MAGISTRACY - Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has invited representatives of magistrates' associations and of the Superior Council of Magistracy to the Government headquarters in Bucharest, to discuss the latest changes brought to the justice laws under an emergency ordinance. Three associations have declined the invitation, saying that such talks should have been held before passing Ordinance no.7, which they say must be abrogated immediately. The Superior Council of Magistracy is convening today to analyze the potential effects of the ordinance and the measures that need to be taken in that respect. On Friday, magistrates in Bucharest and across the country protested against the changes to the justice laws, calling for the independence of the judiciary. Also in protest, several prosecutor's offices have suspended their activities this week. Citizens too protested on Sunday evening in Bucharest and other cities. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has given assurances that the Government is willing to support all institutions in the field in order to ensure fair justice for all citizens. More on this after the news.
ORDINANCE - In plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies today, the Romanian Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici is attending a political debate on the effects of Ordinance no.114, which has caused discontent among banks and other companies in Romania. Under the ordinance passed in December, the prices of gas and electricity have been capped for three years, bank assets are taxed if the ROBOR index exceeds 2% and the tax on revenues from gambling accounts for 2% of the turnover. The ordinance is now in the Senate and a decision is expected, given that March 1st is the deadline for implied consent. Unless it receives a vote in the Senate, ordinance 114 is deemed approved in the form proposed by the government and will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decision-making forum in this matter.
MOLDOVA - Igor Dodon's pro-Russia socialists have won the largest number of seats in parliament, 34 out of 101, following Sunday's parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova. Second came the ruling left-of-centre Democratic Party, headed by the controversial oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, with 31, followed by the pro-European rightist ACUM bloc, with 26. Also, 3 independents and 7 representatives of the people's party, headed by the pro-Russia mayor of Orhei, Ilan Sor, will be represented in Parliament. We recall that Sor is accused of involvement in the stealing of one billion dollars from the country's banking system. The elections have been denounced by the pro-European opposition as the most non-democratic in the history of the republic.
EUROPOL - The 4th meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol is held today in Bucharest, against the background of Romania's holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. Participating are parliamentary delegations from all the member countries. The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, known as Europol, was established in 1995 with the aim of preventing and combating serious international organized crime and terrorism that affect two or several member states. The main mission of the joint group is to monitor the activity of the Agency, from a political point of view, focusing on the impact of these activities on natural persons' fundamental rights and freedoms. The agenda of talks includes current topics regarding the functioning of Europol.
OSCARS - The feature films "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Roma" and "Green Book" are the main winners of the 91st Academy Awards. "Green Book" is the Oscar winner for best picture. The film is about the improbable friendship between a black pianist and a tough Italian-American, who becomes his driver and then personal assistant. The Academy Award for Best Director went to the Mexican Alfonso Cuaron, for "Roma", a drama which also got the best foreign language film and best cinematography awards. The young Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek won the prize for best leading actor, for his impersonation of Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody", which got a total of four awards. Olivia Colman was the recipient of the Oscar for Lead Actress, for her part in "The Favourite". The Academy Awards Gala was broadcast in some 225 countries and territories in the world, including in Romania.