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January 31, 2023 UPDATE

A roundup of domestic and international news

NEWSFLASH
NEWSFLASH

, 31.01.2023, 19:27

Budget. In 2022 Romania saw a budget deficit of roughly EUR 16.5 bln, nearly 1% smaller than in the previous year. According to the finance ministry, the deficit dropped from 6.73% to 5.68% of the GDP. Revenues amounted to approx.. EUR 94 bln, up 21% since 2021, fuelled by the VAT rise, growing EU funding and revenues in the energy sector. Expenditure exceeded EUR 110 bln, down 0.8% since the previous year.



Digitalization. The Romanian authorities continue the digitalization of public institutions. In Tuesdays meeting, the Executive adopted a series of provisions related to the government cloud, an official virtual platform through which different data will be accessed, a mechanism that will simplify interactions both between institutions and with the public. The Minister of Research and Innovation, Sebastian Burduja, said that the citizens will be informed in real time when their data is accessed, and the data will be kept in a secure system. A necessary tool for accessing various services in electronic format is the new electronic identity card, which by the end of this year will be able to be issued at national level, after in 2021 it was introduced part of a pilot project in Cluj (north- west). The costs for issuing the first five million identity cards will be borne by the state, with funds from the NRRP. Another decision taken at the meeting was that that mayors and presidents of county councils who manage projects from non-reimbursable external funds should receive an increase from 25% to 50% .



Diplomacy. Lithuania firmly supports Romanias Schengen accession and voices willingness to carry on an active dialogue with the other EU partners in this respect, especially in todays extremely difficult security context, the Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis told his Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu, in a telephone discussion. The talks were held as Romania is set to resume this year its participation in the air policing missions in the Baltic Sea region. Bogdan Aurescu also had a phone talk with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics, who reiterated Latvias support for Romanias Schengen accession. He said theres no reason why the accession should be delayed, as Bucharest has met all the needed criteria.



Ranking. Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania hold the first three places in the list of the most corrupt EU member countries, with scores between 42 and 46 out of 100 – according to the latest report issued by Transparency International. The document states that Romania has not registered any significant improvement in the last decade in terms of fighting corruption. At the global level, Bucharest ranks 63rd, with an insignificant change compared to last years data. The top 3 least corrupt countries are Denmark, Finland and Sweden, with scores between 83 and 90. Transparency Internationals report reflects how public sector corruption is perceived in 180 countries and is done by awarding points, from 0 to 100, where 0 means very corrupt and 100 not corrupt at all.



NATO. NATO will continue to strengthen its partnership with Japan amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday during a visit to Japan, where he had a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Jens Stoltenbergs tour, which included a stop in South Korea, is designed to strengthen ties with the Asian allies in the context of the war in Ukraine and rising competition with China. In an address in Seoul, the NATO official called on South Korea to increase its military support to Ukraine.



Korea. Also in Seoul, the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and his South-Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, promised to extend the scope of the 2 countries joint military exercises, in a move by Washington to reassure its Asian ally of its support amid growing threats from North Korea. Tensions in the Korean Peninsula deepened in 2022, following North Koreas frequent military tests, including launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. (MI)


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