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HEALTH– Experts from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, based in Stockholm, will arrive in Romania on Thursday, in an effort to cast light on the cases of the children with haemolytic-uremic syndrome, an acute kidney failure, the Romanian health minister, Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu, has told a press conference. Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has called on the line minister to provide information on a daily basis on the results of the investigation in the case of the children hospitalised at the “Marie Curie“ Hospital in Bucharest. Two weeks after the first cases were reported, the authorities fail to identify the source of the infection, but they further conduct epidemiological tests and intend to collect new samples. Three children have died of haemolytic-uremic syndrome at the “Marie Curie” Hospital. Seven others are still hospitalised, some of whom in critical condition.
MEASURES AGAINST POVERTY- The Romanian government on Wednesday launched for public debate a package of measures aimed at cracking down on poverty in Romania. The document includes 47 measures, destined for all age brackets. Increasing the employment rate of people in the 20-64 age bracket from some 66% in 2014, to 70 % in 2020, as well as reducing, until 2020, by at least 580,000 people, the number of those running a risk of poverty and social exclusion are among the objectives of the package. The measures and goals are in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. According to the Romanian government, the efficient use of funds, as well as humaneness are needed to crack down on poverty. The cabinet intends to strike an anti-poverty partnership between public authorities and NGOs.
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT– Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, on Monday is addressing Parliament on domestic policy issues, the Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced on Wednesday. That is going to be the first message conveyed by President Klaus Iohannis this year. The Romanian President has addressed Parliament five times since he won the presidential election of November 2014.
VISIT – Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, has held talks with the President of the ex-Soviet Republic of Moldova, with a predominantly Romanian-speaking population, Nicolae Timofti, on a visit to Romania. That is the Moldovan president’s last important visit before the expiry of his term in office, in about one month. He will have talks with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos and the Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The talks will focus on the European agenda of the Republic of Moldova and the economic, political and social cooperation between the two states. Timofti’s visit takes place after the newly appointed Moldovan Prime Minister, Pavel Filip, has called on Romania to give financial aid to his country. Romania has conditioned the unblocking of the loan promised to Moldova by the speedy adoption of reform measures. On Friday, Filip announced that Romania would give Moldova a humanitarian aid consisting of foodstuffs and fuel oil, against the backdrop of the economic and social crisis his country is confronted with.
MOLDOVA – Over February 23rd-29th, an IMF expert team will pay a working visit to Chisinau, the media in Chisinau reports. The IMF delegation does not have the mandate to negotiate a financing programme with the Republic of Moldova, but it will focus on the recent economic developments and will discuss the policies promoted by the new government with a view to maintaining macroeconomic stability. The IMF, the World Bank and the EU stopped lending to the Republic of Moldova because of the Moldovan officials’ failure to abide by their pledges. The IMF said it would resume lending to Moldova if the three banks involved in the theft of one billion dollars from the country’s banking system at the end of 2014 were liquidated. But the banks got an emergency loan from the National Bank of Moldova to elude bankruptcy.
CORRUPTION – The Romanian deputies on Wednesday rejected the request made by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate for the detention and taking into custody of MP Madalin Voicu, a member of the Social Democratic Party. In exchange, they approved the request for the taking into custody of Nicolae Paun, the representative of the Roma minority in Parliament. Because of a lack of quorum, the deputies didn’t however make a decision on Paun’s temporary arrest, and therefore the voting is due next Wednesday. Both Paun and Voicu have been accused of unfair use of European funds under projects for Roma communities. According to prosecutors, over 2010-2015, under the pretence of assisting thousands of Roma people in finding a job or becoming entrepreneurs, the two deputies conceived a plan through which they embezzled over 6 million euro worth of funds in their own interest. In another move, the anti-corruption prosecutors have called on the Senate to lift the parliamentary immunity of former interior minister, senator Gabriel Oprea, in order to start prosecution against him, for malfeasance in a second file.
MEDIA– The Romanian technocratic Prime Minister, Dacian Ciolos, assured the Romanian Senators on Wednesday of the government’s cooperation in finding a solution to the financial situation the Romanian Television Company is in, but he recalled that the public television broadcaster is subordinated to Parliament. Recently, the interim President and CEO of the Romanian Television Company, Irina Radu, has sent a letter to the leadership of the Romanian Parliament, drawing attention to the fact that the financial situation of the Romanian Television Company has worsened considerably. She also called on the MPs to make a decision on whether or not Romania still needs such a public service provider. The talks on the Romanian Television Company are held in the context in which the Romanian Prime Minister was invited to the Senate to provide explanations on the request made by the National Fiscal Administration Agency, ANAF, regarding the evacuation of the buildings where the TV channels that are part of the Intact private media trust operate. Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said he had not been informed and should not have been informed about ANAF’s action. He made it clear that the five-day deadline was the only one stipulated by law and if it had not been observed, ANAF might have been accused of discrimination. Moreover, Ciolos assured that the freedom of expression would be firmly defended. In turn, President Klaus Iohannis said the ANAF inspectors’ approach to the issue was debatable and inadequate. He underlined that following the talks he had held with the line authorities, it’s clear there is openness to solve the case. The buildings housing the Intact television trust belong to businessman Dan Voiculescu, who was sentenced to prison in 2014, on corruption charges. The court also ruled that the buildings he owned be seized to make up for the loss incurred by the state. The total loss stood at 60 million euros. A little over 1% of that loss has so far been recovered.
Translated and edited by Ana Maria Palcu and Diana Vijeu