REP. OF MOLDOVA – Romania’s strategic objective in the relation with the Republic of Moldova is the European integration of the neighbouring state, Romanian foreign minister Teodor Meleşcanu said in Bucharest on Tuesday, fresh from the talks with his Moldovan counterpart, Tudor Ulianovschi. The two ministers talked about ways to consolidate Romania’s investments in the Republic of Moldova and about prospects of interconnecting the power-grids. The Romanian foreign minister also mentioned the initiative taken by the authorities of several Moldovan towns to collect signatures for the unification with Romania, a move that has been
described by the Moldovan President Igor Dodon as being liable to trigger "a
civil war". The declarations that are being made at local level on the unification with Romania are, from Bucharest’s point of view, only the expression of the Moldovan citizens’ wish to get closer to the citizens of Romania, without any legal implication. In turn, foreign minister and minister of European integrations, Tudor Ulianovschi, has hailed Romania’s efforts to consolidate the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. He underlined that Romania is Moldova’s largest trade partner. Ulianovschi has said Moldova’s European orientation continues to be an unchangeable and major objective of Moldova’s domestic and foreign policy.
VISIT – Hungarian foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó met in Bucharest on Monday with the Speakers of the two Chambers of the Romanian Parliament, Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Liviu Dragnea, respectively, as well as with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Meleşcanu. The talks focussed on bilateral cooperation, special emphasis being laid on the energy field and infrastructure. Minister Péter Szijjártó has said Romania is an important strategic partner of Hungary, underlining the significant level of economic exchanges. He has also mentioned the significant contribution brought by the Romanian community in Hungary, and of the Hungarian community in Romania to assure a continuous bilateral dialogue, under its various forms. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent to Budapest, Szijjártó has announced that Romania will detail, by 2020, the technical conditions which are necessary for natural gas exports to Hungary. The Romanian and Hungarian foreign ministers have also talked about the education law in Ukraine, which stipulates that education in the mother tongue is available only in kindergartens and primary schools, and they agreed to further cooperate and show opposition to this law, so that Ukraine cannot infringe upon the rights obtained by its ethnic minorities, MTI reports.
SECURITY – The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism has announced, in its 2017 activity report that Islamic radicalisation in Romania is one of the major risks. Anti-terror prosecutors say the phenomenon has gained ground over the past few years and the law on preventing and fighting terrorism should be updated. According to them, last year Romania didn’t face any concrete and consistent terror threats. In another move, anti-drug prosecutors say they seized over 2,000 kilograms of drugs in 2017, with cannabis being the most smuggled drug, brought over particularly from Spain and the Netherlands, by road. As regards cross border drug trafficking, Romania has remained a transit country, placed on the “Balkan route” of transport, especially of heroine, cocaine and ecstasy.
JUSTICE LAWS – The European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday will be hosting debates on the rule of law and the reform of the judiciary in Romania. On January 24, the European Commission voiced concern about the latest developments in Romania and called on the Romanian Parliament to reconsider the modifications to the justice laws. The independence of the judiciary and its capacity to fight corruption efficiently are the cornerstones of a strong Romania within the EU, a joint declaration issued by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, reads. The commission will analyse in detail the final modifications to the justice laws to establish their impact on the efforts to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, the joint declaration also reads. Late last year, the ruling majority in Bucharest made up of the Social Democratic Party-the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Romania adopted changes to the justice laws, which have been vehemently criticised by magistrates’ associations and the opposition, on ground they would be aimed to politically subordinate the judicial system.
STOCK EXCHANGES - Stocks the world over, Romania included, fell sharply, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,175.21 points, or 4.6%, causing the biggest financial crisis since 2008. S&P 500 and Nasdaq reported similar situations and this volatility has today extended to Asian markets, especially in Japan, where the Nikkei lost almost 7 percent, falling below the key 8,000 technical level for the first time in three weeks. Other key markets in the region lost some 5%. The European Stocks joined the rout, opening sharply lower in morning trading. European markets had initially plunged by 3%, their biggest fall since the Brexit vote. The stock exchange in Bucharest opened in red, as a result of the shockwave in the US.