Romania's president Klaus Iohannis and the US president Donald Trump met at the White House
On Tuesday, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis was received at the White House by the President of the US Donald Trump. It was the second time that the two heads of state held official talks during their terms in office. The Romanian president has stated on numerous occasions that, to Romania, the Strategic Partnership concluded 22 years ago with the US is the pillar of its foreign policy. The joint statement of the two presidents reads that "as the Presidents of the United States and Romania, we stand together as friends and Allies to advance our robust and durable strategic partnership. Through our deepening partnership, we will create new opportunities for greater security, growth, and prosperity and be in better position to respond to shared global challenges and responsibilities."
In fact, president Klaus Iohannis believes that the working visit he paid to Washington will boost the Strategic Partnership between the US and Romania, and says he will get fully involved in its development, given that the partnership generates positive effects on both countries. The Romanian president has also stated that Donald Trump thanked him for the presence of Romanian military in Afghanistan and that he told the US president about the importance of enhancing the US military presence in Romania.
An important topic approached by the two presidents was energy security, and the joint statement recognizes that, for both countries, energy security is national security, also underscoring their opposition to Nord Stream 2 and other projects that make the Allies and partners dependent on energy from Russia. Klaus Iohannis and Donald Trump also discussed the visa regime for Romanian citizens, and in the joint statement the United States reiterates its support for Romania's efforts to become eligible for entry into the Visa Waiver Program in accordance with the requirements of United States law.
The economic ties between the two countries was also on the agenda of talks. Here is Romanian president Klaus Iohannis:
"We need to do more with regard to both trade and investment. It's important to find new ways to extend economic cooperation in fields such as energy, cyber security and defense. In fact, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two governments on 5G technology, given the importance of the security of 5th generation wireless telecommunications networks for national prosperity and security"
The joint statement issued by the two presidents also stresses the excellent law enforcement and anti-corruption partnership between their countries, which is firmly based on a mutual commitment to the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Donald Trump said during the meeting that the relation between the United States and Romania had never been better.
Harsher measures against crime
The Romanian Justice Ministry has decided to tighten the penalties for serious crimes against persons and to change the conditions for conducting house searches and also the rules of conditional release. The bill amending the Criminal Codes has been presented by the line minister Ana Birchal, who has stated that the government's goal is to prevent tragedies such as the one in Caracal, where a 66-year-old man admitted to having kidnapped, raped and killed two teenagers. Thus, kidnapping will be incriminated separately, with a sentence of 2 to 8 years in prison. At the same time, the age limit will increase from 60 to 65 years, in case of parole, along with other cumulative conditions, such as 25 years in prison actually executed, not 20 as it is currently stipulated.
The Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) will have more responsibilities too. The new bill extends the DIICOT competences to also cover the aggravating variants of the crime of deprivation of liberty illegally, by kidnapping, as well as to the crime of slavery, given the seriousness and complexity of such acts.
Positive economic figures for Romanian economy
In the first half of the year, Romania's GDP went up by 4.8% as against the same period of 2018, according to the most recent data made public by the National Statistics Institute and Eurostat. The figures were announced on Wednesday by PM Viorica Dancila:
"The second quarter of 2019 is the 5th in which we've registered progressive economic growth, of more than 1% from one quarter to the other. In the first half of the year, foreign direct investment went up by 30% as compared with the same period of 2018."
According to PM Dancila, Romania ranks second in Europe in terms of economic growth in the first three months of 2019. The PM has also stated that over 53 thousand new jobs have been created since the beginning of the year.
Romanian teams in the European football championships
On Thursday night, Romania's football vice-champion FCSB (formerly known as Steaua Bucharest) ended in a nil-nil draw the match played on home turf against the Portuguese from Vitoria Guimaraes, in the first leg of the Europa League play-off stage. The return leg is scheduled for next week. On Tuesday, the Romanian champion CFR Cluj lost nil-1 the game against the Czech squad Slavia Prague, in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs. The return game will be played in Prague, on August 28th. The winner will then play in the Champions League's groups. The other two Romanian representatives in Europa League, Viitorul Constanta and CSU Craiova, have been eliminated in the preliminary rounds. (translated by M. Ignatescu)