EU Romania takes over the rotating presidency of the EU Council on January 1, for the first time since its accession in 2007. The priorities of the Romanian presidency focus on 4 areas: Europe of convergence, A Safer Europe, Europe, a stronger global actor, and Europe of common values. During its term, Romania will have to manage several complex issues like Brexit, the 2021-2027 budget, a coherent strategy on migration and increasing the Union’s global role. The official web page of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council has been launched. 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.
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.
MONARCHY Romania Sunday commemorated 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.
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.
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, said 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.
MIGRANTS Romanian border police in Nadlac (west) found 41 foreigners attempting to cross the Hungarian border on foot, illegally. The Border Police Inspectorate announced on Sunday that during an operation to combat illegal migration they arrested 22 people who were trying to cross illegally into Hungary. They notified the Hungarian authorities, who searched the area and found another 19 illegal migrants. Of the individuals found on the Romanian side of the border, 21 are Iraqis and 1 Afghan, 15 adults of 19 to 40 years of age and 7 children, most of them seeking asylum in Romania. They said they were trying to get into Western European countries to find jobs.
TENNIS The Romanian player Sorana Cîrstea (84 WTA) Sunday qualified into the eighth-finals of the WTA tournament in Shenzhen (China), after beating Magda Linette of Poland, cu 6-3, 6-3. Cîrstea is to play next against Pauline Parmentier (France). Also on Sunday the Romanian Irina Maria Bara and the Georgian Oksana Kalashinkova moved up into the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen doubles.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)