World no. 1 Simona Halep qualifies to the final of the Australian Open, Speakers of the Romanian Parliament's two Chambers claims the EC was misinformed in relation to the transparency of debates over he justice laws
Politics – The representatives of the governing coalition in Romania made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats are going to finalize negotiations, in Bucharest, on Thursday, for the formation of a new government so as to be able to announce the final government makeup on Friday. The structure of the government will remain unchanged, with 28 members of whom 3 deputy prime ministers, one of them without portfolio. Some of the Social Democratic ministers will carry on their terms in office during the future government. Among them Mihai Fifor at the Defense Ministry, Carmen Dan at the Interior Ministry, Olguta Vasilescu at the Labor Ministry, and Petre Daea at the Agriculture Ministry. Of the ministers from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats who will continue their activity in the new government we can mention Graţiela Gavrilescu, as deputy prime minister and environment minister, Teodor Meleşcanu as foreign minister, Toma Petcu as energy minister and Viorel Ilie as minister for the relationship with the Parliament. On Monday senators and deputies are going to give their confidence vote for the final membership of the Dăncilă cabinet and to the governing program. The Liberal opposition is holding talks with the other political parties to block the investiture of the new cabinet, the third one of the governing coalition.
Justice laws – The speakers of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, Liviu Dragnea and Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, claim, in an open letter addressed to the European Commission, that the drafting and the examination of the justice laws was made in accordance with the constitutional requirements and standards. The two officials also expressed concern with the incorrect manner in which the EC was informed in relation to the transparency of debates on the issue of the justice laws in Romania. On Wednesday, the EC conveyed a message expressing concern with the recent developments in Romania and called on the Romanian Parliament to reconsider the modifications brought to the justice laws. Brussels announced it would take a close look at the final modifications to the Romanian justice laws in order to assess their impact on the effort of guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary and of fighting corruption.
Tennis – World no. 1 tennis player Simona Halep on Thursday qualified, for the first time, to the final of the Australian Open, the year’s First Grand Slam tournament, after defeating the German Angelique Kerber (16 WTA and former leader of the classification) 6-3, 4-6, 9-7. Simona had one of the best matches of her career, and managed to win after a dramatic match that lasted for more than 140 minutes. Main favorite in Melbourne, in the final, the Romanian player will be up against the Danish player Caroline Wozniacki, world no. 2 player. For Halep this is the third final of a Grand Slam tournament in her career, after she lost two finals in Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017. For Wozniacki this is also the third final of her career, and just like Halep, she did not win any of the previous finals.
Statistics – The Romanian Government’s debt stood at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2017 at 35.7% of the GDP, down by 0.6% as compared to the level of 36.3% of the GDP reported in the same period of last year, show data published by the Eurostat. For the period analyzed, three EU member states reported growth of their government debt, in Latvia the debt remained at the same level, while in the rest of the member states the percentage dropped. The lowest level of the government debt, as a ratio from the GDP, was registered in Estonia, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania, while the highest level was reported in Greece, Italy and Portugal.
Sofia – Sofia will be hosting, on Thursday and Friday, under the Bulgarian presidency of the EU, the informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The line ministers will tackle issues related to justice, migration, asylum and border management. Romania is represented at the meeting by the justice minister Tudorel Toader. Participating in the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting will be the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, the EU counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, representatives of the European Parliament, of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, of the European External Action Service and of the Eurojust, Europol and Frontex agencies. (news translated by Lacramioara Simion)