Government publishes 2019 budget./ Bucharest hosts informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Budget. The Romanian government on Thursday night published the draft
budget for 2019, which is based on a 5.5% economic growth rate, a budget
deficit of 2.55% and an average annual inflation rate of 2.8%. The bill
provides for more funds for investment, healthcare and education, and less
money for the business environment, communications and energy ministries. Municipal mayors are
unhappy with the new budget, as the local authorities are to incur most of
the social spending so far covered from the central budget.
Meeting. Bucharest is hosting the informal meeting of EU foreign
ministers (the so-called Gymnich meeting) hosted by the
Romanian foreign minister Teodor Melescanu and chaired by the EU foreign policy
chief Federica Mogherini. The agenda of talks features international topics
such as the Eastern Partnership, Venezuela, Syria and China. EU foreign
ministers will also hold a joint working meeting with their counterparts from the
EU candidate countries, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. First held in 1974, the Gymnich meetings bring
together foreign ministers for informal talks. Unlike the meetings of the
External Affairs Council, Gymnich meetings do not adopt any conclusions or
Defence. As of today, Lieutenant General Laurian Anastasof takes
over as interim chief of the defence staff following an order by minister
Gabriel Les. On Thursday, the Bucharest Court of Appeal admitted a request from
the Defence Ministry to suspend a decree from last December by which president
Klaus Iohannis extended the term of General Nicolae Ciuca as chief of the
defence staff. The defence minister Gabriel Les said on Thursday that he was
waiting for the court to publish its ruling before making a nomination for the
position. The court's ruling is binding, but the President's Office can appeal it.
Talks. British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is in Romania today for
talks with president Klaus Iohannis and prime minister Viorica Dancila,
according to the UK embassy in Bucharest. Hunt is expected to discuss bilateral
cooperation in areas such as combating modern slavery and hybrid threats, as
well as Brexit and the future bilateral relations. This is his first official
trip to Romania. He will also host a talk about the freedom of the press
attended by journalists from the Romanian media.
Flu. The number of deaths caused by flu in Romania has reached 64. The
most recent victim is a man from southern Romania with preexisting
medical conditions and who had not received the flu vaccine. The authorities in
Bucharest on Wednesday officially declared a flu epidemic and warned that the
virus will continue to circulate intensely this month.
Handball. The CSM Bucharest player Cristina Neagu has been chosen the best
female handball player in 2018 on the Handball-Planet website after a poll that
involved journalists and fans from different countries. She is followed in the
ranking by the French player Amandine Leynaud and the Russian player
Vyakhireva. This is the third time Neagu is declared world's best female player
on this website, after 2015 and 2016. The ranking also features the Romanian
line-player Crina Pintea from the Hungarian side Gyor. Neagu sustained a
serious injury in December during the European Championship in France, where
she became the best all-time scorer in the history of this competition.