TALKS Romania's Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca met NATO's Secretary
General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Tuesday. Ciuca gave assurances that
Romania's commitment to earmarking 2% of its GDP to defence would continue.
Bucharest will also get actively and significantly involved in the debates over
NATO's strategic concept and its future missions. The present Russian military
buildup is significant, unprovoked and unjustified and we cannot understand how
NATO's and Ukraine's actions can be considered provocations, the Romanian
official went on to say. He reiterated Romania's support for Ukraine's
sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized
borders. Also in Brussels on Tuesday, Ciuca met the European Commission
president Ursula von der Leyen with whom he discussed ways of handling the
pandemic. The Romanian Prime Minister presented the efforts of economic
recovery included in the National Plan of Recovery and Resilience, highlighting
the concern for ensuring fiscal-budgetary stability. Ciuca also reiterated the appeal
that a quicker decision be made over Romania's joining the border-free zone,
PROTEST The protesters who forced their way into the Parliament's
building courtyard in Bucharest on Tuesday resorted to cars that had unlimited
access to the institution, says a communiqué issued by the Interior Ministry.
About two thousand people, supporters of the ultranationalist political party
AUR protested in front of Parliament on Tuesday the authorities' intention to prevent
access to the workplace without the green certificate. The unauthorized protest
was promoted on AUR social networks and the authorities are presently trying to
identify and sanction the protesters. Part of them became violent and attempted
to storm the premises. According to the Interior Ministry sources, the police
made an appeal to calm and the observation of legal rules without resorting to
violence. About 100 protesters later gathered in front of the government.
Romania has the second lowest vaccination rate in the EU, almost 40% of the
total population, data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention
and Control shows.
heroes of the anti-communist uprising of December 1989 were commemorated in
Bucharest on Tuesday. Religious services and military ceremonies were held at
the Revolution Heroes Cemetery and at the dedicated monuments downtown. Similar
events are scheduled on Wednesday at the Romanian Revolution Heroes Monument,
at the Radio Hall and the Romanian Television Corporation. Originating in Timișoara
(west), on 16th December, the uprising spread across the country,
culminating with dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu fleeing the capital city on 22nd
December amid the protests of hundreds of thousands of Romanians. Captured by
the Army, Ceauşescu and his wife Elena were subject to a summary trial and
executed in the southern town of Târgovişte. Romania was the only country behind the
Iron Curtain where the change of regime was accompanied by bloodshed. Over 1,000
people were killed and some 3,000 wounded.
BUDGET The draft 2022 state budget and social security budget laws will
be discussed and voted on in Parliament on Thursday. The budgets of the main
public institutions were being discussed in Parliament's specialised committees
on Tuesday. The government passed the bills on Monday and promised they are
based on predictability and stability. The budget is based on an estimated
economic growth rate of 4.6% and a GDP of some 260 billion euro, a predicted
inflation rate of 6.5% and gross average salaries of 1,200 euros per month,
with the budget deficit expected to stay within the limits agreed on with the
European Commission under the excessive deficit procedure, namely 5.84% of GDP.
The public pension fund will receive 7.32% of GDP. The Liberal
president Florin Cîţu criticised the fact that only 6.7% of GDP was earmarked
for investments, instead of 7% as agreed within the ruling coalition. The
Social Democratic leader Marcel Ciolacu argued however that the budget
execution is more important than the exact breakdown of expenditure. The leader
of USR party in opposition, Dacian Cioloş, says the draft budget relies on
over-estimated revenues and said although public education is a priority for
President Iohannis, not enough funding has been earmarked for the sector.