Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, is currently on a working visit to the German State of Bavaria/ The painting "The Sunflowers in 1937" by Adrian Ghenie, a prominent representative of the new wave of Romanian visual art, sold for 4 million Euros
CORRUPTION – Daniel Diaconescu will take over as interim President of the National Fiscal Administration Agency in Romania, ANAF. The announcement was made after Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Thursday sacked Gelu Stefan Diaconu from the helm of the institution. Diaconu and ANAF’s Vice-President, Mihai Gogancea Vatasoiu, who has also been sacked, are prosecuted in the same corruption file, in which MPs Madalin Voicu, of the Social Democratic Party, and Nicolae Paun, the representative of the Roma community in Parliament, are also investigated. For the two MPs, the anti-corruption prosecutors have requested approval for preventive arrest. Madalin Voicu and Nicolae Paun are accused of getting and incorrectly using European funds in a series of projects destined for the Roma community. According to the prosecutors, between 2010 and 2015, under the pretence of helping thousands of ethnic Roma find a job or become entrepreneurs, the two MPs crafted a plan to divert over 6 million Euros, to their personal benefit. Voicu is accused of influence peddling, false statements and money laundering in continued form, whereas Paun faces charges of false statements, changing the destination of European funds, embezzlement and making financial operations incompatible with his position.
VISIT – Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, held talks in Munich with the President of the Bavarian State Parliament, Barbara Stamm. The two officials hailed the continuous development of bilateral relations between Bucharest and Munich, underlining the importance of the Romanian community in Bavaria and of the ethnic Germans coming from Romania, as a solid bridge of cooperation. They also approached European issues, laying emphasis on the challenges generated by the migration flow. President Klaus Iohannis, who is on a working visit to the German State of Bavaria, will attend the Munich Security Conference, which starts on Friday and comes to a close on Sunday.
DRILLS - The joined Permanent Bureaus of the Romanian Parliament have endorsed a request made by president Klaus Iohannis on Romania’s contributing up to 50 military staff, in 2016, for the training of the Iraqi security forces, as part of the anti-ISIS international coalition. The Romanian Defence Ministry is to sign a memorandum of understanding with the American partner and other members of the coalition, which express their wish to support Romanian forces on the theatre of operations. In another move, military ships from Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey are participating in the Black Sea, in NATO military drills of maritime traffic surveillance, which will also include joint activities with ships of Georgia’s Coast Guard.
DEFENSE -The NATO Defence Ministers have agreed in Brussels to back and to participate in a surveillance mission on the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece, to help them contain migration and human trafficking. The announcement was made by the US Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, following a request made by Germany, Turkey and Greece. On Wednesday, NATO made public its decision to boost its presence on the eastern flank. The measure is meant to deter a potential aggression by Russia and was made against the backdrop of the US’ announced four-fold increase in its budget, to strengthen a “robust military posture in Europe”. The details of the NATO plan, including the number of troops and each country’s contribution will be established ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, in July. NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has announced that NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea area and is closely following the developments in the region. Romania was represented at the Brussels meeting by defence minister, Mihnea Motoc.
MIGRATION - Romanian foreign minister Lazar Comanescu has said that solving migration issues entails a very tight cooperation between the EU and the partner countries, with Turkey being one of the key-actors in this case. Comanescu made this statement in a press conference, given jointly with the visiting Turkish minister for European Affairs, Volkan Bozkir. In another move, Romania has reiterated its firm support for Turkey, in its effort to join the EU. As regards the stage of bilateral relations, Comanescu deems them excellent, saying that Turkey is one of Romania’s main economic partners and its largest non-EU trading partner. In turn, Volkan Bozkir said that Romanian-Turkish relations could serve as an example for other regions.
ARTS - The painting "The Sunflowers in 1937" by Adrian Ghenie, a prominent representative of the new wave of Romanian visual art, was sold for 4 million Euros at Sotheby's on Wednesday evening. This is a new personal record for Adrian Ghenie, after another work of his sold for 1.77 million Euros, back in 2014. A painting of an impressive size, "The Sunflowers in 1937", is inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Tournesols” (Sunflowers). Born in the northern Romanian city of Baia Mare, in 1977, Adrian Ghenie is currently living in Berlin, where he owns an art gallery. He has won international acclaim, his works being included in the collections of important galleries and museums the world over.
FILM - 18 long reels are running for the Golden Bear, in the 66th Berlin Film Festival, the first cinematographic competition of the year, unfolding between February 11 and 21. Romania is represented at the Berlinale this year, too, by Adrian Sitaru’s “Illegitimate", and Roxana Stroe’s short reel “A Night in Tokoriki". Actress Iulia Ciochina and scriptwriter Ruxandra Ghitescu are present in the “Berlinale Talents” Section. Romania is also represented by Razvan Radulescu, one of the scriptwriters of the German-French-Mexican film „Soy Nero", directed by Rafi Pitts, as well as by the Romanian-German co-production “A Quiet Place", directed by Ronny Dörfler. We recall that last year, the Silver Bear for Best Director went to Romanian Radu Jude, for the long reel "Aferim!”.
(Translated and edited by Diana Vijeu)