CONSULTATIONS President Klaus Iohannis is consulting with political parties after Liberal Ludovic Orban tendered his resignation as Prime Minister designate. The President explained the gesture was meant to remove the deadlock caused by the Social-Democratic Party, which boycotted Monday's Parliament session, the scheduled date for the Government's investiture. Also on Monday the Constitutional Court ruled that the nomination of the dismissed Prime Minister, Ludovic Orban, for the formation of a new government, was unconstitutional, as Orban had been allegedly nominated to ensure the collapse, not the success of the new Government. Two consecutive Governments must fail before the President can dissolve Parliament and call early elections, a scenario favoured by the President, the National Liberal Party and Save Romania Union. The other political parties, the Social-Democratic Party first and foremost, have argued against early elections. After the consultations, the Liberals said they would support the president’s decision to designate a new PM and would try to secure a parliamentary majority, while the Social Democrats said they would not endorse a minority Liberal government. Save Romania Union said they are open to joining in a government and came up with a PM nomination, and so did the People’s Movement Party, whereas the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians voiced support for a coalition government.
MEASURES In Romania there are no cases of coronavirus infection, president Klaus Iohannis reiterated on Wednesday afternoon at the end of a Supreme Defence Council meeting devoted to the situation. He emphasized that relevant Romanian authorities have taken the required measures in due time, and called for and responsibility among journalists and citizens. There is no reason to panic, the head of state insisted. He added that border checks have been stepped up, to identify possible patients, and that governmental funds have been earmarked for the procurement of specific medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. At noon on Wednesday, 69 people were quarantined and 4,818 were under home monitoring. All the tests run on the individuals in Gorj County who had direct contact with an Italian citizen who tested positive in Italy and travelled to Romania, came out negative. Northern Italy is home to some 300 thousand Romanians, and all people arriving in Romania from this region will be automatically quarantined for 14 days. We recall two Romanians who got infected with COVID-19 on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, currently in quarantine in the port of Yokohama, are in hospital care in Tokyo.
CORONAVIRUS The novel coronavirus continues to spread across the world, with Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Greece, Algeria and Brazil announcing their first cases. Thousands of tourists are stuck in a hotel on the Spanish island of Tenerife. Most of the cases confirmed in Europe are located in Italy, which has confirmed 12 deaths and over 370 patients. The World Health Organisation has warned all countries to take immediate measures against a possible spread of the epidemic. According to the WHO, many states are simply not ready to fight the disease. The most serious concern has to do with the scope of the epidemic in Iran. Health authorities also expect the virus to reach the USA, and have urged local officials to consider cancelling public events. The pneumonia caused by this virus was first reported in China in December and has so far affected more than 80,000 people in the world, of whom over 2,700 died. Around 2,700 cases and over 40 deaths have been reported outside China.
REPORT Romania has made limited progress in addressing the 2019 country-specific recommendations, reads the country report made public by the European Commission on Wednesday. According to the document, there has been substantial progress in protecting financial stability and the robustness of the banking system, and some progress in ensuring the long-term viability of the second pension pillar and in implementing a national public procurement strategy. On the other hand, Romania has made no progress in terms of implementing a national fiscal framework, in ensuring the stability of the public pension system, in completing the minimum inclusion income reform, in improving the predictability of decision-making and the corporate governance of state-owned companies. According to the European Commission, since the start of the European Semester reports in 2011, “some progress” has been reported in relation to 47% of the country-specific recommendations for Romania, with “limited progress” or “no progress” reported for the other 53%. Although efforts have been made in several areas, measures are slow and the country must strive to reach tangible results in implementing reforms, the European Commission says.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)