ISRAEL – While on an official visit to Israel, a Romanian delegation made up of PM Viorica Dăncilă, Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, was received on Thursday by President Reuven Rivlin. The Romanian officials said that strengthening cooperation with Israel was a priority, particularly considering the 70-year long tradition of diplomatic relations. The agenda of talks also included the appointment of a Romanian ambassador to Israel, given that the post has been vacant for almost one and a half years, the relocation of the Romanian Embassy to Jerusalem and regional topics like the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear file. On Wednesday, PM Viorica Dăncilă and her counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the excellent level of bilateral relations. The Romanian prime minister voiced her satisfaction with the interest shown by the Israeli side in a proposed partnership that would generate joint projects in the field of new technologies. The participants also discussed means of cooperation in the military, strategic and cyber security fields. Also on Wednesday, the Romanian Prime Minister visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre, and had a meeting with the leader of the left-wing Opposition in the Israeli Parliament, Isaac Herzog.
JUDICIARY – The President of Romania Klaus Iohannis Thursday referred a regulation on the organisation of the Official Journal to the Constitutional Court. The President argues that the public company that runs the Official Journal of Romania cannot be subordinated to the Chamber of Deputies as long as the law stipulates no powers for the Chamber in this respect. Meanwhile, also on Thursday the High Court of Cassation and Justice decided to refer to the Constitutional Court a bill on alternatives to imprisonment, under which sentences below 5 years in prison may be switched to house arrest or to weekend detention in special centres. The Chamber of Deputies endorsed this bill on Wednesday.
PROTESTS – Deputy PM Viorel Ştefan Thursday promised the Romanian trade unions in the public healthcare sector that on May 2 he would come up with a solution to address the income losses in the sector. The unionists, who staged a rally in Bucharest on Thursday, announced they would not give up their protests. Several categories of healthcare staff claim their net wages have dropped since the implementation of the new tax and salary regulations, and they demand the scrapping of the current 30% cap on bonuses. The rally in Bucharest will be followed by a token strike on May 7, while May 11 is the announced start date of an all-out strike in the healthcare and social assistance sector.
EPP – Ludovic Orban, president of the National Liberal Party, in opposition in Romania, announced that the European People’s Party (EPP), the political family to which his party is also affiliated, will have a common candidate for president of the European Commission. Orban discussed the topic in Brussels with the EPP president, Joseph Daul. The candidate, Orban added, will be elected in the EPP congress due in November in Helsinki. Orban also said that he had discussed with the EPP leaders the details of a common strategy to ensure job stability at European level, a strategy that also targets the Romanians who will work in the UK after Brexit.
TENNIS – The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, no 1 in the world, will take on CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) in Friday’s quarter-finals of the WTA tournament in Stuttgart, which has 816,000 US dollars in total prize money. Halep previously defeated the Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova (18 WTA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. In last year’s edition of the Stuttgart tournament, Halep was defeated in the semi-finals.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)