The number of deaths caused by the flu virus in Romania has reached 29/ Romania's economy grew by 7% in 2017
UPDATE (20.30): DNA ROW - The chief
prosecutor of the National
Anti-Corruption Directorate, DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi,
on Wednesday evening gave a press
conference, saying the attack on the institution she runs is meant to subdue
the State and humiliate Romanian society. She added that the DNA Ploiesti
prosecutors didn't give in to the pressure that had been exerted on them.
Kovesi also gave assurances she will not step down, the more so as, over the
past few years, the institution she runs got the best results in its history.
Also on Wednesday, Romanian PM Viorica Dancila said that on Thursday she will
have a meeting with the Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, on the latest
information which emerged in the public space on the DNA. In another move, the
President of the Higher Council of Magistracy in Romania, Simona Marcu, on Wednesday called on the
politicians who say that some people must leave their positions following the
scandal created around the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, DNA, to wait
for the unfolding of legal mechanisms. Earlier, Interior Minister Carmen
Dan has called on the DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruţa Kövesi to revoke the
detachment of two policemen. They appear in several audio recordings concerning
the activity of DNA Ploieşti, in the south. Former Social Democratic MP Vlad
Cosma, sentenced to five years in prison by a court of first instance, claims
the DNA Ploiesti prosecutors allegedly asked him to plant evidence in a file
involving former Social Democratic PM Victor Ponta and businessman Sebastian
Ghiţă, who fled the country to Serbia.
FLU - The number of deaths caused by the flu virus in Romania has reached 29, the National Institute for Public Health announced on Wednesday. Over 800,000 people have received flu vaccines and doctors urge more people to get vaccinated as the number of flu cases is on the rise. The Health Minister Sorina Pintea says this is not a flu epidemics, and added that prevention measures are of the utmost importance, while public health directorates and hospitals must implement the required measures.
ECONOMY- Romania's economy grew by 7% in 2017 as compared with the previous year, which accounts for the highest growth rate in the last 9 years, according to data published by the National Institute for Statistics on Wednesday. In the last quarter of last year, the growth of the GDP slowed down compared to the similar period in 2016 to reach 6.9%, from 8.8% in the third quarter. The annual inflation rate went up in January this year to 4.3% from 3.3% in December last year, as a result of higher food and non-food prices compared with January last year. Experts are worried, however, about the boom of the Romanian economy. France Presse news agency quotes analyst Cristian Paun as saying that Romania, which had the strongest growth rate in Europe thanks to vigorous consumption, is neglecting investment and will have to prepare for difficult consequences. The European Commission has also warned that the main driving engine of economic growth was household consumption as a result of lower taxes and higher salaries and that public investment has dropped for the second year in a row.
NATO-The Romanian defence minister Mihai Fifor is attending, in Brussels, as of Wednesday, a two-day meeting of his counterparts from other NATO countries. According to a defence ministry release, on the first day, the participants discussed planning and policy for nuclear deterrence. Talks will focus on the modernisation of the Alliance, the adjustment of NATO's institutional and command structure, European defence and cooperation between NATO and the European Union. Another important issue on the agenda is the NATO members' allocation of 2% of their GDPs to defence. Prior to the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said more European defence spending and capabilities can strengthen NATO, but only if the EU's efforts are a complement and not an alternative to NATO.
EU BUDGET – The European Commission on Wednesday made public several proposals for the next budget of the community bloc, which include cuts of funds in some domains and tries to identify other sources of income after the departure of Britain. Reuters quotes the European Commission’s Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger as saying the European Union’s next long-term budget should be bigger than the current one despite the departure of major net contributor Britain. The European Commission also claims the disbursement of European funds should be conditioned by the observance of the rule of law by the member states. The alternatives presented by the European Commission will be debated by the EU heads of state and government in a meeting scheduled for February 23. The Commission will make public in May its final proposals for the next budget of the EU, spanning 2021-2027.
ANTI-CORRUPTION – The former head of the National Integrity Agency, ANI, Horia Georgescu, on Wednesday was sentenced to four years in prison by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, in a file on the damages paid by the National Agency for the Restitution of Property, ANRP. Former MPs Cătălin Theodor Nicolescu and Marko Attila-Gabor (on an APB) have been sentenced in the same file to 9 and 5 years in prison, respectively. 12 people are involved in this file.
PSD -The National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic
Party, PSD, (the main party in the ruling coalition in Romania) on Wednesday
decided to organise an extraordinary congress, PM Viorica Dăncilă has
announced. In turn, the party president, Liviu Dragnea, who is also the Speaker
of the Chamber of Deputies, has said that approximately 30 state secretaries
supported by the party will be replaced, for several reasons.
MIGRANTS - Almost 5,000 people submitted asylum applications in Romania last year, more than double compared with 2016. Of them, more than 1,300 qualified for refugee status or subsidiary protection and another 1,500 people benefited from other forms of protection and were signed up for integration programmes. 174 foreign nationals were relocated from Greece and Italy and 43 Syrian refugees arrived in Romania as part of the extra-EU relocation scheme. Most asylum applicants come from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
LITERARY PRIZE- The Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu wins the Thomas Mann prize for literature in 2018, one of the most prestigious German literary prizes. The 25,000-euro prize is granted jointly by the city of Lübeck and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts and will be handed on the 17th of November. According to the jury, in the past four decades, Mircea Cartarescu has become the most important voice in Romanian literature, first through his poetry, then through his novels, short stories and essays, while his unusual, polyphonic romantic trilogy "Blinding" earned him a place in world literature. Cartarescu is the recipient of many national and international prizes, including the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding in 2015. His work is available in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, Bulgarian and Hungarian.