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May 12, 2024

A roundup of domestic and international news

May 12, 2024
May 12, 2024

, 12.05.2024, 13:55

Visit – The European commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, will visit Romania on Monday and Tuesday. According to the European Commission, he has scheduled meetings with the Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu and the Minister of Agriculture, Florin Barbu, after which he will have a dialogue with farmers’ associations and with representatives of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest. A visit to the port of Constanţa (on the Black Sea Coast), where most of the exports of grain and agricultural products from Ukraine take place, is also planned. According to the European Commissioner, Romania made exceptional efforts to provide vital aid to Ukraine’s economy during its deepest crisis, facilitating the largest alternative export route for grain and other goods outside the Black Sea corridor. We remind you that the EC has recently approved a state aid scheme for Romania worth 126 million Euros, to support the necessary investments in those ports facing increased commercial flows.

 

Protest – On Monday, the National Trade Union Bloc, together with the 29 affiliated federations, organizes a rally in front of the Romanian Government headquarters in Bucharest, followed by a protest march to the Ministries of Economy, Labor and Finance. The trade unionists demand a reform of the tax system with the aim of reducing inequalities and combating poverty. According to the Trade Union Bloc, Romania currently has one of the highest tax burdens on labor costs in the EU: almost 43%, compared to the European average of around 39%. Also, the Bloc states, Romania is the only country in the world where the contributions of the business environment to the social security system have been shifted to the responsibility of employees since 2018, so that contributions to health and pensions have doubled for employees, while for employers were reduced to zero. And according to Eurostat, the low wages and the high taxation made Romania register the third lowest employment rate in 2023, after Italy and Greece. Only 69% of Romanians aged between 20 and 64 work, which means that almost a third of Romanians do not work, shows the National Trade Union Bloc.

 

Tennis – The Romanian tennis player Sorana Cîrstea (34 years old, 32 WTA) qualified, on Saturday, in the round of 16 of the WTA 1,000 tournament in Rome, with total prizes up for grabs worth around 5 million Euros, after defeating the Czech Marketa Vondrousova, 6th seed, with the score 7-6 (7/1), 6-3. In the round of 16, Cîrstea will face the American Madison Keys. Also in the third round of the tournament, Jaqueline Cristian (25 years old, 68 WTA) was defeated by Coco Gauff (USA), world number three, 6-1, 0-6, 6-3, on Saturday evening. Romania is also represented in Rome by Irina Begu (161 WTA), who meets, today, in the third round, the Belgian Elise Mertens (seed no. 27). The Italian competition founded in 1930 was won three times by Romanian athletes: Ilie Năstase, the 1970 and 1973 editions, and Simona Halep the 2020 edition.

 

Birth rate – The Romanian Ministry of the Family has put up for public debate until May 20, a bill to modify the National Program for the Support of Couples and Single Persons in order to increase the birth rate. One of the proposals is that only one member of the couple should be a Romanian citizen, as, currently, it is necessary that both partners have Romanian citizenship, and another proposal is that the registration documents can be submitted in electronic format. According to official data, 9,300 contracts were signed last year, 2,200 pregnancies were confirmed and 156 children were born. The support offered by the Romanian state is 15,000 lei (about 3 thousand Euros).

 

Epidemic – The Health Minister, Alexandru Rafila, stated that there is still an epidemic of measles in Romania, and the disease is reported mainly in counties with a low degree of vaccination coverage. He encourages parents to immunize their children because measles is an infectious disease that is easily transmitted. According to the health ministry, vaccination coverage with the first dose at the national level is 78%, and 62% with the second dose.

 

Gaza – The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on Sunday launched a call for an “immediate” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, for the release of hostages and for an increase in aid for the Palestinian enclave under Israeli siege, AFP reports. Previously, he had warned of a “colossal humanitarian catastrophe” in the event of a large-scale Israeli assault on Rafah, a city in the south of the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, US President Joe Biden estimated that a ceasefire is possible “tomorrow” in the war between Israel and Hamas, if the Palestinian group releases the hostages. Meanwhile, Israel carried out airstrikes in several areas of the Gaza Strip after issuing new mass evacuation orders for the Palestinians there. Israel says that the city of Rafah, where it continued its bombing last night, is the last stronghold of the Hamas group. Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees have already left the city out of the more than one million who took refuge in Rafah, fleeing other war-torn areas. (LS)

 

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