HANDBALL Romania’s champions in women’s handball, CSM Bucharest on Friday night clinched a 28-22 win against Hungarian side Gyor Audi ETO in the first game of the Champions League’s main groups. CSM reaped the trophy in 2016 and Gyor are the current European defending champions. The group’s other games are due on Sunday when Nykoebing Falster Handbold of Denmark take on Russian side Rostov and Krim Mercator Ljubljana of Slovenia plays Danish side FC Midtjlland. CSM tops the table with eight points followed by Gyor with six, Rostov and NFH each with four, Krim and Midtjylland each with two. The Romanians will be playing the following away game against Midtjylland on Sunday, February 4th.
TENNIS On Saturday the world’s number one tennis player, Romanian Simona Halep, lost the Australian Open finals to the WTA number two Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. This is Halep’s third Grand Slam finals after those she lost in Roland Garros in 2014 and 2017. As of next week, Wozniacki is leader of the WTA ranking.
GOVERNMENT The two Parliament chambers in Bucharest are to convene in an extraordinary session on Monday afternoon to swear in the new PSD-ALDE executive and vote on an updated governing programme. The new ministers are to be heard by senators and MPs from the Parliament’s specialized committees before the swearing in ceremony. The new team led by the Social-Democratic MEP Viorica Dancila will have 27 ministers and 4 Deputy Prime Ministers, one more than the previous team led by former Prime Minister Mihai Tudose. Several ministers will continue their term in office, such as Social-Democrats Mihai Fifor, head of the Defence Ministry, Carmen Dan the Interior Minister, Labour Minister Olguta Vasilescu and Petre Daea, the Minister of Agriculture. The new ministers are Eugen Teodorovici at the Finance Ministry, doctor Sorina Pintea at the Health Ministry, actor George Ivascu at the Ministry of Culture and professor Valentin Popa as the Minister of Education. Natalia Intotero will be heading the Ministry for the Romanians Abroad. Independent Tudorel Toader, backed by the co-ruling Alliance of Liberals and Democrats ALDE, will be heading the Justice Ministry. The Liberal-Democratic ministers who will continue their activity with the new cabinet are Gratiela Gavrilescu, deputy Prime Minister and Environment Minister, Teodor Melescanu with the Foreign Ministry and Viorel Ilie, Minister for the Relation with Parliament. The only change is at the Ministry of Energy, where outgoing Toma Petcu has been replaced by Anton Anton. The opposition National Liberal Party is having talks with the other opposition parties to block the investiture of the new PSD-ALDE cabinet, the third in the past year.
ACCESSION Iurie Leanca, Deputy Prime Minister with the pro-Western government in Chisinau, has announced his intention to forward the Republic of Moldova’s EU accession application during the time when Romania takes over the EU’s rotating presidency in 2019. According to our correspondent in Chisinau, Leanca has said that the Republic of Moldova (an ex-soviet Romanian-speaking country) has to strengthen its dialogue with Brussels and carry on reforms. Leanca has previously served as the country’s Foreign Minister and Prime Minister and the government he led in 2014 concluded Moldova’s accords of association and free trade with the EU. Leanca has been recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister for European integration, a position that didn’t exist before.
HOLOCAUST Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Saturday conveyed a message on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in which he affirms that Romania continues to fight against any form of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination. ‘Our deepest prayers and thoughts are today for the victims of the Holocaust’, the head of the Romanian state writes. The foreign Ministry in Bucharest has also paid homage to the memory of the Holocaust victims from all over the world voicing solidarity with the survivors of the tragic events of WWII. January 27th 1945 was the day when the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau were liberated by the Red Army.