Launch of Romania's presidency of the Council of the EU in Bucharest, Transporters' protests in Brussels
EU - The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the College of Commissioners are today in Bucharest for the official launch of Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU. The event is also attended by the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and the president of the European Council Donald Tusk. The moment will be marked by a concert at the Romanian Athenaeum given by the EU orchestra. The program includes the Romanian Rhapsody I by George Enescu and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 ‘Ode to Joy’ which became the Anthem of the EU in 1985. Civic organizations from Bucharest called on the City Hall to approve the organization in parallel with the launch ceremony in front of the Athenaeum of an anti-government rally under the slogan We want Europe, not dictatorship!. A deputy mayor of Bucharest claims that the law does not allow for the organization of two events in the same location and that the members of the EC have a special status which implies increased security measures. The initiators of the rally say that the protesters will gather in that location based on the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions which protect the right to free expression. On Friday, Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with President Klaus Iohannis and with the PM Viorica Dancila as well as with the speakers of Parliament’s two chambers. The European officials will also have talks with the Romanian ministers who, for 6 months, will chair both in Bucharest and Brussels, working meetings with their counterparts from the EU member states.
France-Romania – The French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, is visiting Bucharest from January 9th to 11th where she will have talks with the Romanian officials about the summit to be held in Sibiu (central Romania) and the support France is going to give to Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU. The French official will today meet with the PM Viorica Dancila and the minister delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba. According to the French Embassy in Bucharest, Nathalie Loiseau will express France’s support for a successful Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU.
Protests – Transporters from Romania and other Eastern European states are today protesting in front of the European Parliament against the change of legislation in the field, in the context in which the MEPs from the Committee on Transport are voting on the new regulations. Protesters claim that the proposals included in the mobility package were made against the backdrop of surging protectionism of western European states and that the transporters in eastern and southeastern Europe will be affected by the measures. They believe the measures will lead to significantly higher operation costs and restrictions on the international road transportation within the community space. One of the measures forbids the period of weekly rest to happen in the truck cab. Another measure is related to the obligation of drivers to return home at least once every 4 weeks. Measures also refer to the obligation to equip all international transport vehicles with an intelligent tachograph by the end of 2024.
Visit – The Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu has met with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz who was on a visit to Bucharest. The two reviewed the stage of accomplishment of the common objects set at bilateral, regional, European and multilateral level and set the landmarks of the Romanian – Polish cooperation on short and medium term. Talking about Romania’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, Teodor Melescanu stated that Bucharest will focus on promoting cohesion as a common European value, on overcoming division among member states and on identifying ways to consolidate the role of the EU. In another development, the Romanian FM offered to his Polish counterpart a digitalized copy of 294 archived files covering the period 1918-1947 to mark a century of diplomatic relations between Romania and Poland.
Tennis - The Romanian tennis player Irina Begu on Thursday failed to qualify to the semifinals of the WTA tournament in Hobart, Australia, which has total prizes up for grabs worth 250 thousand dollars after she was defeated 7-5, 7-5 by the Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the quarterfinals. Also in Hobart, the pair made up of the Romanian Monica Niculescu and the Chinese Zhaoxuan Yang on Wednesday qualified to the doubles semifinals after defeating 6-1, 6-4 the Romanian-Kazakh pair Raluca Olaru/Galina Voskoboeva. Irina Begu and Mihaela Buzarnescu were defeated in the quarterfinals by the pair Anastasia Potapova (Russia) and Daiana Iastremska (Ukraine) 6-4, 7-6 (3). Eliminated in the eighth finals of the Sydney tournament, the world no.1 player Romanian Simona Halep was designated top seed at the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, where she played in the final in 2018. (translation by L. Simion)