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THE WEEK IN REVIEW

May 6-10, 2024

The Week
The Week

, 11.05.2024, 13:40

Bright Week

The Orthodox majority and Greek-Catholic Christians in Romania are still in Bright Week, the first after the Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ. Following Easter, celebrated on May 5, Bright Week is an occasion for spiritual renewal and strengthening of faith. It is, in the calendar of Eastern Christianity, also the beginning of a special period, which ends fifty days after Easter, on June 23, with the Descent of the Holy Spirit, a holiday also known as Pentecost.

Busy month

The at least presumptive calm of the Easter holidays dissipated on Friday, May 10, at dawn, with the official launch of the electoral campaign for the European Parliament and local elections, scheduled simultaneously in Romania on June 9. For the first time in the three and a half decades of post-communist democracy, Romanians are going to elect on the same day both their 33 representatives in the European Parliament and the mayors of some 3200 communes and cities, together with the presidents of county councils, and local and county councilors. For one month, until the eve of the election, the aspirants to these public offices will be able to promote themselves everywhere: television, radio, markets, fairs, stadiums, or bus stations. The Central Electoral Bureau (CEB) strongly advises the election contestants to respect the general rules regarding the conduct of the campaign, to have a balanced, honest, and constructive discourse, and to avoid distortion or manipulation of information. Voters deserve to have access to objective, real and correct information, to be able to form their own opinion and to decide with full knowledge of the case – the CEB also states. Abroad, for the first time, more than 900 polling stations will be organized, reserved exclusively for Euro elections. If Romanian citizens can vote for MEPs anywhere in the country or abroad, for local elected officials they can exercise their right to vote only in the sections where they are domiciled or reside. In Bucharest, there are nine political figures who aspire to become general mayor, a position for which, in internal politics, the most votes are needed, after that of president of Romania.

The union evaluated

Almost 50% of Romanians believe that the country’s accession to the European Union, in 2007, brought advantages rather than disadvantages, their percentage being on the rise compared to 10 years ago. A survey carried out by INSCOP highlights the fact that over 60% of people who share this opinion are young, and around 73 percent have higher education. The data shows that more than half of the people who believe that the accession has brought benefits live in Bucharest, the economic engine of the country. 42 percent of those interviewed believe that future MEPs should fight, as a priority, for Romanians to have the same rights as the rest of European citizens, such as, for example, full integration in the Schengen Area, including land borders.

Europe on film

The 28th edition of the European Film Festival (FFE) started in Bucharest, on Thursday, May 9, on Europe Day itself, and will end in Chisinau, in the neighboring Republic of Moldova on June 8, during the weekend of the European Parliament elections. According to the organizing forum, the Romanian Cultural Institute, this year, the Festival proposes a generous program of 40 feature films – 34 as a national premiere – and two selections of short films.

Visit to the White House

The situation in Ukraine, invaded by Russian troops, dominated the Tuesday discussions, at the White House, between American president Joe Biden and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis. Both reiterated their unwavering support for Kiev. Iohannis received, the next day, the Award for Outstanding International Leadership for the year 2024, at a gala organized in Washington as well. The Atlantic Council of the United States, a prestigious American organization, founded in 1961, with a rich activity in the field of international affairs, announced that it granted this award to the President of Romania in recognition of his career and his role as a transatlantic and European leader. Among the laureates of the important distinction were, in the past, President George W. Bush, head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Prime Ministers Tony Blair of the UK and Italy’s Mario Draghi. In 2024, Iohannis will complete his second five-year term as head of state, to which the Romanian Constitution gave him the right.

Deferred qualification

The Romanian men’s national handball team defeated the Czech team with a score of 31-30, on Wednesday evening, at home in Baia Mare (north), in the first leg of the 2025 World Championship play-offs. The decisive leg will take place away in Brno on Sunday, May 12. Romania participated 14 times in the World Championship, and in the 1960-70s, thanks to some exceptional generations, it won the trophy four times, a performance that remained unmatched for a long time. The last time, however, was at a final tournament in 2011, when they took 19th place. Next year’s World Championship will take place between January 14 and February 2, in Croatia, Denmark, and Norway.

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