monday

BUCHAREST, Dec 12 (Reuters) - An International Monetary Fund mission will visit Romania on Dec. 14 for up to three days to discuss the 2010 budget plan, Romania's IMF representative was quoted as saying by a local news agency.

The Fund put Romania's 20 billion euro aid package on hold last month after opposition parties toppled a centrist cabinet and repeatedly said it expected the EU state to pass a cost-cutting budget for 2010 before unlocking aid.

The shape and timing of Romania's 2010 budget remain unclear after a hotly-contested presidential election which had been expected to unlock political deadlock and bring the IMF back to the table.

President Traian Basescu narrowly won re-election but his leftist challenger has contested the result at the Constitutional Court, extending a government crisis.

"It will be a very short mission, of 1, 2 or 3 days to finalise the 2010 budget," Mihai Tanasescu was quoted late Friday as saying by NewsIn.

"There is a small difference between us (IMF), the (European) Commission and authorities. We must clarify this so whoever is in charge take into account certain public policies."

He also said it was possible that Romania would ask for deadline extensions on some commitments, without ellaborating.

The elected president must appoint a prime minister who must then create a new administration, clear the 2010 budget with a budget deficit of 5.9 percent of gross domestic product, down from this year's 7.3 percent target and tackle other IMF-prescribed cost-cutting measures.

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