Romanian border guards intercept lorry with Afghan refugees

Romania MapBucharest - Romanian border police intercepted a lorry seeking to smuggle 21 Afgha

Romanian centre-right party to take key economic portfolios

Romanian elections overshadowed by financial crisisBucharest- The Romanian centre-right Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) is to take the key economic portfolios in the country's new cabinet, while coalition partner - the socialist PSD party - is to receive social portfolios, including the ministry for work, families and social security, party sources said Wednesday.

Romanian prime minister designee opts against taking job

Romania MapBucharest - Citing a need for younger leaders, the man who had been chosen to rule Romania's new coalition government announced Monday that he would not take the job.

"The heads of the parties, who have formed this coalition for Romania, should take charge of finding a new prime minister," said Theodor Stolojan, shocking party leaders as he declined the position which he had only been offered on December 10.

Romanian Socialists, Liberals on verge of coalition

Bucharest  - Romania's top two political parties were on the verge of forming a coalition Sunday, after the Socialists and the Democratic Liberals finished in a near draw with neither near a majority in last month's parliamentary election.

The centre-left Social Democrats (PSD) had 33.1 per cent in Romania's lower House elections on November 30, while the centre- right Democratic Liberals (PDL) had more than 32.3 per cent. Results in the upper Senate were very similar.

The two groups hope to ink an agreement as early as Sunday to form a "Partnership for Romania" coalition, PDL chief Emil Boc said, voicing hopes for the new government to take office on December 22.

The PDL's Theodor Stolojan would become prime minister.

Car tax demos cause frontier tailbacks in Romania

Bucharest - Demonstrators protesting increased car taxes blocked Romania's two main western border points of Nadlac and Bors Saturday, causing long tailbacks.

The protest was at the outgoing government of Prime Minister Calin Popesscu Tariceanu trebling environmental tax on newly-imported second- hand cars in a bid to protect Romania's own auto industry.

Similar demonstrations went ahead in central Bucharest and the northern city of Bistrita. There had already been demonstrations in other cities and towns the previous day.

The tax increase has seen a rush by motorists to register newly- imported cars before a 15 December deadline which had already been extended by a week to cope with registration demands.

Vaclav Klaus: "We will not be campaigners for the climate package"

Vaclav KlausBucharest - The Czech Republic will make no special effort to tackle climate change when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in January, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Thursday.

"We will not be campaigners for the climate package," Klaus said, during a private visit to the Romanian capital Bucharest, the Romanian news agency Mediafax reported.

He also expressed fears that the global financial crisis would be used as a pretext for curtailing freedoms in the markets.

"The climate is OK," and the problem of global warming was mere "ideology," Klaus said at a book presentation.