President Iohannis says he has extended the mandate of general Nicolae Ciucă as chief of staff/ PM Viorica Dancila is today chairing the last government session of the year
SUPREME DEFENCE COUNCIL - Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis announced on Friday, fresh from the Supreme Defense Council meeting, that he has extended the mandate of general Nicolae Ciucă as chief of staff. The mandate of general Ciucă expires on December 31, and Romania can’t be left without an Army chief, president Iohannis has also said. He said he rejected the proposals made by the defense minister Gabriel Leş, on general’s Ciuca’s successor, because they do not abide by the law. Earlier the line minister announced he will not extend general Ciuca’s mandate. The previous session of Romania’s Supreme Defence Council was held on December 19, when the Council approved, among others, the army endowment plan for the 2019 – 2028 timeframe, as well as the forces and means that Romania will contribute to missions and operations on theatres of operations abroad next year. 1,902 Romanian troops will take action on international theatres of operations, that is 127 more troops than in 2018, and some 759 military and policemen from the Romanian Interior Ministry will be sent on EU, OSCE, NATO and UN missions. Romania will further contribute troops to the NATO-led Operation "Resolute Support" in Afghanistan and will maintain the level of troops deployed as part of allied operations in the Western Balkans. As a first, a detachment of cargo and rescue helicopters will take part in the UN mission in Mali.
GOVERNMENT - Romanian PM Viorica Dăncilă is today chairing the last government session of the year 2018. The agenda of the meeting covers such issues as a draft law on accepting the changes made by the European Council to the electoral procedure for the EP elections. The novelty is that “Member States may provide for the possibilities of advance voting, postal voting and electronic and internet voting. Where they do so, they must adopt measures sufficient to ensure in particular the reliability of the result, the secrecy of the vote and the protection of personal data”. Referring to Romania’s 2019 budget, Viorica Dăncilă has said it might be adopted in the first government session in January 2019 and submitted to Parliament for approval, so that it could be adopted by the end of January.
ANTI-CORRUPTION – The prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate in Bucharest, DNA, in early November closed the file on the EADS contract, which provided for securing Romania’s frontiers for 750 million Euros, the aforementioned institution has announced earlier today. DNA has announced this solution has been embraced because the deed is not included in the criminal law and there is no evidence indicating that a person has committed crime. In May 2004, the French group EADS signed with the Romanian Interior Ministry a contract to secure the country’s borders, because Romania wanted to join the EU and tightening border control was a prerequisite condition. The first investigation was started in 2005, against some persons who were employed by the Interior Ministry back then. The verification started following a notification sent by the leadership of the Interior Ministry, according to whom public funds had allegedly been used inappropriately, and those taking part in the negotiations did not observe some legal terms, and the value of the contract to tighten border control had been overestimated. Some of the names involved in the case include former ministers Marian Săniuță, Vasile Blaga and Dan Nica.
BORDER TRAFFIC – The Romanian border was crossed by over one million people between December 21 and 26, during the Christmas mini-holiday, registering a 10% increase as compared to the same period of 2017, the Border Police has announced. The most transited border was that in the west of the country, where some 450,000 border crossings were reported. 260,000 other people chose to fly to and from Romania during this time span. Also, 159,000 people crossed the border from and into the Republic of Moldova, and 68,000 others from and into Bulgaria.
HANDBALL - Romania’s men’s handball team tonight take on the similar team of the Czech Republic, in a fixture counting towards the "4 Nations Cup" semifinals trophy staged in Poland. In the other semifinal, host country team faces Japan. On Saturday, the defeated teams are pitted against each other, while the winners will be pitched against each other as well. In early 2019, the national squad coached by Spaniard Manuel Montoya and the former international handballer Eliodor Voica will have a training session in Slovakia. A tournament will follow suit, with host country Slovakia and the Netherlands taking part. We recall Romania’s men’s national handball team failed to qualify for the World Championship due in January 2019 and jointly hosted by Germany and Denmark. However, Romania’s women’s national handball team has already secured their participation in the 2019 edition of the World Championships, to be hosted by Japan. We recall Romania came in 4th at the recently-held European championships in France.