VACCINATION The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis received
the Covid 19 vaccine on Friday, at the Central Military Hospital in Bucharest. He
subsequently said the vaccine is safe and efficient, and immunisation and
compliance with the protection rules will help us overcome the pandemic. The 2nd
phase of the vaccination programme started today in Romania. It targets the
high-risk population and workers in key sectors. Since
the start of the pandemic, Romania has reported more than 688,000 coronavirus
infections. Over 619,000 patients have recovered and more than 17,000 died. Over
3,300 new cases and 63 deaths were reported on Friday, and 1,091 patients are
in intensive care.
CORRUPTION Liviu Dragnea, former president of the Social Democratic Party and former Chamber of Deputies speaker, has been charged with influenced peddling in another corruption-related case, concerning his presence at the US president Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington in early 2017. Prosecutors claim the former Social Democratic chief received undue benefits for himself and his party, in the amount of 380,000 US dollars, consisting in the travel package, political consultancy and various lobby services. In the same case, his former adviser and Romania’s consul general in Bonn, Gheorghe Dimitrescu is also accused of influence peddling. Liviu Dragnea is currently serving a prison sentence for inciting abuse of office. In 2019 he was sentenced to 3 and a half years in a case involving fictitious employment contracts in Teleorman County.
GOVERNMENT The government of Romania is holding an online meeting today. On Thursday the finance minister Alexandru Nazare said the Cabinet was preparing a reform of state-owned companies, and that on Friday loss and debt reduction targets will be presented, as well as means to monitor their activity. The state budget bill for this year is to be finalized at the end of this month.
CULTURE Romania celebrates today 171 years since the birth of poet Mihai Eminescu, with online events or events without a live audience. As a tribute to Romania’s greatest poet, January 15 was declared the National Culture Day, aimed at promoting culture, arts and academic effort. This day has been celebrated since 2010 in Romania, the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, and in the Romanian communities abroad. Diplomatic and consular missions as well as Romanian cultural institutes abroad are hosting special events devoted to this day. In turn, Radio Romania will celebrate Mihai Eminescu’s role in the national and world culture, with special shows, interviews, documentaries and festive events.
INNOVATION Only 14.6% of the companies with at least 10 employees in Romania reported any innovation activity in 2016-2018, which places the country last in the EU, according to a survey made public by the Eurostat today. At EU level, 50.3% of companies had innovation activities in the respective period, with the highest number of innovative enterprises reported in Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium and Germany. Bottom of the list are Romania, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. In Romania, the share of companies conducting innovative activities rose from 10% in 2016 to 14.6% in 2018.
INAUGURATION In the US, president elect Joe Biden’s team has cancelled a train trip and a rehearsal for the inauguration ceremony due on January 20, over concerns for Biden’s security. Washington mobilised police forces and the National Guard, amid information pointing to attempts to organise armed protests to prevent the Biden administration from taking office. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent, the FBI is looking into large-scale and disquieting online activity related to possible violence at the inauguration ceremony. Over 200 suspects tied to the US Capitol riots of January 6 have been identified so far, and more than 100 have been arrested. Trump’s impeachment procedure has been moved to the Senate, but debates are set to begin after the inauguration of the new president. (tr. A.M. Popescu)