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Romania Cabinet Seeks Delay in Property-Restitution Law Approval

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Romania wants to delay approval of a property-restitution bill to confirm it satisfies the European Court of Human Rights, Prime Minster Victor Ponta said.

The Cabinet, which had planned to seek a confidence vote on March 26 to speed the law’s approval, will ask the Strasbourg-based court for an extra month to pass it, Ponta said today in a televised speech in the capital, Bucharest.

“We want to have certainty that we won’t need to change the legislation again,” he said. “That’s why we’ll hold detailed talks with European specialists on the text of the law before having it approved.”

Romania has set up Fondul Proprietatea SA, which owns shares in the country’s biggest companies including OMV Petrom SA, to compensate citizens for property confiscated under communism. Still, it continues to face lawsuits at the human-rights court from citizens who’ve missed out on damage payments. The court had asked the government to draw up a law to resolve the matter by April 12.

Claims, comprising the return of property and cash payments, may total 8 billion euros ($10.3 billion), the government estimates. The budget won’t be affected before 2017, when the cash payments will begin, Minister Delegate for Budget Liviu Voinea said March 14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net;

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