In Brief

EU takes Greece to court over air-traffic control European Union regulators have taken Greece to court for violating EU rules on air-traffic control, saying its practices pose a safety threat. The European Commission decided to file a lawsuit against the government because it «fails to guarantee the effective and independent exercise of the oversight of air-navigation services.» The complaint is to the European Court of Justice. Greek steps to enact a 2004 European law establishing a framework for air-traffic management fall short of the requirements, said the Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive. «For the safety of operations, it is of primary importance for member states to establish independent authorities and solid mechanisms and to oversee the air-navigation services,» the Commission said in a statement yesterday. In two other cases, the Commission decided to file lawsuits against Greece for prohibiting courier services from transporting consignments in excess of 20 kg and for imposing restrictions on road transport and fuel-marketing activities. (Bloomberg) Cyprus faces challenges to keep budget gap low NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus will try to keep its deficit within the 3 percent threshold for eurozone members next year, but faces challenges in keeping the gap low in 2009, its finance minister said yesterday. The east Mediterranean island is set to show a public deficit this year after turning in a surplus in 2007 and 2008, but authorities have not specified how extensive the shortfall may be. Under rules of the eurozone, which Cyprus joined in 2008, the deficit should be contained within 3.0 percent of gross domestic product. «Things are exceptionally difficult, every effort is being made to keep the deficit as low as possible,» Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis told journalists. He declined to say whether the 2009 shortfall would exceed the 3 percent limit, but said the island turned in a deficit of 2.65 percent in the first eight months of this year. Cyprus lagged behind its eurozone peers and saw its economy tip into a recession in the second quarter of 2009, months after other countries. State earnings have been sapped particularly by a slowdown in construction. Romanian governor The Romanian parliament reappointed long-serving central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu for another term yesterday, a move likely to reassure markets unnerved by a government crisis. Since taking over the helm of the central bank just months after Romania’s bloody anti-communist revolt in 1989, Isarescu has gained a reputation for steady policymaking and a pro-reform stance that helped the country join the European Union in 2007. His main challenge now is to combat the painful recession engulfing Romania in the aftermath of global financial woes and ensure the country is ready to meet its goal of eurozone entry in 2014. One the world’s longest-serving central bankers, the 60-year-old Isarescu has held the post ever since, with a brief stint as prime minister between 1999 and 2000. He is widely supported by political groupings and praised, at home and abroad, for conducting policy with a steady hand. (Reuters)