Aid - The leaders of the ruling coalition in Romania are to decide the final form of the aid package for the population and the economy, in the context of the recent wave of price hikes. There are measures that have been discussed for several weeks - increasing the amounts allocated to food in hospitals, increasing the value of meal vouchers and granting vouchers to the vulnerable population. The minimum wage is also to be increased, a measure which is optional for companies though, and they might introduce the possibility of loan repayment postponement for the population, as happened during the pandemic. Carriers are also to receive support, as they will have part of the diesel costs reimbursed by the state, and grants are provided for small and medium-sized enterprises. Liberal Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca has said the aid package will ensure the functioning of the economy and protect vulnerable citizens. In turn, the Social Democrat leader, Marcel Ciolacu, has pointed out that this is the first time that a Government comes with such an initiative, and the total amount allocated for the application of the aid package is over 17 billion lei (about 3.5 billion Euros), half of which is covered by European funds.
WB - The World Bank has revised downwards the estimate for Romania’s economic growth this year, from 4.3%, as it estimated in January, to 1.9%. According to the international institution, the economic risks have increased significantly, especially as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For next year, the World Bank has improved its estimate of the Romania’s economic growth, to 4.1%, while for 2024 it anticipated an increase in the Gross Domestic Product of 4.3 %.
Schengen – The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is committed to firmly supporting Romania's accession to the Schengen Area. The statement was made in Bucharest by the group's president, Iratxe García Pérez, who stated that Romania met the technical criteria for inclusion in the European free movement area. "There is no excuse for this not to become a reality as soon as possible," Perez said. Romania should have joined Schengen in 2011, but several European countries have shown their opposition, saying that the country has problems with corruption and the justice system.
EU accession – The Republic of Moldova and Georgia received on Monday, from the European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, the questionnaire for their application for EU accession. The document serves as a basis for accession negotiations, which, however, involve a laborious and lengthy process. The handing over of the questionnaire by the European Commission is an important stage on the European path of the Republic of Moldova, and Romania is by its side and offers its full support, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis wrote on Twitter. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca welcomed the event, noting that the Romanian government was ready to provide support in formulating the response.
Sanctions – The Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Monday hailed the adoption of the new package of European sanctions against Russia (the fifth), stressing the importance of their effective implementation and expressed readiness to discuss new sanctions. He attended a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. As for Ukraine, Aurescu expressed concern over the growing number of reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity and underscored Romania's support for the International Criminal Court's efforts to investigate them. The Romanian Foreign Minister said that the unity and solidarity of the EU, as well as the coordination with the USA, NATO and other partners remained fundamental in counteracting the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Visit – Romania's energy security, tougher measures against Russia, the consolidation of NATO's eastern flank and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the Romanian economy were the main topics of discussion at the meeting, in Bucharest, of the Senate Speaker Florin Citu with a delegation led by the leader of the Republican minority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McGarry. The two sides highlighted, among other things, that nuclear power projects were a priority for increasing Romania's energy security and reducing its energy dependence on Russia. The importance of the international community adopting a unified and coherent response to the actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine was also discussed.
Motion – On Monday, the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament rejected a simple motion submitted by Save Romania Union - USR against the Environment Minister, Tanczos Barna. The opposition party claimed that the minister of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania - UDMR in the ruling coalition would be the main culprit for illegal deforestation, environmental damage, the state's incapacity to take advantage of green economy opportunities and for the contemptuous attitude towards civil society, USR representatives say. Tanczos Barna claimed that the so-called illegal deforestation was untrue, because no one could prove one single case of illegal logging during his term. (LS)