Wednesday’s talks between the PM Mihai Tudose and the representatives of civic organizations ended without results, Romanian Academy pays homage to its president, Ionel-Valentin Vlad dead at 74
Justice – Wednesday’s talks on the issue of the justice laws between the PM Mihai Tudose and the representatives of civic organizations ended without results, with the latter announcing they will resume street protests. They claim Romania has swerved from the standards of the rule of law and of democracy. The civic activists had called on the PM to notify the Venice Commission in relation to the justice laws and the modifications of the criminal codes, to postpone through an emergency ordinance, the application of these modifications as well as to dismiss the justice minister Tudorel Toader. Recently, the Romanian Senate, as a decision-making body, has adopted the bill modifying the Law on the organization and functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy, the bill modifying the organization of the judiciary as well as that on the status of magistrates. The modifications pushed by the governing coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats are vehemently contested by the rightist opposition, by part of the civil society and by hundred of magistrates who believe that the reform process is not transparent. Last week, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland sent a letter to President Klaus Iohannis urging him to ask for the opinion of the Venice Commission on the legislative reforms passed by Parliament. The embassies to Bucharest of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have sent a joint letter to all sides involved in the reform of the justice system to avoid any action that might undermine the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption. In reply, the Romanian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the strengthening of the rule of law and the anti-corruption fight were among the priorities announced by the Romanian Government.
Corruption – The former head of the Permanent Electoral Authority in Romania, Ana Maria Pătru, was sent to court, the charges on the indictment including influence peddling and money laundering. In 2013 she asked for two luxury watches and one million euros from the representative of a software company, of which she already received 600 thousand euros, in exchange for a favorable solution to an investigation targeting that company. To hide the source of the money and the beneficiary, she bought on behalf of a relative a plot of land near Bucharest and an apartment in Constanta (the largest port on the Romanian Black Sea Coast) and also made investments worth more than 400 thousand euros.
Romanian Academy – The Romanian Academy on Wednesday paid homage to the personality of its president, Ionel-Valentin Vlad, who died at the age of 74. The commemoration event was also attended by the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel. A synod of priests led by the Roman – Catholic Archbishop of Bucharest Ioan Robu will officiate at the funeral service. According to a communiqué of the Romanian Academy, Ionel-Valentin Vlad was a pioneer in top and avant-garde domains of physics, and his death is an irreparable loss for the Romanian civilization. The Royal House of Romania has also deplored the death of Ionel-Valentin Vlad who was appreciated for his civic spirit, professional dedication and academic rigor. The death of the president of the Romanian Academy is a big loss for the Romanian people said the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania.
Feast of Saint Stephen – The majority Christian Orthodox believers and the Greek Catholic believers in Romania on Wednesday celebrated Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr who died for his faith. He was a contemporary of the apostles of Jesus Christ and was stoned to death as he was accused of blasphemy by the Jewish clerics. On the Feast of Saint Stephen over 450 thousand Romanians celebrated their name day. The Roman – Catholic Christians celebrated Saint Stephen on Tuesday, December 26.
Christmas holiday – Over 78 thousand Romanian tourists spent 15 million Euros for the Christmas mini-holiday, which they spend in Romania, the Federation of Employers’ Associations in Romanian tourism announced on Wednesday. According to their calculations, the tourists who preferred the domestic destinations spent an average of 110 Euros per trip, only for accommodation and meals included in the tourist packages, which points to an increase by 6% as compared to 2016. Supplementary expenses amounted to an average of 90 Euros per tourist. The preferred accommodation facilities for this time of the year were the rural guesthouses, with an occupancy rate of more than 90%, followed by mountain resorts. In another development, the most sought-after destinations in Europe were Bulgaria, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France. (news translated by Lacramioara Simion)