CORRUPTION – The Prosecutors’ Office with the High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest on Friday announced it made public the irregularities with which an anti-corruption prosecutor was prosecuting a famous corruption case as early as last September. The reaction comes against the background of concern voiced by civil society and mass media in Romania over the solutions in the so-called Microsoft case. We recall that six former Romanian ministers have been acquitted in a big corruption case as the statute of limitation has expired. In the case of the 7th minister involved with the file, the anti-corruption prosecutors have ruled to close the case. Three of the officials involved in the case, who had occupied portfolios at the Ministries of Education and Finances, were being investigated in the so-called Microsoft case, which caused 70 million dollars in prejudice to the state. The seven officials are accused of having resorted to illegal actions over 2003-2004 to sign a contract with a private company for operating Microsoft licenses in schools.
BREXIT – Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu said the rights of Romanians currently living in the UK will be fully guaranteed post-Brexit, in the wake of the first round of Brexit negotiations. The statement comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of possibly limiting the rights of EU citizens who will settle in the UK after Brexit. The statement refers to citizens arriving after March 2019, so that these provisions cannot apply to citizens currently residing in the UK.
DEFENCE – 2018 will be devoted to modernizing the Romanian Naval Forces, Defense Minister Mihai Fifor on Friday said in the military port of Constanta on the Black Sea coast. The Romanian official said Wednesday’s government session will occasion a presentation of a project devoted to the purchase of four multi-purpose corvettes. The contract could be signed by the end of the year and the corvettes will be manufactured at a shipyard in Romania. Two frigates will also be upgraded, while most of Romania’s naval military could be fitted with anti-ship missiles. In turn, Vice-Admiral Alexandru Mirsu said Romania needs a strong and well-equipped naval force, considering Russia’s increased military presence in the Black Sea. The two officials met in Constanta with the crews of British and Turkish naval forces, who are part of NATO’s permanent military force, currently taking part in joint maritime surveillance operations.
FINANCE – Romania has attracted €2 billion from external markets by issuing Eurobonds with maturities of 12 to 20 years in two installments. The transaction covers part of the minimum financing capital on external markets for this year, at the same time consolidating Romania’s hard currency reserves, the Finance Ministry has announced. The Ministry plans to attract Eurobonds up to €5 billion and issue government bonds worth €11 billion on the internal market. Romania has a positive investment rating with a stable outlook from the world’s top three financial rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch.
HEARING – Romania’s Ambassador to the United States, George Maior, will appear before Parliament’s Romanian Intelligence Service Control Committee on February 27, the Committee chairman Claudiu Manda has said. On Friday Manda met with Maior in Bucharest, saying talks were short. A former Social-Democrat MP, Maior acted as head of the Romanian Intelligence Service over 2006-2015. Maior said he does not refrain from appearing before the Committee and wants to clarify information appeared in the media, without saying exactly what. More and more journalists speculate the intelligence service is allegedly serving political interests.
MOLDOVA – Moldovan President Igor Dodon on Friday called an official meeting to launch the so-called “Stephen the Great” Year. According to our correspondents in Chisinau, the move is seen as an extension of his pro-Russian policy, an attempt to undermine the Great Union Centennial in Romania. His initiative is in no way connected to any event in the life of Moldovan Ruler Stephen the Great, historian and political expert Octavian Tacu said, adding that Dodon wants to promote Moldovan identity, imposed by his political patrons in Moscow. Dodon is known for his anti-unionism and his plans to ban numerous organizations and parties calling for the reunification of Moldova and Romania.
DAVIS CUP – On Saturday and Sunday in Piatra Neamt, eastern Romania, the country’s tennis team will be playing the selection of Luxembourg in the first round of group two, of the Davis Cup’s Europe-Africa zone. The Romanian line-up includes Marius Copil who will play in the single contest, Horia Tecau and Florin Mergea in the doubles, Nicolae Frunza and Bogdan Borza in the singles. Romania has been relegated from group one for the first time since 1993 after a five-nil defeat by Israel. Romania has to win three rounds to make a comeback to world group one. Unless they win against Luxembourg, our tennis players are to join a play-off to maintain their position or be demoted. (Translated by D. Bilt & V. Palcu)