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Government says no money to compensate former property owners

The Romanian government claims it does not have the necessary funds to compensate all the former owners whose properties had been confiscated by the Communists after the Second World War (WWII), local press informs.

The right-wing government of Premier Mihai Razvan Ungureanu is currently working on a new piece of legislation, which if adopted will compensate the former owners only with 15 per cent of the value of their lost properties and in a period of time spanning from 10 to 12 years.

"This is all the state can afford to pay," said the President of the Property Restitution Agency Dorina Danielescu (photo).

The government wants to avoid sanctions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by adopting this legislation that would put a stop to the restitution in nature. Romania has to solve the restitution of properties confiscated by the Communists (1946 – 1989) by July. ECHR in Strasbourg has notified the authorities that if they do not observe the deadline, they will have to apply sanctions.

Romania ranks first among the member-countries of the Council of Europe (CoE) which do not respect the property rights. Romania risks to be ousted from CoE, an international body of 47 European states.

So far, Romania has solved only about 11 per cent of all restitution claims, whilst many properties have been illegally given back to people who forged the ownership documents or the inheritance papers.

A recent audit revealed that illegal payments worth hundreds of millions of Euros have been made to fake owners in the past years while the files of real owners dispossessed by the Communists have been abandoned in the archives of the Property Restitution Agency. The audit revealed that 80 per cent of the payments representing financial compensation, the so-called owners did not have the inheritance documents and that there were over 21,000 files still unsolved.

Mid-March, the PM had decided to suspend the payments for the next six months and had notified the Prosecutor’s Office as well.

The amount of financial compensation Romania has to pay to former owners totals 21 billion Euros, according to a recent assessment conducted by a government commission.

Last year, Authority for the Properties Restitution was marred by a scandal, after the vice president of the institution had been arrested on demand of the prosecutors on suspicion of bribe-taking.

Tag cloud Romanian  properties  ECHR  Agency  financial  payments  owners  audit  Communists  Restitution  government  inheritance  compensate  property  European  notified  Euros  solved  Prosecutor  sanctions

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