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April 1, 2024 UPDATE

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Newsflash
Newsflash

, 01.04.2024, 20:04

Deepfake – The National Cyber Security Directorate Romania published a “Guide to Deepfakes”, aimed at protecting and educating the general public on cyber security risks. The Guideline provides detailed information on deepfake production and identification. The authors are confident that by understanding these concepts, users are more aware of the related risks and may take adequate protection measures. Deepfake is a form of digital manipulation using advanced AI techniques to create false images or audio-video materials. According to the institution, this may have a severe impact on society, as it erodes public confidence in online information.

 

Banking – The consumer credit reference index (IRCC) dropped to 5.90% per year, from 5.97% 3 months ago, the National Bank announced. This is the first significant decrease of the index in the past 12 months, and will lead to smaller interest rates as of this month. In June the IRCC is expected to decrease further, to 5.84%. The downward trend will help bring down interest rates for mortgage loans for nearly half a million Romanians. Meanwhile, the 3-month ROBOR index which influences the costs of variable-rate loans in the national currency has reached 6.06% per year, as opposed to 6.05%. IRCC is the index used for setting the interest rates for variable-rate loans in the national currency since May 2019, when it stood at 2.36%. It was designed by the government as a solution to offset the effects of the ROBOR index, which had been rising from one month to the next at the end of 2018.

 

Parliament – The Parliament of Romania convenes on Tuesday in a joint meeting to mark 20 years since the country joined the North Atlantic Alliance and 75 years since the establishment of NATO. Parliament will adopt a declaration on this occasion. Also this week, the Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to give its final vote on a government bill introducing penalties for breaches of the EU regulation on the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases in appliances such as refrigerators or AC systems. The penalties may reach EUR 20,000 in fines, and 6-month to 3-year prison sentences. Deputies in the specialist committees are also to discuss as of this week new draft regulations on the compulsory motor insurance, stipulating fines 15 times higher than in the past for uninsured drivers and a ceiling of EUR 400 on self-paid car repairs. Also this week, the Senate is to discuss the merger of local elections with the European Parliament elections, scheduled for June 9th.

 

Protests – The Romanian Post Workers’ Union went on an all-out strike on Monday, but the postal offices’ activity is taking place normally in most counties of Romania, as the management of the institution claims. The protesters demand an increase in salaries by a net amount of 400 lei (approx. 80 euros) and an increase in the loyalty bonus. They draw attention to the fact that the pay of 90% of the employees will be, as of this summer, at the level of the minimum wage. According to the authorities, it will increase to 3,700 lei (approx. 740 euros) from July 1. The company management announced that the demands of the employees are justified, but that there have already been significant salary increases. The Romanian Post is a national operator and is owned by the state.

 

Drills – Joint exercises of the Moldovan, Romanian and American military are taking place in the Republic of Moldova until April 19. The Moldovan Defense Ministry announced that they would train, will exchange experience and increase the level of interoperability. The drills will take place in the training centers of the National Army of the Republic of Moldova.

 

Visit – The special representative of the United States of America for the economic recovery of Ukraine, Penny Pritzker, arrives in Bucharest in two days. She will visit the UN Refugee Agency Center at the Romexpo Exhibition Compound, together with Romanian officials and the US Ambassador to Bucharest, Kathleen Kavalec. She will talk about the life of refugees in Romania and their role in the reconstruction of Ukraine. At the same time, Penny Pritzker will meet with members of the Romanian Government and private sector leaders to discuss regional cooperation, including emergency energy assistance for Ukraine and the long-term benefits of infrastructure investments. (AMP, LS)

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