Romania’s acting PM Ludovic Orban attends Munich Security Conference./First coronavirus fatality in Europe reported in France.
Conference. The Romanian
acting prime minister Ludovic Orban is attending the 56th edition of
the Munich Security Conference which brings together top level representatives
of political and business circles and which comes to an end on Sunday. In his
opening remarks on Friday, Germany's president Frank-Walter
Steinmeier criticised the great powers the United States, China and Russia for
making the world less safe through their stance on international politics.
Dozens of heads of state, ministers, heads of businesses and representatives of
international organisations and the academic community are in Munich to discuss
security threats in the Euro-Atlantic area, the crises in its vicinity and the
relationship between the European Union and NATO.
United States will finance energy projects worth 1 billion dollars in countries
in Central and Eastern Europe that are members of the Three Seas Initiative to
consolidate their energy independence from Russia, US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo said on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference. "Our aim is to galvanise private sector investment
in their energy sectors", said Pompeo. The Three Seas Initiative, launched
in 2015, is a group of 12 EU states located between the Baltic, Adriatic and
Black Seas, namely Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary.
The aim of the initiative is to consolidate cooperation among its members in
areas such as energy, infrastructure and security, especially in the face of
Russia, which some of these states view as a direct threat. Like the United
States, the Three Seas Initiative states are opposed to the North Stream 2
pipeline aimed at doubling the direct supply of Russian gas to Western Europe
across the Baltic Sea, thus bypassing the eastern part of the continent. The
United States has adopted sanctions against the companies associated with the
construction of the pipeline, saying the project would increase Europe's
reliance on Russian gas and thus strengthen Moscow's influence.
Coronavirus. The death toll caused by the new coronavirus in continental
China has exceeded 1,500, while the first death in Europe was reported in
France. The victim is an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who has been in hospital
in Paris since the end of January. A joint mission with China led by the World
Health Organisation begins an outbreak investigation this weekend. One Romanian
citizen of the 17 on board the cruise ship Westerdam that docked in Cambodia
has been sent to Romania. The Romanian foreign ministry says all crew and
passengers tested negative for coronavirus. In Bucharest, the health ministry
says no case has been reported in Romania. However, a Romanian citizen from the
Diamond Princess cruise vessel, found in the Japanese territorial waters,
tested positive for the new pneumonia virus and was transferred to a Japanese
hospital. Romania's diplomatic mission in Japan is in contact with the Romanian
citizen in hospital and the other Romanian nationals on board the vessel.
Environment. Romania's environment
minister Costel Alexe and the European environment commissioner Virginijus
Sinkevičius on Friday met in Brussels to analyse the solutions proposed by the
Romanian government to close the infringement procedures triggered by the European
Commission against Romania over illegal logging and its failure to finalise a
national air quality control programme. The two officials also discussed issues
related to biodiversity, the expansion of the Natura 2000 network, the
development of the air quality monitoring system, waste management and
environmental funding programmes, according to a statement by the Romanian
environment ministry. The European Commission on Wednesday sent a letter to
Romania urging it to properly implement the EU Timber Regulation, which
prevents companies in this sector to place on the market products obtained from
illegal logging. The European Commission has given Bucharest one month to take
the necessary measures.
Measles. Measles cases are on the
rise in Romania, with 53 new cases reported this week. The total number of
cases is 19,381, including 64 deaths. Measles is a contagious disease that often leads to
complications. One in four people developing measles needs hospitalisation and
for one patient in 1,000 cases the disease is deadly. Prevention against
measles is achieved through vaccination.
Tennis. The Romanian tennis player Simona
Halep, world no. 2, is seeded first at the WTA tournament in Dubai, the United
Arab Emirates, worth 2.6 million dollars, and which gets under way on Monday.
Halep plays straight into eight finals, where she will be facing the winner
between Alison Riske of the US and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. Halep won the Dubai
tournament in 2015. Sorana Cirstea, world no. 69, will play against Germany's Julia Goerges (31 WTA), while Ana Bogdan, world no.
90, faces China's Shuai Zhang (32 WTA). In other tennis news, another Romanian
player, Patricia Tig,
world no. 105, failed to qualify for the finals of the WTA tournament in Hua
Hin, Thailand, being defeated by Poland's Magda Linette, world no. 42, in the