CABINET – The leadership of the Social-Democratic Party is today convening to discuss nominations for the new Cabinet to be led by Social-Democrat Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. The Social-Democrats and their junior coalition partners, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, said they want to keep the current Ministers for the portfolios of Foreign Affairs, the Environment, Energy and Liaison with Parliament. The previous Government had 27 ministers, three Deputy Prime Ministers and two delegate ministers. Meanwhile the opposition is taking action, the Liberals saying they will start talks with the other political parties and MPs to persuade them to vote against the new Cabinet. The Liberals aim to win as many votes as possible to prevent the new cabinet from being sworn in. Parliament’s vote is scheduled for January 29.
FAC – Romania’s Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu is today attending the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. The main topics on the agenda for talks are Libya, the post-Cotonou agreement and the peacemaking process in the Middle East. The EU’s Foreign Ministers will also attend a working breakfast, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as special guest. Additionally, a working breakfast with Werner Hoyer, the President of the European Investment Bank, will also be held on the sidelines of the event. The Cotonou Agreement, adopted in 2000, is the most comprehensive agreement between the European Union and developing countries, regulating EU relations with a total of 79 countries, of which 48 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Agreement is aimed at reducing and eventually eradicating poverty.
PROTEST –A few dozen people on Sunday staged a silent protest in front of the Government building against the ruling coalition’s modifications to the justice laws. Displaying the flags of Romania and the European Union and chanting slogans such as “#rezist”, “united for justice” or “stolen justice”, protesters covered their eyes and mouth with scarves and stool still, their backs turned to the Government buildins. The silent protest was staged after Saturday evening tens of thousands of people joined in large anti-government rallies in Bucharest, other large cities and abroad.
EU PRESIDENCY– Romania is stepping up its efforts to prepare its term at the helm of the European Union in January 2019. The first meeting of the Finland-Romania-Croatia trio is scheduled to take place today. The trio format was first set up under the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and has the purpose of outlining long-term objectives. The three countries will prepare a common agenda with major topics that will be tackled in the European Council over a period of 18 months. Romania will have its own six-month program. The priority of Romania’s mandate is preparing the European Parliament elections, scheduled for May 2019. Bucharest authorities want to adjust Romania’s priorities depending on the evolution of key topics of EU interest, of which the most important are Brexit and the post-2020 multiannual financial framework.
GERMANY – German Social-Democratic leaders have started official negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative Party to form a new Government. Hundreds of Social-Democrat delegates met in Bonn for a special congress, to renew their alliance with the Conservatives, an alliance that was first started in 2013. The two parties already agreed, earlier this month, on a joint governing program. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany Party, which last September secured its first seats in the Federal Government, has criticized the Social Democrats for their decision. Negotiations are expected to start this week, much to the relief of Germany’s European partners, Reuters reports.
TENNIS – Romania’s tennis player Simona Halep, WTA no. 1, today qualified to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, where she is seeded first. In the round of 16 she ousted Naomi Osaka of Japan, 6-3, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, Halep will play either Karolina Pliskova or Barbora Strykova, both of the Czech Republic. In the women’s singles, tenth-seeds Irina Begu and Monica Niculescu are playing Jennifer Brady and Vania King of the United States in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. (Translated by V. Palcu)