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February 15, 2024 UPDATE

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, 15.02.2024, 20:00

Pope – Romania and Italy are entering a new stage of development of their consolidated strategic partnership, the Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said on Thursday in Rome. He stated that the joint statement he signed with his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, lays the foundations for an action plan that will strengthen and take to another level the relations between the two states. Marcel Ciolacu recalled that bilateral trade exceeded 20 billion Euros in 2023, a new record. “I appreciated Mrs. Meloni’s openness regarding the intensification of economic cooperation, as well as the valorization of the Romanian diaspora living in Italy, and of the Italian community in our country,” Prime Minister Ciolacu said. In turn, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated that the joint declaration increases the potential for collaboration between the two countries. “The Romanian community is the largest foreign community residing in Italy, more than one million people, and it provides a very important contribution to our community “, said Giorgia Meloni. Also on Thursday, the meeting of the governments from Bucharest and Rome also occasioned talks on topics on the European and international agenda. Earlier, the Prime Minister Ciolacu was received at the Vatican, in a private papal audience, by Pope Francis, after which he discussed with Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City.

 

Protests – The representatives of the Romanian Sanitary Solidarity Federation continued the protests prior to the organization of the all-out strike and picketed, on Thursday, the Ministry of Finance and the Chamber of Deputies. The Federation intends to organize such pickets every week, with the series of protests ending on March 11 with a rally in front of the Government, on the National Day of Medical Personnel. The most important demand of the trade unionists is the salary increase for all categories of employees in the healthcare sector by at least 25%.

 

Sports – The Romanian athlete Cătălin Preda won the bronze medal in the high diving 27-m platform men round, on Thursday, at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Preda totaled 410.20 points, being overtaken by the British Aidan Heslop (422.95) and the French Gary Hunt (413.25). Romanian Constantin Popovici, holder of the world title, ranked only 8th with 340.50 points. At the World Championships in Fukuoka, last year, Popovici won the gold, and Preda took the silver. Popovici also won gold at the 2022 European Championships, where Preda took silver. Also on Thursday in Doha, the Romanian men’s national team ranked 10th at the World Polo Championship, after being defeated, on Thursday, by the US team with a score 13-9 in a match for positions 9-10. Romania’s best ranking at the World Championship is 5th place (1975), and its previous participation dates back to 2013 (13th place). The Romanian polo players ranked 8th at the European Championship in Croatia, last month.

 

Statistics – The National Bank of Romania revised downwards, to 4.7%, the inflation forecast for the end of this year, from 4.8% in November, according to the data made public on Thursday by the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mugur Isărescu. The Central Bank anticipates that the inflation rate will reach 3.5% at the end of 2025. On the other hand, the data published by the National Institute of Statistics in Bucharest show that Romania’s economy grew by 2% in 2023. The increase is above the level recorded both in the EU and in the euro zone, where the gross domestic product increased by 0.5%.

 

Meeting – The policies and programs of the US and Romania regarding the formation of literacy skills and boosting students’ well-being were the main topics addressed, on Wednesday, by the Romanian Education Minister, Ligia Deca, with her American counterpart, Miguel Cardona. The Romanian ambassador to the USA, Andrei Muraru, also participated in the meeting. According to a statement sent to the media on Thursday, minister Ligia Deca, on a visit to the US between February 12 and 15, emphasized the efforts made by the Romanian Government for the “historic” increase of the Education budget in order to apply the new laws in the field. Other topics addressed in the discussions were the inclusion of refugee children in Romanian schools, strategies to combat anti-Semitism, media education, standardized assessments and the integration of technology into the teaching activity. (LS)

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