The leu/Euro exchange rate reaches new record high
The Romanian national currency, the leu, continues to depreciate more and more against the single European currency. On Wednesday, the Euro soared, breaking the historical record, as it reached for the first time the level of 4.75 lei, after several bumps up in previous days. The US dollar and the Swiss Franc had similar evolutions. Analysts say that the depreciation of the national currency can be explained by Romania's foreign trade balance, with imports continuing to be disproportionately higher than exports, with the imbalance deepening with every passing month. National Bank adviser Adrian Vasilescu emphasized that this trend was even deeper during the winter holidays, when importers upped the quantity of merchandise they were bringing into the country, with customers packing stores. Now they are changing lei to buy currency to pay their bills. Other explanations for this negative trend, according to experts, are the fairly high level of inflation, the fact that foreign investors have dumped Romanian state bonds lately, as well as uncertainty in term of domestic economic policies that may adversely affect the safety of foreign investments.
Dozens succumb to the flu in the cold season
Over 30 people have succumbed to the flu so far this cold season. Authorities have decided to keep schools closed on Friday in order to contain the spread of the virus. Health Minister Sorina Pintea believes the situation is serious and will decide on Tuesday whether or not to declare the situation an epidemic, considering that the number of cases was much higher than the estimate, exceeding 20%. She has announced that the authorities have decided to purchase and distribute 25,000 more flu vaccine doses, to immunize in particular children, the elderly, chronic patients, and pregnant women. According to physicians, vaccination is the most effective way to combat the spread of the flu. Also very useful are individual measures such as use of cloth masks, use of napkins while coughing and sneezing, and frequent washing of hands.
Romania salutes French-German partnership
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have signed a bilateral treaty in Aachen. In addition to European officials, the ceremony was attended by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, representing the country that holds the 6-month presidency of the Council of the European Union. In the present European context, consolidating the European project is a profound necessity, whose essence can only be in the unity and solidarity of member states, said the head of the Romanian state. He added that the new treaty is not simply an expression of the will of Germany and France to commit to the consolidation of the European project. The new treaty is legally and politically based on the Treaty of Elysee of 1963, which formed the basis of France and Germany's historic reconciliation. The document is intended to adapt relations between the two countries to the realities of the 21st century, strengthening ties in the economy, foreign and security policy, education and culture, research and technology, combating climate change, and civil society.
PM Viorica Dancila makes a working visit to Brussels
Romania remains a staunch NATO ally, said Romanian PM Viorica Dancila in Brussels, after a meeting with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In response, Stoltenberg said that NATO and the EU have been working better and better in cyber security and naval activities. The two officials reviewed the main issues on the NATO agenda. Also in Brussels, Dancila presented Romania's priorities at the helm of the EU Council, in plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee. The head of the Romanian government reiterated Romania's priorities, with emphasis on common European values: cohesion and reducing the gaps between regions. Close attention will be paid to migration, but also to strengthening the defense and security policies. Other priorities are the consolidation of the internal market, cyber security, and the protection of citizens on-line. Romania wants to give priority during its term to issues that directly benefit citizens. One of them is the multi-annual financial framework, related to which Romania wants to make enough progress to allow a political agreement to be signed in the autumn of this year, Viorica Dancila said.
Romania celebrates the Union of the Romanian Principalities on January 24
The entire country celebrates this week 160 years since the union of the Romanian Principalities on January 24, 1859. The anniversary was marked by religious and military ceremonies, laying of flower wreaths, and open air shows. This special moment was the main precursor to the Great Union of 1918. On this important day, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who had been elected to the throne of the Principality of Moldavia a week earlier, was voted by the Elective Assembly in Bucharest to be the sovereign of Wallachia. He was, as a result, at that point ruling an effectively new country, formed of the two former principalities. Three years later, with crucial support from French emperor Napoleon III, the union was recognized internationally, and the new state was called Romania. Cuza's seven years reign laid the foundations of the modern Romanian state through radical reforms, which were continued by Romania's first king, Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who ruled between 1866 and 1914. He was followed by his nephew, Ferdinand I, nicknamed ‘The Uniter’, who ruled between 1914 and 1927. He ruled over the most important event for Romania in the 20th century, the 1918 union of almost all territories with a majority Romanian population, forming Greater Romania. (Edited by M. Ignatescu)