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COOPERATION France and the Netherlands "are eagerly waiting for Romania's Schengen accession as soon as possible." This is one of the main elements in a joint statement on security cooperation signed in Bucharest on Friday by the foreign ministers of the 3 countries. The message was also highlighted by the Dutch diplomacy chief, Wopke Hoekstra, in the bilateral talks with his Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu. The 2 officials, together with the French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna,Friday visited the "Getica" National Joint Training Centre in Cincu, where French and Dutch troops are deployed as part of the NATO Battle Group created in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In fact, after the trilateral talks concerning Moscow's armed aggression, Catherine Colonna said Ukraine must be helped to defend itself, to regain its independence and sovereignty. In Bucharest, the foreign officials were also received by president Klaus Iohannis and PM Nicolae Ciucă.
CINEMA Two Romanian films, 'Metronome' by Alexandru Belc and 'M.R.I.' by Cristian Mungiu, are in the competition of the Gothenburg International Film Festival in Sweden, which started on Friday. According to the Romanian Cultural Institute in Stockholm, the event brings together around 400 works from around the world every year, with 160,000 viewers attending. 'Metronome', the debut feature of the director Alexandru Belc, is a love story in 1972 communist Romania, and critics describe it as a social and historical analysis of a generation forced to live in a society marred by suspicion and distrust. Cristian Mungiu's 'R.M.N.' is set in a Transylvanian village, where a small factory hires new workers, troubling the apparent peace of the locals. The over 40-year old film festival in Gothenburg is the most important such event in the region.
SURVEY As many as 80% of Romanian consumers allow the use of their personal data for advertising purposes, according to a survey conducted on the European Data Protection Day. The latest data in the Survey on the usage of ITC in households and by individuals indicate that 1 of 2 Europeans aged between 16 and 74 do not allow the use of their personal data for advertising purposes when using the internet. As many as 46% reported having allowed only restricted access to their location or having denied access to their data altogether. The countries where the use of personal data for advertising is mostly denied by users include the Netherlands (73%), Finland (70%), Denmark and Germany (63% each), Spain (62%). At the opposite pole, the lowest rates were reported in Bulgaria (10%), Romania (20%), Greece (29%), Slovakia (30%) and Latvia (32%).
ELECTION Petr Pavel looks set to win the runoff of the presidential elections in the Czech Republic, ahead of ex-PM Andrej Babis, AFP reports. Polling stations opened on Friday and close today. Petr Pavel, 61, a retired general who held a senior NATO post, is running as an independent candidate and has the support of the right-of-centre government. Billionaire Andrej Babis, 68, who was the country's PM between 2017 and 2021, promised to force the government to help citizens handle the rising inflation. The winner of the vote will replace the controversial Milos Zeman, who had had close ties with Moscow before changing course during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
WEATHER In Romania, weather experts issued code orange and yellow alerts for heavy snowfalls, snowstorms and rainfalls in over 20 counties in the east and centre of the country. The bad weather left thousands of households without electricity, road, railway and air traffic was disrupted and several national and county roads were closed. (AMP)
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