The Romanian Revolution - 29 years on
29 years have passed since the 1989 anti-Communist revolution in Romania that put an end to a nightmare of many decades. On December 17, 1989 fire was opened in the western city of Timisoara on those who dared to protest against dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The anti-communist revolution also saw its first victims in Timisoara: 58 people were shot dead and several hundreds were injured. Monday was a day of mourning in Timisoara, which commemorated the victims of the 1989 revolution. Flags with black ribbons attached to them were flown at half-staff and a commemoration service was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral for the martyrs of the revolution. Also wreathe-laying ceremonies were held that were attended by revolutionaries, local officials and guests.
"It is the duty of all the people of Timisoara to remember the young souls of the victims who craved for freedom, after a troubled night when more than 600 people were arrested. The discontented people of Timisoara's took to the streets but unfortunately the army did not understand the message of the people of Timisoara and opened fire on them in the Freedom Square."
On Thursday Timisoara marked Victory Day. 29 years ago, after the repression by the Communist authorities that left behind dead and wounded, workers went on strike and the people of Timisoara took to the streets in great numbers. The army withdrew to the barracks and from the balcony of the Opera House in Timisoara the people declared Timisoara the first city of Romania free of Communism. To mark this moment, siren calls were heard in downtown Timisoara at noon. The revolt extended on December 21 to Bucharest and other cities of Romania. Commemoration services were held at cemeteries and memorial crosses erected in memory of the victims. Over one thousand people died and around 3 thousand were injured in the Romanian uprising, the only country in the Eastern bloc where the change of regime was violent and the Communist leaders were executed.
The no-confidence motion against the government failed
The Parliament of Romania Thursday dismissed a no-confidence motion against the Government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and headed by Viorica Dancila. Entitled "Enough is enough! Dragnea-Dancila Cabinet, the embarrassment of Romania!", the no-confidence vote was initiated by the National Liberal Party, the Save Romania Union, and the People's Movement Party. The Opposition only managed to get 161 votes out of the 233 it needed in order to dismiss the Cabinet. The initiators argued that the current Cabinet is a threat to Romania's national interests, to its economic and political stability. They also criticized the justice laws, and said the prime minister failed to comply with the governing programme undertaken at the start of her term in office.
In turn, PM Dancila dismissed the accusations in the text of the motion, which she described as unfounded and unserious:
"You continue to prove that you are incapable of respect for anybody, that your actions are only driven by hatred. I am strong enough to keep going."
In the Opposition, the leader of the Liberal Deputies Raluca Turcan argued:
"Instead of an incompetent and obedient Prime Minister, we could have a responsible and loyal one, able to persuade the young in particular that it is worth studying in this country if you want to be part of society's elite."
Pension Act, endorsed by Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest, the decision-making body in this case, Wednesday endorsed the new Pension Law, after on Tuesday the Deputies had approved an amendment filed by the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania. Initially dismissed by the Labour Committee, the amendment stipulates that people with severe disabilities may retire after one-third of the pension contribution period. The bill also says that a person may receive pension benefits and social security benefits on condition that they have contributed to the pension fund and social security fund for at least 15 years. Eliminating discrimination between people with the same contribution periods, granting the more advantageous benefit to a surviving spouse and the 6-year early retirement option for mothers of 3 children are other novelties introduced by the act, according to the Social Democratic Deputy Olguta Vasilescu, who initiated the bill when she was a labour minister. She explained that further to successive increases, the pension point level will reach approx. 400 euros in 2020.
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pays official visit to Bucharest
The Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Friday received the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz whose country is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council. The Austrian official has symbolically handed over to Romania the presidency of the Council which effectively starts on January 1, 2019. The two officials tackled priority topics on the European agenda such as the future of the EU, the post-2020 budget of the EU, Brexit, the elections for the European Parliament. On Wednesday at a meeting with the ambassadors of the EU states accredited to Bucharest, President Klaus Iohannis stated that Romania's objective as president of the EU Council was to start as soon as possible negotiations related to the future relations between the EU and Great Britain if the Brexit deal is ratified by the British Parliament and approved by the European Parliament. President Iohannis also said that Romania supports a strong Union closer to the European citizens and able to ensure their security and prosperity.