WB representatives are optimistic about Romania’s economic performance/ Romania’s ambassador to Oslo held talks at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry on the situation of the five children taken over by the authorities from a mixed Romanian-Norwegian family
ECONOMY- World Bank representatives are optimistic about Romania’s economic performance but they warn however that some potential risks must not be neglected. A delegation of the World Bank, led by the Regional Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia, Cyril Muller, was received in Bucharest on Wednesday by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis. During the talks, the economic experts reiterated the WB’s interest in further supporting economic and institutional reforms meant to boost Romania’s development in the long run. These reforms are mainly destined for the sector of state enterprises and are also aimed at improving corporatist governance as well as at developing and modernising key sectors, such as transports. The meeting was held just days after the technocratic cabinet in Bucharest and the World Bank signed a new memorandum under which the World Bank grants technical assistance to Romanian public institutions until 2023. Thanks to a first memorandum, some 20 public institutions benefited from over 30 million Euro worth of funding, between 2012 and 2015.
CHILD WELFARE – The Romanian Ambassador to Oslo has held talks at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, where he has underlined the Norwegian authorities’ taking into custody five children of a mixed Romanian-Norwegian family, with residence in Norway, is a social case with a huge emotional and media impact. He made the proposal to the Norwegian side to start political cooperation with the relevant Romanian authorities in order to manage the case, the spokesperson for the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Raluca Lunculescu, announced on Wednesday. She added that law observance and the family’s sensibility had been taken into consideration before starting any form of public communication on the case. Earlier, the Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest explained that an order of foster care placement is issued only when the child has been severely neglected, maltreated or abused. Rallies of support for Ruth and Marius Bodnariu have been staged in several cities across Romania and abroad. We recall that the five children of the family, aged between 4 months and 10 years, have been taken into custody by the Norwegian state, for reportedly having been disciplined by their parents. Their father, Marius Bodnariu, of Romanian descent, denounces the move, deeming it an abuse but he admitted to having applied small physical corrections on children. A joint delegation of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and Senate will pay an official visit to Oslo next week for talks with representatives of the Norwegian Parliament on child protection laws, starting from the Bodnariu case. In turn, President Klaus Iohannis expressed his support for the efforts made by the Romanian Government to assure “the observance of human rights for the Romanian citizens, wherever they may be.”
DIPLOMACY- Romanian Foreign Minister, Lazar Comanescu, on Thursday and Friday will attend the informal meeting on foreign policy and security related issues, Snow Meeting, at the invitation of his counterpart, Linas Linkevicius. According to a communiqué issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the event will bring together decision-makers and experts in foreign policy and security from NATO and EU member states, high ranking officials of the two organisations and academics. Security developments in NATO’s eastern and southern neighbourhood, as well as the alliance’s response to such developments are the focal points of Snow Meeting 2016. Other issues high on the agenda of the meeting are the prospects of the NATO Summit due in Warsaw in July and the stage of implementation of the decisions made at the previous summit held in Great Britain in September 2014.
STRASBOURG – An employer has the right to monitor the employees’ online communications during work time, according to a ruling issued by the European Court of Human Rights, following a complaint made by a Romanian engineer who got fired in 2007 for having spent time chatting on the computer during work time. He brought the issue to the European court, saying that by having his private conversations intercepted, his right to privacy was violated. In turn, the employer justified the decision to lay out the engineer for not using the electronic mail for professional purposes, but to communicate with his brother and girl-friend, against the backdrop of internal rules and regulations which forbid employees to use the company’s resources for personal use. The man who was made redundant initially brought the issue to a Romanian court, which issued an unfavourable ruling, so he took the case to the European court, to no avail. In the ruling it issued, the European Court of Human Rights says an employer does not commit an abuse when checking on its employees to see whether or not they accomplish their professional tasks during work hours. Also, the European Court of Human Rights considers that the first Romanian court kept a correct balance between the employer’s interests and the observance of private correspondence confidentiality, because only transcripts of the conversations attesting to the fact that the employee used the company’s computer for his personal interest during work time, have been used in court, and the identity of other people involved in the conversations has not been disclosed.
MOLDOVA- The President of the Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet state with a predominantly Romanian speaking population), Nicolae Timofti, on Wednesday announced he had rejected the proposal made by the Democratic Party for the position of Prime Minister, namely the controversial businessman Vlad Plahotniuc. Timofti called on the parliamentary majority to come up with a new candidacy and underlined that his rejection of Plahotniuc is based on Constitutional provisions and on rulings issued by the Constitutional Court, which stipulate that the nomination of people suspected of integrity-related issues for leading positions runs counter to the principles of the rule of law. A member of the Democratic Party and backed by a heterogeneous majority, ranging from pro-European Liberals to ex-communists, who are traditionally of pro-Russian orientation, Plahotniuc is described by his opponents as an oligarch who has repeatedly been accused of involvement in illegal activities which mar the image of the Republic of Moldova. If a new government does not get endorsement until January 29, the President will have to dissolve Parliament and call for snap elections.
SPORTS – Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, WTA’s no.2, on Thursday will meet Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (WTA’s no.25) in the semi-finals of the Sydney tournament, with 687,000 dollars prize money up for grabs. Halep has an overall 3-2 lead on the Russian player in the direct matches.
(Translated and edited by Diana Vijeu)