EASTER Catholic and Protestant Christians are preparing today for the Easter holiday, while Orthodox and Greek-Catholics are getting ready for Palm Sunday. Tonight Roman-Catholic churches are holding the Easter Vigil, the religious service that celebrates the Resurrection of Christ. Also today, on the eve of Palm Sunday, Orthodox and Greek Catholic believers in many parts of Romania organise religious processions to commemorate Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem prior to the Crucifixion.
HOLIDAYS In Romania, over 10,000 police and 8,000 gendarmes will be deployed on the Orthodox Palm Sunday and Catholic Easter Sunday, to ensure the safety of the citizens taking part in the events related to these holidays. Traffic police and over 300 radar units will also be on duty, to prevent accidents and to ensure smooth road traffic. Meanwhile, many Romanians working abroad are beginning their Easter visits home, and checkpoints are getting increasingly crowded. Over 4,000 border police will work every day to ensure efficient border controls during this period. The Romanian Border Police has also called on the authorities of Bulgaria, Hungary and the Republic of Moldova to increase the number of staff available in checkpoints, if necessary.
RESHUFFLING President Klaus Iohannis will announce early next week his decision on the new nominations in the Dancila Cabinet. The Social Democratic Party, the main party in the ruling coalition, has nominated the deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Eugen Nicolicea to replace Tudorel Toader as justice minister. The Social Democrats withdrew their political support for Toader after he refused to pass new controversial changes in the criminal codes, and consequently Tudorel Toader stepped down. The Prime Minister also forwarded to the Presidency the resignations of Rovana Plumb as Minister for European Funds and of Natalia Intotero as Minister for Romanians Abroad. The 2 are running for the European Parliament in the upcoming elections. Nominated to replace them are Deputy Oana Florea, for the Ministry for European Funds, and Senator Liviu Brăiloiu for the ministry in charge of the diaspora. The President has hinted that he disapproves of these proposals. In his opinion, this government reshuffling strengthens what he called “the Social Democrats’ siege of the judiciary.”
DIPLOMACY Regional and international security and the contribution to the fulfilment of NATO’s goals were the main topics approached by the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu in a meeting with his counterparts from Poland and Turkey in Ankara. The ministers reconfirmed the need for constant efforts in order to efficiently respond to all challenges, wherever they may come from, and to implement the measures regarding the Black Sea region. The participants also agreed to hold meetings with the main representatives of the 3 countries’ military industries. Teodor Meleşcanu also mentioned the support provided by Romania to its eastern partners—Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine—and to the Western Balkans states. He also said that Romania aims to support these countries in advancing their relations with NATO and the EU.
CULTURE As part of the 2019 Romania-France Cultural Season, the French Film Festival kicks off today in 10 cities in Romania. Launched in November 2018, in France, the cultural dialogue between the 2 countries continues in Romania with scores of theatre shows, dance performances, concerts, film screenings, literature-related events, exhibitions and debates held in over 30 towns and cities. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, pointed out that this was an important landmark in the arts and cultural life in Romania and France. The event strengthens the economic, scientific, cultural and social ties between the 2 states. The official closing of the 2019 Romania-France Cultural Season, which overlaps the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, will be on July 14, France’s National Day.
TENNIS Romania’s Simona Halep (2 WTA) is playing today in Rouen against Kristina Mladenovic (66 WTA) in the first round of the Fed Cup semi-finals between Romania and France. In the second match of the day, Mihaela Buzărnescu (30 WTA) will take on Caroline Garcia (21 WTA). Three other matches are scheduled on Sunday: Caroline Garcia vs. Simona Halep, Kristina Mladenovic vs. Mihaela Buzărnescu and Caroline Garcia / Kristina Mladenovic vs. Irina Begu / Monica Niculescu. For the second time in history, 46 years apart, Romania is playing a Fed Cup semi-final. France’s performance in this competition is much better: the French tennis players were twice champions, in 1997 and 2003, finalists in 2004, 2005 and 2016, and semi-finalists several times, including last year. Should Romania get past France this weekend, it will play the final in November against the winner of the match pitting Australia against Belarus.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)