A roundup of local and foreign news.
UKRAINE - Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden have agreed "in principle" to hold a summit to discuss the crisis over Ukraine. The talks, proposed French President Emmanuel Macron, will only take place if Russia does not invade its neighbor, the French presidency said in a communiqué. Russia and Ukraine continued to blame each other, on Sunday, for the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin agreed on Sunday, during a phone call, to make all efforts to prevent the situation from escalating and to preserve peace, according to the French presidency’s press office. Also, the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, is today holding a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov while the OSCE convenes in extraordinary session. Observers from the OSCE European security body on Saturday reported more than 1,500 ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine in a single day. The US accuses Russia of planning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which the latter denies.
BRUSSELS - The Romanian Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu is today attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Foreign affairs ministers will discuss the latest developments in Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and will hold a discussion on the European security situation. The Romanian official will emphasize on this occasion, the need to further look for a diplomatic solution to the crisis and to prepare a comprehensive package of sanctions in coordination with the US, the UK and Canada, in case the crisis escalates. EU foreign affairs ministers will also hold an informal meeting with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, during which Aurescu will reiterate Romania’s solidarity with Ukraine and its support for the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic path. Also, EU foreign affairs ministers will meet their counterparts from the Gulf countries in the joint council of the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council and will run a cyber-exercise.
CARRIERS - New rules as part of the mobility package are in place as of today for goods carriers working in EU member states. Trucks must be returned at company's headquarters every two months, which leads to higher fuel consumption, pollution and delays at customs, especially for companies from Eastern Europe, Romania included. The new measures were decided two years ago and were taken so as to provide more rights for drivers.
CORONAVIRUS – The number of Covid-19 infections in Romania is going down significantly, with 30% fewer cases than last week being reported. The number of infections per one thousand inhabitants is also on the decrease, but it still is above 3/1,000 in Romania’s counties. The infection rate in the capital Bucharest is 32.8%. Almost 7,700 new cases have been reported in Romania today, by 4,000 less than a week ago. This is the smallest daily number of new infections since the beginning of the 5th wave, more than a month ago. Some 85 related deaths have also been announced. 1,100 people are treated in intensive care units. The biggest number of daily infections in Romania was reported on February 1st - 40,018.
JUDICIARY - The draft law on the dismantling of the Special Section Investigating Crimes in the Judiciary is on today’s agenda of the Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest. Last week, the Legal Committee green lighted the project. According to Justice Minister, Catalin Predoiu, the dismantling of the Special Section is an objective stipulated in the governing programme, with a clear deadline, and it could have an impact on Romania’s joining the Schengen area. Predoiu gave assurances that the dismantling of the Special Section is the result of transparent consultations, including with foreign partners. (EE)