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BUDGET In 2022 Romania saw a budget deficit of roughly EUR 16.5 bln, nearly 1% smaller than in the previous year. According to the finance ministry, the deficit dropped from 6.73% to 5.68% of GDP. Revenues amounted to approx.. EUR 94 bln, up 21% since 2021, fuelled by the VAT rise, growing EU funding and revenues in the energy sector. Expenditure exceeded EUR 110 bln, down 0.8% since the previous year.
DIPLOMACY Lithuania firmly supports Romania's Schengen accession and voices willingness to carry on an active dialogue with the other EU partners in this respect, especially in today's extremely difficult security context, the Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis told his Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu, in a telephone discussion. The talks were held as Romania is set to resume this year its participation in the air policing missions in the Baltic Sea region. The 2 officials praised the very good bilateral relations and the efficient coordination as part of the EU, NATO and regional projects such as the Three Seas Initiative and The Bucharest Nine.
CORRUPTION The former manager of Romania's national football team, Victor Piţurcă, has today left the Bucharest Police Detention Centre, where he was held for 24 hours by anti-corruption prosecutors in an influence peddling investigation. According to judicial sources, Victor Piţurcă was placed under court supervision, and prosecutors also initiated criminal proceedings against his son, Alexandru. The case concerns the procurement of non-compliant production lines and the sale of face masks to the Defence Ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic.Gabriel Ţuţu, the head of military producer and exporter Romarm, was also involved in the operation.
GOVERNMENT The government of Romania is to pass today a bill authorising 2 loans from the European Investment Bank. The nearly EUR 294 mln will be used for investments, upgrade and rehabilitation works in 26 hospitals in Romania. Another bill on today's agenda provides for up to 50% increases of the monthly allowances paid to the county council chairpersons and deputies and to the mayors and deputy mayors of the administrative units that implement projects financed from non-reimbursable EU funds, foreign loans and under the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism. The government is also to amend an order regulating energy subsidies and other support measures for vulnerable citizens.
NATO NATO will continue to strengthen its partnership with Japan amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday during a visit to Japan, where he had a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Jens Stoltenberg's tour, which included a stop in South Korea, is designed to strengthen ties with the Asian allies in the context of the war in Ukraine and rising competition with China. In an address in Seoul, the NATO official called on South Korea to increase its military support to Ukraine.
KOREA Also in Seoul, the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and his South-Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, promised to extend the scope of the 2 countries' joint military exercises, in a move by Washington to reassure its Asian ally of its support amid growing threats from North Korea. Tensions in the Korean Peninsula deepened in 2022, following North Korea's frequent military tests, including launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. (AMP)
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