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June 8, 2024

A roundup of local and international news

Newsflash
Newsflash

, 08.06.2024, 13:55

Elections – Today is a day of reflection in Romania, before the European Parliament and local elections that take place on Sunday. The polling stations will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m., compared to 9:00 p.m. in the previous elections. The presidents of the polling stations can decide to extend the vote until 23:59, if there are people who did not have the time to exercise this right, but are inside or in the immediate vicinity of the station. Approximately 19 million Romanians are called to the polls in the nearly 19,000 polling stations in the country. Abroad there will be 915 polling stations, twice as many as compared to the EP elections five years ago, most of them being opened in Italy (150), Spain (147) and Great Britain (104).  In the elections for the European Parliament, there are 15 candidates for one seat, and Romania will send 33 representatives to the EP. According to the data presented by the Permanent Electoral Authority, there are 20% fewer competitors in the local elections compared to four years ago. For both elections, over 102 million ballots were printed, and the Romanian authorities claim that they have taken all the necessary measures regarding the smooth running of the electoral process. For the first time, the data on voter turnout will be presented in real time, online, on election day, for each separate election, on the website of the Permanent Electoral Authority. We remind you that this year the presidential election is scheduled in September and the legislative elections in December.

 

EP elections – The elections for the 720 members of the European Parliament are already taking place in several states of the EU. In the Netherlands, the vote took place on Thursday, and exit polls showed an increase in the popularity of the extreme right, which would have obtained seven seats in the future European Parliament, compared to only one in the current legislature. In Ireland, the electoral process took place on Friday, as well as in the Czech Republic, where voting will continue today. Italian citizens will also vote for two days. Also today, voters in Latvia, Malta and Slovakia will go to the polls to nominate their future MEPs, while the rest of the EU countries will hold European Parliament elections on Sunday. Over 370 million voters are expected to go to the polls throughout the European Union.

 

GDP – The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the euro zone and the European Union registered an advance of 0.3% in the first quarter of 2024, compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, according to data published by Eurostat. According to statistics, Romania’s economy recorded an evolution slightly above the European average, with a GDP growth of 0.4% in the first three months of the year, after a contraction of 0.6% in the last three months of 2023. The Eurostat data are similar to those previously announced by the National Institute of Statistics, which revised downwards Romania’s economic growth in the first three months of this year, to 0.4%, from 0.5% as previously estimated.

 

Salaries – Almost 1.9 million employees in Romania will receive their salary increased by 284 lei (approx. 57 Euros), net value, from July 1, after the Romanian Government approved the increase of the gross minimum wage from 3,300 lei (approx. 660 Euros) to 3,700 lei (approx. 740 Euros) and raised from 200 lei (approx. 40 Euros) to 300 lei (approx. 60 Euros) the monthly amount exempt from the payment of the income tax. The executive believes that this approach will have positive effects on economic growth, the purchasing power of employees and will contribute to the reduction of undeclared work. However, the decision does not apply to employees in agriculture and the food industry, as legal provisions in force apply to these categories. The government representatives said that this increase is a step towards the adoption, as of November, of the minimum wage at the European level.

 

Attack – The Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu conveyed a message following the attack on his Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, which took place on Friday in a Copenhagen square. “I am shocked by the news of the attack on the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Violence has no place in our societies”, Marcel Ciolacu wrote on the X platform today. Mette Frederiksen was attacked by a man on Friday, but no signs of injury are reported. The police announced that a man was arrested and the incident is being investigated, but did not provide further details. The incident took place two days before the Danes went to the polls in the European Parliament elections. Three weeks ago, the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was seriously injured in an assassination attempt.

 

Fraud – The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is conducting investigations in Romania and Spain, in a case involving a fraud in public procurement of 10 million Euros. EPPO specifies in a statement that it is about European funds for the modernization of the water infrastructure and the improvement of energy efficiency. Several searches have been carried out so far in Hunedoara county (west), at a hospital and another public institution, thee beneficiaries of the funds, as well as in the Spanish region of Andalusia. The European prosecutors show that a group of companies from Romania, which also included a company from Spain, presented false documents and statements in order to receive the contracts for the execution of the works. (LS)

 

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