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April 17, 2024 UPDATE

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, 17.04.2024, 19:45

EU. Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis is attending the Special European Council in Brussels held on Wednesday and Thursday. According to the president’s office, high on the agenda of the meeting are the prospects for a new European competitiveness pact and the EU’s relationship with Turkey. European leaders are also expected to tackle the latest developments in the war in Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East and the EU’s future strategic agenda.

 

Romania-Qatar. Qatar is a respected security broker in the Middle East, just as Romania is a recognised stability factor in Eastern Europe, and the two states have the ability to advance their partnership to acquire a strategic component, said Romanian prime minister Marcel Ciolacu on Wednesday in Doha. He gave a press briefing together with Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Prime minister Ciolacu said he was in Doha to send the powerful message that Romania will stand by Qatar, together with the United States and the partners in the European Union, in supporting efforts to bring peace and restore security in the Middle East. We must encourage both the State of Israel and Iran to show immediate restraint to prevent dangerous incidents, Ciolacu pointed out. He added that at a bilateral level, the partnership between Romania and Qatar must be pragmatic and centred around concrete economic projects and investments. He also announced that projects worth some 15 billion euros are being analysed. Ciolacu also had talks with representatives of the Qatari Businessmen Association and the Qatar Investment Authority. He pointed out that Romania has a competitive edge in areas like real estate, tourism, IT and cyber security, the defence industry and mineral waters, all of which provide an opportunity for Qatari direct investments in the Romanian economy leading to the development of a deeper partnership.

 

 Defence. Romanian defence minister Angel Tîlvăr had talks with his Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren at the 86th Airbase in Borcea, in southern Romania, as three more F-16 fighter jets from the Royal Dutch Air Force arrived in Romania. The aircraft is delivered to the European F-16 Training Centre located at this Romanian airbase since November last year and will be used to train pilots, including from Ukraine, to operate this type of fighter jet. In another development, minister Tîlvăr received assurances from the  US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien that the United States is working with Romania regarding the security risks emerging in the context of the war in Ukraine. The US official also described the cooperation between Romania and Ukraine as essential for the Ukrainian people.

 

Inflation. March was the third month in a row in which Romania had the highest inflation rate in the European Union, at 6.7%. According to Eurostat, the inflation rate dropped to 2.6% in the bloc. The member states with the lowest inflation rates were Lithuania, 0.4%, Finland 0.6% and Denmark, 0.8%. In another development, the International Monetary Fund has revised Romania’s economic growth forecast for this year down to 2.8% from 3.8%. The Fund has also forecast an average inflation rate of 6% and 4% next year and is expecting Romania’s current account deficit to remain at 7.1% of GDP in 2024, similar to last year.

 

Olympic Games. The Romanian delegation to the summer Olympic Games hosted by Paris between 26th July and 11th August is tipped to win ten medals, two gold, three silver and five bronze, according to a forecast by Nielsen’s Gracenote and quoted by Reuters. Romania is ranked 25th in a virtual hierarchy simulated based on the number of medals, which would make it its best in the last five editions of the summer Olympic Games. According to Gracenote’s predictions, the United States delegation is favourite to dominate the Paris Games, being forecast to win 123 medals, followed by China with 89 and Great Britain with 66. Host country France is predicted to win 55 medals. 80 Romanian athletes have so far qualified to the Olympic Games, in the following sports: athletics, swimming, boxing, kayaking, rowing, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, water polo, tennis table, wrestling and weight lifting.

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