EU The official web page of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council has been launched. Romania is to take over the helm of the Council on January 1, 2019, for 6 months. The page, available at românia2019.eu, in Romanian, English and French, provides useful information for journalists, the general public and European affairs experts. The calendar of the Romanian presidency will be posted on this website after January 15th.
MONARCHY Romania today commemorates 71 years since monarchy was abolished and the country was declared a “people’s republic”. On December 30th, 1947, with the country under Soviet military occupation and headed by a communist puppet government, King Mihai I was forced to relinquish power and to leave the country. Previously, on August 23rd, 1944, during WW2, the King had ordered the arrest of the country’s de facto leader, Marshall Ion Antonescu, Romania’s withdrawal from its alliance with Hitler’s Germany and joining its traditional allies, the USA and Britain. Historians say this decision shortened the war by at least 6 months and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. King Mihai I was only allowed to return to Romania after the 1989 Revolution, when he regained his Romanian citizenship and some of his properties. The King lobbied for Romania’s accession to NATO in 2004 and EU in 2007. He passed away on December 5th, 2017, at 96 years of age. His first born, Princess Margareta, is custodian of the Crown and the King’s successor as head of the Royal House of Romania.
MEDAL A Romanian woman born in Timişoara (west) and currently the owner of a bar in Rome was decorated by the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, for her courage of informing against 2 members of a mafia family. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent in Italy, Roxana Roman, 34, was granted the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, for her contribution to upholding the law. Roxana Roman owns a bar in Romanina neighbourhood in Rome, where on Easter day 2 members of the Casamonica mafia family attacked her husband, Marian Roman, and a client with disabilities. Although the mobsters ravaged the bar and warned them not to report the matter to the police, the Romanians were not intimidated and informed against them. It was the natural thing to do, says Roxana Roman. “The neighbourhood has been living in fear for a long time. There are lots of people willing to change things, but we need a new attitude, and this begins with ourselves," she told Italian mass media.
POLICE Over 25,000 Interior Ministry personnel are on duty during the New Year’s holiday. Some 9,000 police with more than 3,000 vehicles are in charge of preventing and handling events that might jeopardise public safety and security. A helicopter of the Aviation Inspectorate General, with a policeman also on board, will monitor the most crowded areas. Special attention will be paid to the protection of the participants in the 125 large-scale public events expected to bring together a total of 300,000 people. The largest shows will be organised in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Cluj Napoca. Meanwhile, the Police continue searches for the Brasov robbery perpetrators, who on Friday night blew up an ATM containing over 30,000 euros. The door and front window of the respective bank unit were shattered and pieces were scattered on the sidewalk and in the street.
TOURISM Over 2 million foreigners checked in during the first 9 months of this year in Romanian hotels and boarding houses. According to the National Statistics Institute, they spent more than 1 billion euros. Foreign tourists came to Romania for business, congresses, conferences, courses, trade fairs and exhibitions. Close to half of them used travel agencies to arrange their trips to Romania, and most of them travelled by plane.
HANDBALL Romania’s men’s handball team Saturday night lost the final of the “4 Nations Cup”, held in the Polish city of Opole, against the host country Poland. The score was 6-5 after penalty shootouts. In the semis Romania beat the Czech Republic 27-26. The national team, coached by Spain’s Manuel Montoya and the Romanian Eliodor Voica, is next to have a training session in Slovakia, followed by a tournament in which the host country and Netherlands are also taking part. The men’s handball team failed to qualify into the World Championship due next month in Germany and Denmark. On the other hand, Romania’s women’s handball team has already booked its ticket to next year’s World Championship in Japan, after finishing 4th in the European Championship in France this month.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)