REP. MOLDOVA – Romania’s strategic objective in the relation with the Republic of Moldova is the European integration of the neighboring 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 integration, 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.
STOCK EXCHANGES – The Bucharest stock exchange closed on Tuesday 2% below most indices, in line with European stocks. 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. Even though they closed in the red, Europe’s stock markets avoided Monday’s sharp plunge in the USA and Asia, especially in Japan, where the Nikkei lost almost 7%, falling below the key 8,000 technical level for the first time in three weeks. In other Asia markets, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong reported a sharp 3.9% drop, while the Shanghai stock exchange closed in the red, down by 3.40%.
JUSTICE LAWS – The Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Tuesday met in Strasbourg with European Commission Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, to discuss the current stage of the justice laws and the modifications to the criminal codes. Another topics on the agenda was the Romanian Constitutional Court's ruling on integrity of public office. 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 criticized by magistrates’ associations and the opposition, on ground they would be aimed to politically subordinate the judicial system.
SALARY LAW – The salary law passed last year was meant to balance the irregularities in the salary scheme, such as being paid different salaries for carrying out the same tasks in public institutions, Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu says. The Romanian official pointed out the law observes a basic European principle, that of equal pay for equal work. Bonuses have been capped, as in most cases they exceeded the basic salary. Minister Vailescu went on to say that people working half time will be switched to the 8-hour workload. The Government plans to adopt an emergency decree on this, given that people working half time pay minimum-wage contributions to the state budget, exceeding their real-time paygrade.
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 heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.
ACCORD – The Radio Broadcasting Corporation and the Public Television Station today signed a partnership accord, which will underlie cooperation in terms of informing Romanian citizens, with cultural, educational and social connections. The purpose of the accord is to mutually promote the two institutions and humanitarian campaigns, implementing joint cultural and artistic projects and cooperating with a view to promoting other projects. The accord also recognizes the two institutions’ major role in society, by promoting national values, providing audiences with innovative and easily accessible cultural programs.
(Translated by D. Vijeu & V. Palcu)