Government – The Romanian PM Ludovic Orban announced at the beginning of Friday’s government meeting that the government would take responsibility for several draft laws among which the laws on budget caps and on the modification of the justice laws. The Liberal PM pointed out that the budget cap law is necessary to complete the state budget and social security law. The modification of the justice laws is meant to suspend temporarily the deadlines for the early retirement of magistrates, the adoption of panels of 3 judges, etc. Ludovic Orban announced the government’s measure to assume responsibility for these draft laws would be adopted in a future government meeting, to be able to start the proceedings in Parliament.
December 1989 revolution – Manifestations started in Timisoara in western Romania to mark 30 years since the December 1989 anticommunist revolution with 2 book launches: the book “Candlelight against time” by Titus Suciu and Vasile Bogdan and a scientific newsletter called “Memorial ‘89” published by the Writes’ Union. Marches will take places to retrace the route of the revolution marches, there will be remembrance services and laying of flower wreathes at the heroes’ monuments. Festive gatherings, symposiums, exhibitions, concerts and book launches will also be held as well as events devoted to the young generation, to keep the memory of those who died for freedom alive. December 17 will be a day of mourning and on December 20 manifestations will culminate with festivities and concerts dedicated to the day when Timisoara became the first city of Romania free of Communism.
Brussels – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is deeply concerned with the abrogation by the Romanian Parliament of the compensatory appeal law and with the fact that the authorities have not provided ways to compensate for the existing situation, so as to observe the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights. The justice minister Catalin Predoiu has been in Strasbourg these days where he gave explanations about the Romanian authorities’ decision. In an official communiqué, the Committee of Ministers reminds of the ‘old structural problems’ of Romania related to prison overcrowding and inhuman and degrading detention conditions. The communiqué also shows that important progress has been made especially in reducing overcrowding. Strasbourg officials also announced that they took note of the explanations provided by the Romanian justice minister and hailed the Bucharest government’s pledge to draft a comprehensive action plan.
Handball - Romania’s national women’s handball team on Friday won the match against Hungary 28 to 27 after a dramatic match, which brought them qualification to the main groups of the World Championship hosted by Japan. Romania had previously defeated Senegal and Kazakhstan and was defeated twice by Spain and Montenegro respectively. Thus Romania still has a chance to go to the 2020 Olympic Games also hosted by Japan.
Warsaw – The German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said in a speech delivered during her first visit to the site of the former Nazi extermination camp in Auschwitz, located on the territory of Poland, that Germany is responsible alone for the existence of that camp. Even if the atrocities perpetrated in the extermination camps leaves one speechless, silence is not an answer, Mrs. Merkel said, adding that there will be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe. Angela Merkel announced that 60 million Euros would be granted to the Auschwitz Birkenau Foundation to maintain the compound where almost 1.1 million people were killed between 1940 and 1945. The Polish PM also warned that the history of the Auschwitz extermination camp should not be forgotten, the memory of the atrocities committed there being a duty towards the victims.
Strike – In France, the leaderships of the central trade union federations decided, in a Friday meeting, to carry on with the strike until the government gives up entirely the idea of replacing the current pension system with one based on points accumulated alongside one’s career. Further protests have already been announced for Saturday in Paris. Strikers announced new marches and large scale manifestations all across France for December 10. The strike has affected most subway, bus and tram lines. The reform of the pension system, one of the important measures proposed by president Emmanuel Macron, is aimed at unifying the 42 current retirement plans (private, for public servants, special, complementary, etc) in one single universal system based on points. (translation by L. Simion)