Romanian officials attend meetings in Brussels, Ice Hotel to be built at Balea Lake
Brussels – The Romanian minister of labor and social justice Marius Budai on Thursday took over symbolically the presidency of the Council for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs in the context of Romania’s holding the half-yearly presidency of the EU Council as of January 1, 2019. Marius Budai presented the other labor ministers from the EU states Romania’s priorities in the field of labor and social affairs for the first 6 months of 2019: mobility of labor force, health and job security in the context of new occupations and the reduction of pay differences between women and men. Also on Thursday in Brussels, the Romanian interior minister Carmen Dan had meetings with her counterparts from Bulgaria, Great Britain and Germany, on the sidelines of Thursday’s meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA). The next JHA meeting is to be hosted by Bucharest from 6 to 8 February 2019. In the field of internal affairs, the priorities of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council include the continuation of important files currently in full development as well as migration, external border management and consolidation of the EU’s internal security. In turn, the healthcare minister, Sorina Pintea, met with the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. The 5 priorities in the healthcare field will be: antimicrobial resistance, vaccination, equal access to medicines for the EU patients, patient mobility and E-Health.
Paris – France is a strategic partner for Romania with direct investments of 2.3 billion Euros, and the presence of some of the most important French businesspeople is a proof of France’s confidence in the potential of the Romanian economy- said Thursday in Paris the Romanian finance minister Eugen Teodorovici. He participated in the French-Romanian economic forum organized by the French ministry of economy and finance. This is the biggest economic event unfolding as part of the France-Romania Cultural Season which is in full swing. In turn, the French minister of economy and finance Bruno Le Maire said that he supported Romania’s fast accession to the OECD and appreciated the very good bilateral cooperation in the run up to Romania’s presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2019.
Visit – Climate changes are due to human action and that is why we have the responsibility to mend what we have damaged – said Thursday in Bucharest, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella. He participated in a conference on the presentation of the model of the new Center of Excellence for Environmental Protection in Bucharest. The building will be 100% eco-friendly and will be located in Bucharest. The purpose of the Romanian authorities is that this entity should receive accreditation from NATO. On January 1, 2018 there were 24 accredited Centers of Excellence around the world dealing in environmental protection, 26 of the 29 NATO members being involved in the centers’ activity.
Ice hotel – The only Ice Hotel in Romania started being built at Balea Lake, at 2,034 meters altitude in the Southern Carpathians. The temporary construction will be made entirely of ice blocks extracted from the biggest glacier lake in Fagaras Mountains. This year the theme for decorating the rooms is ‘Frozen Love’, the hotel promoting love and respect for nature and Fagaras Mountains. The hotel’s 16 rooms will have names and will be decorated with ice sculptures inspired by the area’s most beautiful places. For the first time this year a perfume of the Ice Hotel will be launched. The hotel is to be opened on December 23. The Ice Hotel has been built every winter starting in 2005.
Reshuffle – The Romanian PM Viorica Dancila announced that the Government will notify the Constitutional Court on Friday in relation to the government reshuffle, after President Klaus Iohannis told her in a phone conversation on Thursday that he would not make a decision until next week regarding the nomination of new ministers to the transport and regional development ministries. Previously, the head of state said he did not finalize the analysis of the new nominees for the respective ministries, namely Olguta Vasilescu and Mircea Draghici. In late November Klaus Iohannis accepted six changes of ministers proposed by the prime minister for the defense, labor, economy culture, communications and youth and sports. He showed discontentment with the fact that, in two years of governing, the ruling coalition changed around 70 ministers, which is too much in his opinion.
Extradition – On Thursday the Court of Appeal in Bucharest postponed for December 14 debating the case of the extradition of the Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya who is currently living in Romania. The Turkish authorities have accused him of belonging to the movement led by Fetullah Gulen. The journalist has defended himself saying that he is not a terrorist and that he hoped not to be extradited because the justice system is not functioning in Turkey where the people under investigation are often tortured. The Romanian MEP Cristian Preda has called on the Justice Ministry to stop the extradition procedure, writing on his Facebook page that the Turkish journalist was critical of Erdogan’s regime. Also the opposition Save Romania Union asked the Romanian authorities to stop the extradition process and the former president Traian Basescu claims Romania should behave like a member of the EU where the right to free expression is observed. (translation by L. Simion)