PM Ludovic Orban to make working visit to EU and NATO institutions in Brussels on January 7-9
VISIT PM Ludovic Orban will be on a working visit to EU and NATO institutions in Brussels between January 7th and 9th, the Government announced on Sunday. The Romanian PM will have meetings with the European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, and with the NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg. The agenda also includes talks with the president of the European Council Charles Michel and with the president of the European Parliament David Sassoli.
PENSIONS The Romanian public pension system is in imminent danger, given that the number of employed contributors has dropped significantly, and people need to be encouraged to save money in privately-managed pension funds, which ensure more safety, transparency and traceability, the Labour Minister Violeta Alexandru said in an interview to AGERPRES news agency. She also warned that there is a trend across Europe to increase the retirement age, but she did not suggest that the Government plans to take any measures in this respect in the current term in office. The Labour Minister also expressed concern with the budgetary impact of the planned 40% pension raise as of September 2020, as decided by the previous, Social Democratic cabinet dismissed in October, but said that as long as she is the labour minister the law will be complied with.
CUSTOMS The customs offices on the Romanian – Moldovan border will be revamped and upgraded as part of a EU-funded project. Included in the project are the check points in Albiţa, Sculeni and Giurgiuleşti, which are seen as strategic points for the Union’s security policy. The programme has a 36-month deadline for implementation, a total budget of 10 million euros, and is designed to enhance institutional and operational efficiency in customs offices by modernising the infrastructure and streamlining the transit of goods and persons. A number of 347 customs workers will also be trained to use special equipment to fight cross-border organised crime.
FINANCIAL Most analysts in CFA Romania Association expect the national currency to depreciate in the next 12 months, to 4.8663 leu for the euro, with an average inflation rate of 3.52%, according to data in the Macroeconomic Confidence Indicator for November. CFA Romania is an organisation of chartered financial analysts certified by the CFA Institute (USA). At present CFA Romania has over 240 members. The Macroeconomic Confidence Indicator was launched by CFA Romania in May 2011 and is designed to measure the financial analysts’ expectations regarding Romania’s economy for the coming 12 months.
BORDER Nearly 900,000 people came into Romania during the Christmas period, and 655,000 left the country, the Romanian Border Police announced on Sunday. The highest numbers were reported on the Hungarian border, in the west of the country. On the other hand, Romanian border police have caught Middle Eastern citizens attempting to illegally cross the border into Hungary. They were coming from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, had applied for asylum in Romania, and were trying to get to Hungary and further west illegally.
UKRAINE The Ukrainian governmental forces and the pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine Sunday completed a prisoner exchange, thanks to which all people taken captive in the 5-year conflict were able to return home, Reuters reports. The operation took place in the breakaway Donbass region. According to Kiev, a total of 76 Ukrainian prisoners were freed. Since 2014, over 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict in east Ukraine, with occasional clashes still reported in spite of the ceasefire. The prisoner exchange agreement was reached in a summit in Paris this month by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president Volodimir Zelenskiy. The French-German brokered deal also includes a number of measures such as consolidation of the cease-fire, massive prisoner swaps by the end of December and new troop pull-outs from the 3 zones by the end of March 2020.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)