Romania’s PM Viorica Dancila will be on a visit to Strasbourg on Monday and Tuesday
EU Romania’s PM Viorica Dancila will be on a visit to Strasbourg on Monday and Tuesday. She will present to the European Parliament the priorities of the first Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union and have meetings with EU officials. On Friday, during talks with the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and with members of the College of EU Commissioners in Bucharest, Viorica Dancila emphasised that the Romanian presidency will seek to achieve consensus among Member States over the multi-annual financial framework, and is looking for “small, but reliable steps” in this respect. According to the Romanian PM, the talks held on Friday between members of the Romanian Government and of the College of Commissioners were structured into 3 thematic sections and focused on EU priorities like the single market, the consolidation of the Economic and Monetary Union, migration, security and justice.
CHURCH Pope Francis, who will make a visit to mostly-Orthodox Romania between May 31st and June 2nd, will have a meeting with Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, a Romanian Patriarchy spokesman announced. He emphasised that the good relations between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church translate, among others, in the hospitality with which Romanian communities have been received in many countries, especially in Italy, where many Romanian parishes hold religious services in locations made available by the local Catholic communities. On Friday the Vatican and the Romanian Presidency confirmed the Pope’s visit to Romania. He will visit the capital city Bucharest, the cities of Iaşi (in the north-east) and Blaj (centre), as well as the Marian shrine in Şumuleu Ciuc (centre). Pope Francis is the second Pope to visit Romania, after John Paul II who was in 1999 the first head of the Catholic Church to visit a mostly Orthodox country since the East-West Schism of 1054.
PROCUREMENT Save Romania Union in opposition says the new scandal regarding the corvette procurement procedure proves that the Social Democratic Party in power in Romania is unable to complete at least one procurement contract without corruption suspicions. Save Romania Union believes this new standstill, concurrent with the attack against the army’s Chief of Staff, whom the Defence Ministry seeks to replace, only destabilises NATO’s eastern flanc and serves the interests of Russia, which seeks control over the Black Sea. Also in Opposition, the People’s Movement Party says the Government has managed to compromise the army equipment procurement process as well as Romania’s international commitments. The criticism comes after the Romanian Defence Ministry announced having suspended the purchase of 4 multi-role corvettes worth 1.6 billion euros. A news release issued by the Ministry says the Prosecutor’s Office has been notified of reasonable suspicions regarding the lawfulness of the procedure, liable to affect the national security interests. The bid should have been completed last year, but it was postponed several times already. The Defence Minister Gabriel Leş said the Prosecutor’s Office was only notified with respect to this case in order to make sure the security and lawfulness of the procurement procedure are guaranteed.
PASSPORTS The new Romanian electronic passports, to be issued as of this week, will be virtually impossible to forge, said the head of the Directorate General for Passports Mirel Toancă on Saturday. He said each page of the new documents includes a stylised image of a well-known Romanian historic or tourist site, such as the Danube Delta, the Scărişoara Cave or Sighişoara medieval citadel. The fees for the issue of the new passports remain unchanged, and the ones valid at present will remain in use. Simple electronic passports are valid for 10 years, and temporary ones are valid 1 year.
MACEDONIA Greece’s PM Alexis Tsipras congratulated his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, after a historic vote in Skopje to rename the country “The Republic of North Macedonia”. Zoran Zaev won by a narrow margin the 2-thirds of the parliamentary votes needed for this goal, with the nationalists in Opposition boycotting the meeting. This is the last but one major obstacle to the settlement of a decade-long dispute with Greece over the name “Macedonia,” which Athens claims for the north of Greece. According to the BBC, the next step is the ratification of the agreement by the Greek Parliament, paving the way for Macedonia’s prospective accession to the EU and NATO.
PARIS Two firemen and a Spanish tourist died and over 40 people were injured on Saturday morning in a blast caused by an accidental gas leak in a building downtown Paris, AFP announced quoting sources from the Prosecutor’s Office. Previous reports mentioned 4 deaths. In other news, fresh clashes took place in the French capital between police and the “yellow vests” in the 9th weekend of protests. A nation-wide debate designed to calm down the protesters is to be organised as of Tuesday. The movement started out as a protest against the rise in fuel prices, but later grew into a campaign targeting the entire fiscal and social policy of the French government.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)