EMBASSY - On Friday, the Romanian Foreign Ministry announced, in a communiqué, that an analysis and assessment process was launched concerning the relocation of Romania's Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so as to find the best stand in this matter, taking into consideration the latest developments and the stands of Romania's partners and strategic allies. Previously, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis had stated that the relocation would represent, at this stage, a violation of international law, adding that he had not been informed or consulted about this decision. According to the Romanian Presidency, such an important decision must be taken only after consulting with and getting the approval of all institutions with foreign policy and national security responsibilities and, in keeping with the Constitution, it is the head of state that takes the final decision. President Iohannis's reaction came a day after the Chamber of Deputies Speaker, Liviu Dragnea, had announced that the Government adopted a memorandum green lighting the start of the procedures for the relocation of Romania's Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In turn, the Embassy of Palestine in Bucharest has described the Government's action as a violation of the international law and of the European Council's decisions, and also a decision that contradicts the official stand of the Romanian state on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.
JUSTICE - The Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader has stated that by next Wednesday he will submit to the Parliamentary committee that analyses the justice laws the institution's stand on the bill amending the criminal codes. On Thursday, the Commission announced that the proposals regarding the modification of the Criminal Code, of the Criminal Procedure Code of Criminal Procedure and of the Code of Civil Procedure would be debated as of May 2nd. The aim is to put the three codes in line with the rulings issued by the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as with the provisions of the relevant European Directive.
VISIT - On Friday, the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu was received in Tunis by the Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. Melescanu reiterated Bucharest's intention to resume, as soon as possible, the proceedings of the Romania - Tunisia Joint Committee. Also, he stressed Romania's support for the reform process in Tunisia and for the consolidation of the ties between Tunisia and the EU, ahead of the EU - Tunisia Association Council, due on May 15th. On Thursday, Melescanu and his counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui signed several documents, including the Declaration on the Romania - Tunisia Joint Committee, which covers fields such as the economy, defence, justice, education and tourism.
PROTEST - More than 2000 railway trade unionists protested in Bucharest on Friday, calling for solutions to avoid the bankruptcy of the National Rail Freight Company (CFR Marfa), for support for the endorsement of a law on the status of the railway personnel and for multi-annual investments in the field. Railway workers said they would start an all out strike and submitted a document to the Romanian Government, explaining the reasons for the strike. Romania has the seventh longest rail network in Europe, but, because of the lack of funding in upgrading works, hundreds of restrictions have been put in place, thus extending a lot the duration of a trip by train. The Transport Minister Lucian Sova says that solutions are being looked for so that the railway administrator recovers the debt of over one hundred million euro from CFR Marfa, money that could be used for repairing works.
MOLDOVA - The Romanian Government will continue to support the country's strategic partnership with the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, the Minister for Romanians Abroad Natalia-Elena Intotero has said on her first working visit to Chisinau. The Romanian Minister has met with representatives of the central administration, religious denominations and local authorities. Natalia-Elena Intotero discussed with the Moldovan Minister of Education, Culture and Research Monica Babuc the two countries' joint projects in the Diaspora. The Romanian language is a heritage of both Romania and the Republic of Moldova, Minister Intotero has said, adding that Bucharest counts on Chisinau's support to promote the study of the Romanian language in all regions of the Republic of Moldova.
ENERGY - Two years ago, Estonia, Denmark and Romania were the countries least dependent on energy imports for domestic consumption in the EU, according to data published by Eurostat on Friday. In 2016, the EU had to import approximately half of the consumed energy (53.6%). Since 2004, the EU's energy dependency has stood at over 50%, with the highest rate registered in 2008 (54.5%). On Friday, the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) announced that after the investigation conducted by the Competition Council, discounts on distribution fees will be calculated. The president of the Council Bogdan Chiritoiu has recently stated that he will recommend a reduction of fees, given that they were increased only as a result of arrangements made by the companies in the field.