Romanian and European parliaments to commemorate 30 years since the 1989 anti-communist uprising in Romania on Monday
ASEM The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu Sunday had a meeting with New Zealand’s Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe meeting of foreign ministers held in Madrid. The 2 officials discussed areas of bilateral cooperation, with a focus on strengthening political and diplomatic dialogue and on cooperation within international organisations. Minister Aurescu also emphasised the importance of bilateral economic cooperation, and of bolstering relations between the EU and New Zealand. Also on Sunday, Aurescu met with the Romanian students who attended the Model ASEM Youth Conference, and voiced his support for the youth organisations that work on the sidelines of the summit meetings. The 14th ASEM foreign ministers meeting, held under the motto “Asia and Europa – together for effective multilateralism,” is chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. Taking part are foreign ministers and senior representatives of over 50 European and Asian countries. This is the last event in the ASEM ministerial meeting series taking place in 2019 in which Romania has been an active contributor, including an ASEM education ministers meeting hosted by Bucharest on May 15th-16th, during the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU.
COMMEMORATION Timişoara, the western Romanian city where the anti-communist uprising started 30 years ago, Sunday hosted a roundtable and a Freedom March to commemorate the event. On Monday, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies convene in a joint solemn session devoted to the anniversary of 3 decades since the anti-communist revolution in Romania. In turn, the European Parliament will commemorate on Monday, on the first day of the new plenary session in Strasbourg, the 30 years since the Romanian Revolution, with a resolution on this topic scheduled to be adopted Thursday. The anti-communist revolution started out on December 16th in Timişoara, which on December 20th became the first Romanian city free of communism. On December 21st, the uprising started to spread to reach Bucharest and other Romanian cities. More than 1,000 people died and some 3,000 were wounded in the clashes that followed across Romania, the only country in the Eastern Bloc where the regime was ousted violently and where the communist leaders (Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu) were executed.
LEGISLATION The Social Democratic Party in opposition will refer to the Constitutional Court on Monday 2 bills that the Liberal Government has these days rushed through Parliament by means of a special procedure. The bills concern the length in service requirements for entry-level magistrates and measures in the road transport sector, the Social Democratic leader Marcel Ciolacu has announced. The Government has also announced plans to request Parliament’s confidence on a number of other measures, such as scrapping several provisions in the Government Order 114, dubbed “the greed tax order,” through which a year ago the Social Democratic government had introduced additional taxes for banks and caps on the electricity and natural gas prices charged to households. After a first reading of the bill amending this Order, the Government announced it targeted the deregulation of natural gas prices as of July 1, 2020 and of electricity prices as of December 31, 2020, the scrapping of the 2% fee paid by energy companies to the state budget, and the repeal of provisions that allowed for money in privately-managed pension funds to be transferred to the government-managed fund.
MIGRANTS Romanian border police found 20 citizens from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Algeria and India trying to illegally cross the border into Hungary through the Vărşand, Borş and Nădlac II checkpoints in western Romania, the Border Police Inspectorate General announced on Sunday. According to the source, 2 of them are children, the others are men aged 22 to 40, all of them having sought asylum in Romania. They said they were trying to get to a Western European country. The police investigate them for attempted illegal border crossing, identity fraud and forgery.
PROTEST Hundreds of people protested in Buzau, south-eastern Romania on Sunday against the recent dismissal by the Liberal Government of researcher Costel Vînătoru as head of the Vegetable and Ornamental, Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Gene Bank based in the city. Costel Vînătoru, a corresponding member of the Academy of Farming and Forestry Sciences, is the initiator of the Gene Bank, set up in September by the Social Democratic Government. He has been working in vegetable research for 34 years, working to reduce Romania’s reliance on seed and vegetable imports.
BREXIT Queen Elizabeth II will set out on Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislative agenda following his December 12th election victory. According to the Royal House, the agenda will include a pledge to bring the EU Withdrawal Agreement bill back to parliament before Christmas. The parliamentary approval for the Brexit deal is expected to be a mere formality now, when the Tories have a comfortable 365-seat majority after their biggest national election win in decades.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)