Romanian cabinet ministers submit Romanian EU agenda in Brussels; Bucharest hosts European affairs meeting
BRUSSELS - Most Romanian ministers are in Brussels until Wednesday. They will be submitting the platform and priorities that Romania has at the helm of the Council of the European Union, especially in the specialized areas they are responsible for in the European Parliament. Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici is being heard today by the Economy and Monetary Policy Committee, while Deputy PM and Minister for the Environment Gratiela Gavrilescu is being heard by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the rest of Romanian ministers will submit their list of priorities in their line committees as well.
COUNCIL– Foreign Ministers of EU member states meet today in Brussels at the Foreign Affairs Council. On the agenda are the situation in Venezuela, the unfolding events in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the action plan against on-line disinformation submitted by the EC, and a preliminary debate ahead of the ministerial meeting between the EU and the Arab League on February 4. On December 5, the EC launched an action plan against on-line disinformation, six months ahead of European Parliament elections, and called on member states and social media platforms to mobilize in order to combat fake news. At the meeting, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu will submit to his European counterparts the Romanian priorities in terms of foreign and security policy while at the presidency of the Council.
BUCHAREST - European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu takes part today in Bucharest in the meeting of the members of the conference of European national parliament European affairs committees, as part of the European presidency. All member states will be represented, as well as members of the European Parliament. The European commissioner will hold the keynote speech on the future of European regional development policy on increasing cohesion and convergence through the Multiannual Finacial Framework. According to the commissioner, the cohesion policy creates jobs, supports skill development, and increases opportunities and quality of life for European citizens.
CORRUPTION- The High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest postponed until 18 February the corruption trial of Chamber of Deputies Speaker and Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea. In the first trial in this case he has already been sentenced to mandatory imprisonment, 3 years and 6 months, for instigation to abuse of office. Anti-corruption prosecutors have accused Dragnea of ordering the fictitious employment of two of his party's members in administrative positions, paid out of taxpayer money, even though they were working exclusively for the party. The Social Democratic chairman contested the charges. In 2016, Dragnea was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended, for election fraud.
CURRENCY – Romania's national currency, the leu, has today reached a historical minimum against the single European currency. It went down by 1.06 bani, the 100th subunit of the leu, as compared to Friday, for an exchange rate of 4.7081 lei to the Euro. The leu lost ground against the American dollar as well, which got to 4.1377 lei, up by 1.85 bani compared to Friday.
FLU – The head of the Romanian Microbiological Society, Alexandru Rafila, told AGERPRES today that 23 people have died so far in Romania this flu season. The H1N1 and H3N2 strains are the most common, but most deaths were caused by the AH1N1 strain. Health Minister Sorina Pintea said recently that Romania is on the verge of a flu epidemic. She stressed the fact that most victims had something in common, they had not been inoculated with a flu vaccine, and that the number of inoculations this season was very low.
BREXIT– British PM Theresa May submits today in Parliament a new Brexit plan, after the crushing defeat her first one suffered on January 15. Theresa May entered negotiations with the opposition trying to reach a consensus on the deal with the EU, but reached a deadlock. At the same time, Trade Minister Liam Fox warned on Sunday of what he called a political tsunami if MPs fail to enforce the decision of the 2016 referendum. A vote in the House of Commons is expected on January 29.