Romania's draft budget law under debate in Parliament, World Radio Day marked on February 13
Budget – The draft budget law and the draft national insurance budget law for 2019 started being debated Wednesday in the plenum of Parliament. They received the favorable approval in the Parliament’s expert committees. In a 17-hour meeting, MPs approved the funds allotted to the main authorizing officers and the projects that will benefit from funding in 2019. As compared to the form proposed by the Government, cuts were operated on the budgets for the Finance Ministry, the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Security and Protection Service. The Education and Transport ministries received more money for investments. The budget is based on a 5.5% economic growth rate, a budget deficit of 2.5% and a GDP of more than 200 billion Euros.
ECB – The European Central Bank officials reminded the Romanian authorities, in a letter sent to finance minister Eugen Teodorovici, that they should have consulted with the European institution before adopting the emergency ordinance that provides for the introduction of a tax on bank assets. According to European legislation, the national authorities are bound to consult with the ECB officials in relation to any draft law that is in the institution’s domain of competence, among which laws applicable to financial institutions, to the extent to which they significantly influence the stability of financial institutions and markets. The European institution claims the emergency ordinance was not accompanied by an assessment of its impact on the banking sector, and in the absence of such a document, there is the risk for the tax to impact the stability of the banking system. Recently other international financial institutions have also sent letters to the Romanian government in relation to the aforementioned tax, in which they expressed their concern with the new plans targeting the banking system.
Protests – Hundreds of taxi drivers are protesting today in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest against the alternative services offered by means of online platforms which they consider unfair competition. They are calling on the government to come up with clear and strict legislation in the field that should oblige car-sharing service providers to observe the regulations on passenger transportation. Similar protests are taking place in other cities of Romania. The Confederation of Authorized Operators and Transporters in Romania threaten to stage a large-scale protest rally on February 27 and 28, if the taxi drivers’ claims are not met. The Confederation threatens to block the city of Bucharest with buses, minibuses and taxis brought from the entire country.
World Radio Day – ‘Dialogue, tolerance and peace’ is the theme of this year’s World Radio Day which is marked on February 13. The event is meant to promote international cooperation among broadcasters and to encourage access to information by means of radio stations. World Radio Day was set up in 2011 at the 36th UNESCO conference. On February 13, 1946 the first broadcast of the UNESCO radio station was aired. For Radio Romania, World Radio Day 2019 is celebrated in the context in which the institution is one of the official broadcasters of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU.
Tennis – The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, top seeded and world’s no. 3 player, is taking on today the Ukrainian Lesia Ţurenko (24 WTA) in the eighth finals of the WTA tournament in Doha, Qatar. The tournament has prizes up for grabs worth around 900 thousand dollars. Simona Halep has won all the previous 5 matches against Ţurenko, her latest win being in 2018 in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati tournament. Mihaela Buzarnescu was eliminated on Tuesday in Doha by Latvian Jelena Ostapenko. (translation by L. Simion)