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THE WEEK IN REVIEW

April 15-20, 2024

The Week in Review
The Week in Review

, 20.04.2024, 19:52

Registration for the June 9 local elections has begun

This week, the registrations of aspirants to the positions of city councilors began, in view of the polls on June 9 – a date on which, for the first time for Romania, the European parliamentary elections will also take place. 15 political formations have already submitted their lists of virtual MEPs, as well as seven independent candidates. Political parties, alliances, citizens’ organizations belonging to national minorities, and independent candidates are able, until April 30, at midnight, to submit candidacies for local elections. According to the most recent Eurobarometer, published on Wednesday, Romanians’ willingness to vote in the European Parliament elections has increased considerably compared to five years ago. Romania registers the second largest increase in this direction, after the Czech Republic, reaching 74%, which represents 19 percentage points more than the previous election. More important for Romanians, however, is the vote in the national elections, which 63% say is of high importance.

About Schengen, Ukraine and Israel, at the European Council in Brussels

President Klaus Iohannis declared that he wants to solve as quickly as possible the problems that Romanian citizens still have at the airports of some European countries, despite the fact that Romania entered Schengen with air borders at the end of last month. The statement was made before the European summit in Brussels, where a report requested by the Council mentioned the need for the total integration of Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen Area, as a measure that will boost the single market. Moreover, in Sofia, where he met, on Thursday, with the Romanian and Bulgarian Ministers of the Interior, the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that she hopes that this year a precise date will be established for the full accession of the two countries , as proposed by the European Commission. On the agenda of the Brussels Council was the situation in Ukraine – a country that needs more military aid and is facing problems in the energy infrastructure following the Russian bombings, but also the tense situation in the Middle East. The 27 EU states called on Israel to immediately cease fire in the Gaza Strip and open the access routes for humanitarian aid, as well as the release of all hostages by Hamas. At the same time, European leaders announced that the Union will take additional restrictive measures against Iran, especially regarding the delivery of drones and missiles. Leaders around the world, including Romania, have condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel a week ago in response to the killing of several Iranian officers in Damascus in an attack attributed to Israel. In response, on Thursday night, Israel attacked areas in western Iran that are home to an Iranian military base and several targets related to Iran’s nuclear program. Explosions were also reported in Iraq and Syria, countries where pro-Iranian Shiite militias operate.

Working visit of Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu to the Middle East

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu made, this week, a working visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with the objective of consolidating the economic component, with an emphasis on attracting investments to Romania. Accompanied by an important government delegation, the Romanian official declared that he wants Romania to become the gateway for these countries’ investments in the EU. He had meetings with representatives of relevant companies investing globally in technology, energy, agriculture, health, the IT industry, and communications. Discussions also focused on attracting investment in air and port infrastructure. In addition to the economic coordinate, the visit to the two Middle Eastern countries also had an important political dimension, with the Romanian Prime Minister having discussions at the highest level both in Doha and in Abu Dhabi. Also, the delegation from Bucharest met with members of the Romanian communities.

The IMF reviews Romania’s economic growth

The International Monetary Fund revised downward the estimates regarding the growth of the Romanian economy this year, from 3.8% to 2.8%, while the world economy will grow a little more than expected, by 3.2 percent, as shown in the latest report of the international financial institution, published in Washington. According to the international financial institution, the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East risks leading to higher energy and food prices. Returning to Romania, the Fund estimates that the country will register, this year, an average annual inflation of 6%, and 4 percent in 2025. As for the current account deficit, the IMF expects it to remain at 7.1% of GDP this year year, similar to the level predicted in October and that of last year.

Romania at the Venice Art Biennale

The Romanian Minister of Culture, Raluca Turcan, participated in the inauguration of the mosaic workshop within the New Gallery of RCI Venice, a project within the famous Biennale in the city, on which occasion he noted that this space considerably expands the cultural presence that Romania has, and contributes to the international artistic dialogue. The workshop brings together artists from Romania, alongside young artists from the Republic of Moldova, during the seven months of the Biennale. Romania has two exhibition spaces at the Venice Art Biennale, the space it has had since 1938 in the Giardini della Biennale and the New Gallery, now transformed into an artistic workspace. The Minister added that, this year, the theme of the Biennale, ‘Străini pretutindeni/Foreigners Everywhere’, reminds us that, although different, people are united through creativity and art, and thus overcome geographical and cultural borders. According to Raluca Turcan, this truth is illustrated by the exhibition ‘What work is’, which represents Romania at this year’s Art Biennale.

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