THE KING – The last king of Romania, Mihai I, on Saturday was interred at the royal necropolis in Curtea de Arges, southern Romania, the resting place of his wife, Queen Ana and the other three kings of Romania. The king died on December 5 in Switzerland aged 96. Three days of national mourning have been declared in Romania, December 14 through 16. Tens of thousands of people this week have paid their respects to the King at the Royal Palace. The funeral started on Saturday with a religious service in the Throne Room at the Royal Palace, followed by a second one in the Royal Palace Square. The coffin was laid on a gun carriage pulled by a military vehicle and transported to the Orthodox Cathedral, where the last religious service in Bucharest was held. The coffin was then transported by train to Curtea de Arges, where the final interment service was officiated. Attending the funerals were representatives of European monarchies and scores of high-ranking officials.
COMMEMORATION – Commemorative events were held in Timisoara to mark 28 years since the 1989 anti-communist revolution. The National Opera hosted a fine arts exhibition devoted to freedom, while two marches re-enacted the path the mass of revolutionaries took through the city, in memory of those who lost their lives. Religious ceremonies were held and floral tributes were paid to monuments devoted to the city’s heroes. Events will continue until December 20, Victory Day, when Timisoara will play host to a rock concert. Started out as a grassroots movement against the local authorities’ abusive decisions, the revolution spread quickly across the country, and led to the demise of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu on December 22. Over 1,000 people were killed and nearly 3,400 were wounded over December 16-25. Romania was the only country from the Soviet bloc where the anti-communist revolution ended in violence with the dictatorial couple being executed.
BUDGET – Parliament’s joint budget and finance committees have adopted the state and social security budgets for next year. The state budget is based on an economic growth of 5.5%, an exchange rate of 4.55 lei against the euro and a monthly average income of some €570. The budget deficit is set at 2,97% of the GDP. On Monday, Parliament’s two chambers will debate the two bills in a joint plenary session, and a final vote on this matter has been scheduled for December 21.
COMMITTEE – Parliament’s committee on the justice laws will convene on Monday to discuss amendments to the law package, which will be submitted to the Senate for debate, the decision-making body in this case. The amendments concern the status of magistrates and the laws on judicial organization and the functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy. Also on Monday, the Committee will start debates to transpose into national law a European directive on the presumption of innocence.
MEETING – Romania’s Minister for the Business Sector, Ilan Laufer and Romania’s Ambassador to Washington, George Cristian Maior, on Friday met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The three officials discussed the remarkable evolution of the economic and trade partnership between Romania and the United States. According to a press release of the Romanian Embassy in Washington, the meeting occasioned a review of the highlights of this year, among which Romanian investment in the US, Romania hosting the Trade Winds mission forum, attended by over 100 US businesses, partnerships struck by the two countries’ defense sectors. The two delegations analyzed cooperation prospects over the coming period, with a focus on creating new business and investment opportunities that would bring benefits to both countries’ economies.
VISIT – EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, will pay a two-day visit to Romania on Monday. Her agenda includes meetings with Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and several members of the Government. Corina Cretu will also attend the 2017 Structural Funds Gala. Prior to her visit Corina Cretu said Romania has made sustained efforts to implement programs funded with cohesion funds, but these efforts must continue, Corina Cretu said.
MOLDOVA – The Parliament of Moldova on Friday voted the EU Memorandum on the €100-million aid package, to be disbursed in three instalments over the course of 2018. To access the funds, Moldova has to fulfil a set of 28 prerequisites regarding progress in implementing its agreement with the IMF. The requirements forwarded by the Commission are part of the Government’s agenda and part of them, required to disburse the first instalment, have already been met, Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu has said. One of the requirements provides for the adopting of a new law on the activity of the Court of Accounts and setting up an agency for processing notifications in the field of public procurement.
ISRAEL – The White House will continue its efforts to relaunch the peacemaking process between Israel and Palestine, endangered by President Trujmp’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, France Press reports. Diplomatic efforts will resume next week with a view to easing tensions that have been running high recently. Washington has sent Vice-President Mike Pence to Jerusalem, who will arrive on Wednesday. Most countries have condemned Donald Trump’s decision, which risks rekindling conflict in the Middle East.
(Translated by V. Palcu)