Government convenes for last meeting this year; local elected officials sent to court for abuse of office
GOVERNMENT The Government of Romania convened today for its last meeting this year. At Friday’s meeting PM Ludovic Orban instructed his ministers to make sure the bills regulating the activity of ministries have all the required approvals in place, so that they may be endorsed today by the Cabinet. Orban explained that these bills must be approved so that the new Cabinet formula may be operational as of January 1. The number of deputy prime ministers has been reduced from 3 to 1, and the number of ministries has been cut from 24, as previous, to 16.
CORRUPTION Nicolae Robu, the Liberal mayor of Timişoara (the largest city in western Romania), and the former Christian Democratic mayor Gheorghe Ciuhandu, have been sent to court by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate under charges of abuse of office. According to anti-corruption prosecutors, between September 1996 and January 2014, 9 civil servants in the Timişoara City Hall overstepped their powers and illegally sold 207 buildings owned by the mayoralty to individuals who had no right to purchase them. The affair caused the state to lose over 9.5 million euro.
TOURISM Winter tourism is on the rise in most EU member countries, but the biggest increase is reported in Romania, where the number of nights spent in accommodation facilities in the 2018-2019 season was 8.6% higher than in the previous winter, according to data released today by Eurostat. The increase rate reported for Romania is almost 4 times the EU average of 2.6%. The most popular destinations in the EU in the 2018-2019 winter season were Spain, Italy, the UK, Austria, Germany and France.
STRIKE France sees the 25th day of strikes against a planned pension reform, with the next negotiations between the Government and trade unions scheduled on January 7. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent in Paris, the Transport Minister promised that there would be enough trains for all passengers who had purchased tickets. Unions are currently divided over the provisions of the pension reform legislation. Meanwhile, ministers carry on talks with the employees with whom they have reached some agreements. Airline personnel have already cancelled a strike planned for January 2 and 3, after they secured derogations regarding their retirement age. Other professional categories, such as the police and gendarmes, have also got some advantages in the negotiations.
CHILDREN The number of attacks on children in conflict areas has nearly tripled over the past decade, UNICEF warns in a news release issued today. The agency documented over 170,000 severe violations of children’s rights in conflict zones since 2010, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, abduction, aid denial, recruitment into armed groups, and attacks on schools and hospitals. UNICEF also says that the number of countries affected by war is the highest in 30 years. According to the organisation, "Attacks on children continue unabated as warring parties flout one of the most basic rules of war: the protection of children." In Afghanistan, Mali, Syria or Yemen, conflicts are costing millions of children their health, education, future and lives, UNICEF also said, and called for an end to children’s rights violations and to attacks on civilian infrastructure.
HANDBALL Romania’s men’s national handball team Sunday lost 24 to 20 to North Macedonia in the final of the 42nd Carpaţi Trophy. The Netherlands defeated Algeria and finished 3rd. The games were part of the training campaign for the first stage of the 2021 Egypt World Championships qualifiers, the first in which 32 teams will take part. Next month in the preliminaries in Italy, Romania will be playing against the host country, Georgia and Kosovo.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)