FLU The Public Healthcare Ministry is to decide whether conditions are met to declare a flu epidemic in Romania. One such condition is that, for 3 weeks, the number of cases confirmed must be higher than the number of cases estimated. The National Centre for Infectious Disease Monitoring and Control announced that 48 people have died from the flu this season. None of the victims had been immunised against the disease.
DIPLOMACY President Klaus Iohannis has said today, at a meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions in Bucharest, that he will do everything in his power to ensure that the values of the rule of law, of liberal democracy and of an independent and efficient judiciary are not affected. The president vowed that, regardless of the very dynamic domestic political situation, all decision makers will join efforts to ensure the proper fulfilment of Romania’s role as holder of the presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2019. He reiterated that Schengen accession remains a priority for Romania. Also, according to the head of state, Bucharest’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council is quite strong. As for strengthening the strategic partnership with the US, Klaus Iohannis said this remain a foreign policy priority for Romania.
UN Romania’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ion Jinga, has chaired the last meeting of the Peace Building Commission held under the Romanian presidency of the commission which started on January 31st, 2018. The PBC 2018 Annual Report was officially adopted on this occasion. The document looks at the efforts made by the PBC Presidency last year in implementing the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions with respect to revising the peace building architecture. The report reflects the fulfilment of the priorities undertaken by Romania upon taking over the PBC presidency, as well as a number of first-time accomplishments of the Commission in 2018. The Romanian Ambassador explained that “the positive results during the Romanian presidency were possible thanks to the joint commitment of all member states, while also complying with the fundamental principle of preserving national decision-making and leadership.”
CORRUPTION Transparency International Tuesday presented its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 180 countries by their public sector corruption levels as decided by consulting experts and business communities. According to the 2018 report, Romania ranks 61st in the world, with 47 points, down 2 places since 2017. Transparency International’s index uses a 0 to 100 scale, with 0 standing for extremely high corruption and 100 for no corruption at all. Out of the 28 EU member states, Romania is 24th. The top positions in the global ranking are held by Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.
BREXIT Britain’s PM Theresa May appears before Parliament again today, to present the next steps planned in the country’s withdrawal from the European Union. A first draft of the agreement she had suggested was rejected by a large parliamentary majority 2 weeks ago. This time however, British MPs were able to table amendments which, if endorsed, pave the way for various scenarios, from postponing the exit date to holding a second referendum on the topic. More than 10 amendments have been submitted. The Government announced that a second vote on the withdrawal deal would be held shortly, and British media already speak about February 13th as the date of the new vote.
EUROVISION Romania will compete in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 16th, alongside Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, the Republic of Moldova, Latvia, Denmark and Armenia, according to the drawing held in Tel Aviv. On February 17th, Romania will announce its representative in the 2019 edition of Eurovision, hosted by Israel. Romania’s best performances in this competition so far have been 2 third places (Luminiţa Anghel & Sistem in Kiev, 2005; Paula Seling and Ovi in Oslo, 2010) and a fourth place (Mihai Trăistariu in Athens, 2006).
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)