EUROPEAN AFFAIRS – Romanian PM Viorica Dancila alongside members of her cabinet will attend a common meeting of the Government of Romania and the Commission of Europe in Brussels on Wednesday, in the run up to Romania’s taking over the presidency of the EU Council as of January 1. On Tuesday, Viorica Dancila attended a conference on the future of Europe, organized by the Aspen Romania Institute, where she said that to Romania, EU accession marked the fulfilment of national aspirations, and democracy, economic growth and safety are the undeniable result of Romania’s European path. Viorica Dancila also said the most important files to be discussed during Romania’s term include the financial framework, migration, the reform of the Euro zone and innovation. The Romanian Prime Minister also said that in her capacity as head of government she will make all the necessary efforts for Romania to join the Euro zone in 2024.
UKRAINE – Romanian defence minister, Gabriel Leş, who was heard on Tuesday by the Senate’s relevant committee, said that as regards the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, diplomacy and political dialogue haven’t had their final say yet and that Romania is closely and carefully watching the situation, alongside the NATO structures. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent to Moscow, Russia’s Black Sea fleet will carry out drills in the Black Sea, south of the Kerch Strait in Crimea, as from Tuesday night until December 9. The respective area has been declared dangerous for navigation. The drills are unfolding soon after the Russian-Ukrainian naval incident in the Kerch Strait, when Russian ships seized Ukrainian naval vessels with 24 sailors on board, for allegedly having illegally crossed the border. In the wake of the incident, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko instituted martial law in the regions along the border with Russia and in those close to the Black Sea and the Azov Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has deemed the incident as a provocation staged by Petro Poroshenko to serve his electoral purposes. The Western states have condemned Russia’s actions and called on Russia to return the Ukrainian vessels and marines it had seized.
FRANCE - French PM, Edouard Philippe, has announced the 6 month suspension of three fiscal measures which should have been enforced as from January 1, 2019, among which a fuel tax which was the root-cause of yellow vest protests. Violent clashes were reported between yellow vest protesters and the riot police in the streets of Paris on November 17. The yellow vests protested the rise in fuel prices, denouncing the decrease in the purchasing power as a result of the envisaged measures and accused the French President Emanuel Macron of adopting policies which favour the richer members of the French society. The protests, which have spread to other regions of France, have a significant impact on the French economy, namely millions of Euros, pundits warn.
CLARIFICATIONS – The Romanian Foreign Ministry considers that the article carried by the DPA German Press Agency and taken over by the German public television channel ZDF on the anniversary of Romania’s Great Union Centennial does not observe the historical truth. The Romanian Foreign Ministry announced that the necessary steps have been taken, through the agency of the Romanian Embassy in Berlin, for the two German institutions to make the required corrections. On December 1, 2018 ZDF carried a piece of news about Romania’s National Day, taken over from the DPA, which said that Romania celebrated 100 years since the annexation of the former Hungarian province of Transylvania. The Romanian Foreign Ministry underlines that on December 1, 1918 at the National Assembly in Alba Iulia (in central Romania) 100 thousand people decided upon the union with Romania, with the participation of all parties, religious denominations and social categories. The resolution of the National Assembly in Alba Iulia was first signed by the representatives of the German minority in Transylvania and Bukovina, the Romanian Foreign Ministry writes in the communiqué. Also on Tuesday, the German Embassy in Romania announced it had requested the two German eidtorial teams to make corrections of the excerpts in the article on the Centenary. The Embassy underlined that any public reporting contradicting the fact that the Romanian modern state was set up following the unification of several regions, including Transylvania, does not correspond with the standpoint of the Federal Government.
CORRUPTION – The legal committee in Romania’s Senate on Tuesday postponed the vote on the request made the National Anti-Corruption Directorate to start the criminal prosecution of the Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who is accused of bribe taking. The committee will draft a report after which the request for lifting the official’s immunity will be voted in the plenum of the Senate. In early November, the DNA had asked for the Senate’s approval to begin the criminal investigation of Calin Popescu Tariceanu. Prosecutors claim that the speaker of the Senate indirectly received bribe worth 800 thousand dollars, between 2007 and 2008, when he was prime minister, from an Austrian firm. The money accounted for a 10% commission on the value of the contract addendum and was allegedly used by the dignitary for his own benefit.
HANDBALL – Romania’s national handball team will meet Norway on Wednesday. Romania has qualified to the main groups of the European Championship hosted by France, after defeating the German team 29-24. That was the Romanians’ second match in Group D. In the first match, the Romanian handballers defeated the Czech team. Romania’s national handball team’s best result so far was the bronze medal at the 2010 European Championship. The leader of Romania’s national team Cristina Neagu scored 5 times in the match against Germany, thus becoming the best goal scorer in the history of the European Championships, with 206 goals. (Translated by L. Simion and D. Vijeu)