Investigation into Colectiv fire completed, nightclub owners to be sent to court.
NATO – The deputy Secretary General of NATO, Alexander Vershbow, will be received on Monday by President Klaus Iohannis, and will also have a meeting with the Romanian Defence Minister, Mihnea Motoc. According to the Defence Ministry, the NATO official is in Romania between April 24 and 26 to take part in a meeting of of political leaders in the defence ministries of NATO member states. Meanwhile, the US President, Barack Obama, who is to have a meeting on Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will call on Germany to get more involved in the defence of eastern NATO member countries. German governmental sources quoted by Der Spiegel magazine said additional NATO troops might be deployed to Romania, Poland and the Baltic States. An official decision on increasing the NATO military presence in the east is to be made at the Alliance Summit due in Warsaw. The Pentagon has already announced in late March that the US will send more troops to Eastern Europe, Romania included, as of 2017, as part of the measures to guarantee security against the backdrop of Russia’s recent actions.
LEGISLATION – The Romanian Labour Ministry will initiate on Monday talks with its social partners on a new emergency order aimed at doing away with inequities in public sector salaries. The new legislation is scheduled to be finalised within three weeks. In an interview to Radio Romania, the Finance Minister Anca Dragu said the Government intended to increase the lower salaries in the public administration, because the budget resources were limited. She also explained that according to data available to the Finance Ministry, in the first months of the year revenues to the state budget were higher than estimated.
COLECTIV – The Office of the Prosecutor General has finalised its investigation into the Colectiv nightclub fire which killed 64 people and injured over 150. Several people, including the nightclub owners, will be sent to Court. The three owners are accused, among other things, of manslaughter and breach of relevant safety and security regulations. The tragedy took place last autumn, during a rock concert in which several hundreds of people took part. The fire was caused by fireworks, but overcrowding and the lack of multiple access ways contributed to the increased death toll. The Colectiv fire had a huge impact and was followed by large-scale street protests, further to which PM Victor Ponta resigned.
PALM SUNDAY – Romanian Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, which is a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s entry in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The previous day, thousands of believers and hundreds of priests took part in processions, in the country and abroad, in a symbolic reconstruction of Christ’s journey to Jerusalem. Palm Sunday opened the last week of Lent, also known as Passion Week, which commemorates the most dramatic days in the life of Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday, nearly 1.4 million Romanians named after flower names celebrated their name day.
PROTESTS – Thousands of people took part on Sunday in Chisinau, the capital city of the Rep. of Moldova, in an anti-government protest organised by the Dignity and Truth Platform. The protesters demanded the resignation of the Filip Cabinet and early parliamentary elections, and announced that they resumed around-the-clock protests against the current government. According to them, the Cabinet failed to meet the demands they had made previously, and only goes through the motions of implementing reforms. Several pro-European parties in opposition, including the Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Reformist Party, have joined the protest organised by the Dignity and Truth Platform.