Romanian Cabinet to Seek Parliament Confidence Vote on March 26

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta will seek a parliamentary confidence vote on March 26 to fast track approval of a property-restitution law to meet a European Court of Human Rights deadline.

The Bucharest-based Cabinet is trying to spread the settlement of about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) of communist-era property claims to limit the impact on the budget, Ponta said today before a government meeting.

“We want to secure property rights but it’s very important to avoid new claims 23 years after the fall of communism,” he said. “The restitutions in cash will be carried out over a seven-year period.”

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

The eastern European country, which plans to keep the budget deficit at less than 3 percent of economic output, can’t pay the total compensation immediately, Ponta told reporters in Bucharest late yesterday. The bill will be sent to the rights court once it’s approved by the government, he said.

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