“In the current security climate, there is no alternative to a strong Europe”, says Romanian foreign minister Lazar Comanescu/The Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, receives the “Star of Romania” National Order, in rank of Grand Officer
GLOBSEC –In the current security climate, there is no alternative to a strong Europe, with tightened security on the external borders and a consolidated Schengen area, Romanian foreign minister Lazar Comanescu said in Bratislava on Friday. During a meeting he had with his Slovakian counterpart, Miroslav Lajcak, organised on the sidelines of the Global Security Summit, GLOBSEC, Comanescu made public Romania’s stand on a series of topical issues on the European agenda, particularly the migration crisis as well as the political and security developments in the Eastern Neighbourhood. He laid emphasis on the situation in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, with a predominantly Romanian speaking population and in Ukraine, which are both neighbouring Romania. In turn, Lajcak hailed the fact that the Romanian Foreign Ministry will send an expert to join the Slovakian team during Bratislava’s holding the EU Council Presidency, in the second half of the year. An event boasting a tradition spanning over a decade, GLOBSEC has become an important foreign policy and security platform, bringing together high-ranking officials and renowned experts from Europe and North America.
ROMANIAN CITIZENSHIP – Every tenth citizen of the Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet state, with a predominantly Romanian speaking population) is also holding Romanian citizenship, official data issued by the Bucharest-based National Citizenship Bureau show. In 2002, Romania started to grant citizenship to some 385,000 inhabitants of the Republic of Moldova, which account for 10% of that country’s population. A couple of years ago, the Romanian government launched a special program which simplified the process of granting Romanian citizenship to Moldovans, whose country was set up on some of the Romanian eastern territories, annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, following an ultimatum. Recent opinion polls show the idea of the two countries’ reunification is supported by some 70% of the Romanians and by over 20% of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
AWARD - Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, has signed the decree awarding the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, ambassador Alexander Vershbow, the “Star of Romania” National Order, in rank of Grand Officer, “in token of high appreciation for the constant support provided to Romania, for his vision in developing and achieving Euro-Atlantic security, for promoting cooperation at international level, in an effort to successfully face the challenges of the new millennium”, the Romanian Presidential Administration writes in a communiqué. Romania became a NATO member in 2004.
TERRORISM – Romania reiterates its firm commitment to actively contribute to international efforts to combat terrorism, Romania’s Permanent Representative at the UN Ion Jinga said during a debate of the UN Security Council. The Romanian official added that terrorism is a permanent threat against humanity and that no country is safe from this scourge. The UN is making special efforts to build a universal coalition against terrorism, Jinga went on to say.
RESIGNATION – Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has announced the Government will next week continue talks with civil society with respect to the salaries of public sector employees, so as to come up with a commonly accepted, feasible and legal solution. On Thursday Dacian Ciolos accepted the resignation of Labour Minister Ana Costea, and is expected to make a nomination for this office over the coming period.
DACIA – The sales of the Romanian carmaker Dacia, owned by the French group Renault, reported a 4.9% hike in March at European level, with a market share of 2.3%, according to data made public by the European Carmakers Association on Friday. Registrations of Dacia makes in Europe stood at 41,000 units, up as compared to March 2015. Renault took over Dacia in 1999. Re-branded in 2004 with the release of the Logan make, Dacia has become a major player on the European car market.
POPE FRANCIS – Pope Francis on Saturday is paying a symbolic visit to Lesbos Island in Greece, to express solidarity with all migrants, the Vatican has announced. The visit is also an ecumenical effort, as Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will also be present in Lesbos. Over 4,000 migrants were rescued last week in the Mediterranean. EU officials are worried Europe might face a new migration wave in the coming months. This time migrants are expected to arrive via Africa, mainly Libya, after the Balkan gateway into Europe was blocked earlier this year. Under these circumstances, Pope Francis says the situation of the refugees in Greece remains dramatic.
TENNIS – Romania’s Fed Cup team on Saturday and Sunday is taking on Germany, in the Romanian City of Cluj, in the World Group playoffs. In the first match on Saturday, Irina Begu (WTA’s no 35) will meet Angelique Kerber (WTA’s no. 3), whereas in the second simple tennis match, Simona Halep (WTA’s no 6) will face Andrea Petkovic (WTA’s no.30). On Sunday, Halep is due to meet Kerber, and the last simple tennis match will be played by Begu and Petkovic. In the doubles, the pair Alexandra Dulgheru/Monica Niculescu will meet Annika Beck/Julia Goerges. In February, in the first round of the competition, Romania lost to the Czech Republic, the defending champion, 2-3, and Germany was defeated by Switzerland, with the same score. Germany ranks fourth and Romania ninth in the FED Cup classification.
(Translated by Vlad Palcu and Diana Vijeu)