Romania will be earmarked 31 billion euro under the Cohesion Policy, in 2021 - 2027
EU COUNCIL The Romanian minister delegate for European Affairs is taking part in Brussels in the meeting of the General Affairs Council presided for the first time by Romania. Bucharest will present on this occasion its priorities as holder of the rotating presidency of the EU Council. The agenda of the meeting also includes the 2021-2027 financial framework, as well as measures to fight online manipulation, in the context of the elections for the European Parliament due in May. The visit of the College of European Commissioners to Bucharest on January 10th and 11th, marks the official launch of the Romanian Presidency in Bucharest, minister Ciamba added. The 4 pillars of the Romanian presidency are “Europe of convergence”, “A safer Europe”, “Europa – a stronger regional actor”, and “Europe of shared values”. Bucharest has earmarked a budget of 60-80 million euros for its EU Council presidency.
CHILD ALLOWANCES The Romanians working in Austria whose child allowances for the children left in their home country were cut down further to legislative changes in the host country may request support from SOLVIT Romania, which is subordinated to the Foreign Ministry. SOLVIT is a network set up and coordinated by the European Commission in the field of the internal market, which relies on the cooperation of the 31 Centres that are part of the public administration of the countries affiliated to the European Economic Area. Specifically, where a violation is identified, SOLVIT Romania will contact SOLVIT Austria, which is in charge with contacting the relevant national authority in order to identify a solution to the problem. Moreover, Romanian authorities are also currently working with the European Commission with respect to the Austrian legislative measures that lower the child allowances paid to Romanian workers in Austria to the level of the child allowances paid in Romania.
COHESION Romania will be earmarked 31 billion euro under the Cohesion Policy, in 2021 - 2027, which is 8% more than in the 2014 – 2020 period, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu announced. The cohesion policy has the largest budget for the post-2020 period, namely 373 billion euro, and Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Italy and Finland will receive higher amounts than in the current period, the European official said. According to Corina Cretu, the European Commission wants 3-party negotiations with the European Parliament and Council to be initiated as soon as possible and the procedures for accessing EU funds simplified. This will prevent delays in implementing projects in all EU member states. Corina Creţu added that she will talk about this during the visit that the EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the College of Commissioners will make to Bucharest on January 10th and 11th.
PROTESTS The French PM Édouard Philippe announced plans to ban participation in unauthorised protests, after 8 consecutive weekends of “yellow vest” rallies. He said the government would draft a bill punishing those who fail to declare the organisation of a protest, those who take part in one and those who wear masks to cover their faces. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Paris and other cities last weekend, but the number of protesters was lower than in previous weekends, and so was the extent of violent clashes. Anti-government protesters are disgruntled with the fuel taxes and the low living standards. They also want to make sure that citizens’ initiative referendums will be introduced as a guarantee of democracy.
VISIT North-Korean president Kim Jong-un is on a visit to Beijing, where he will have talks with Xi Jinping, the president of China, which is North Korea’s main diplomatic and trade ally. Kim visited the country 3 times in 2018, 2 of the trips taking place ahead of the historic meeting with the US president Donald Trump, which many commentators saw as an opportunity to coordinate strategies. The current 3-day visit fuels speculations regarding a second USA – North Korea summit to be held soon. Trump has recently said the place of the meeting will be announced in the near future.
INTERNET While waiting for the results of the recent presidential elections, the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have cut internet access and text messaging services and have blocked the French radio station RFI, news agencies announce. The government said this was a measure meant to preserve public order and to stop the dissemination of fictitious election results. Meanwhile, the EU and the African Union Monday denounced the coup attempt in Gabon, a former French colony in Africa. Here too, the internet was shut down and power was cut in several areas. Internet shutdowns were also reported in Sudan and Cameroon over the past few months. In Uganda, in 2016, internet access was blocked around election time, with the authorities claiming that this was the only way to prevent the dissemination of fake news inciting violence.
TENNIS The Romanian player Simona Halep, number 1 in the world, is playing her first match this year against the Australian Ashleigh Barty (15 WTA), in the 8th-finals of the WTA tournament in Sydney. Barty Tuesday defeated the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko (22 WTA) 6-3, 6-3. Last year, Halep won both her matches against Barty without losing a set, in the Montreal semi-finals and in the 8th-finals of the Cincinnati tournament. Simona, who had to cut her 2018 season short because of a herniated disc, last won a match in August, against Arina Sabalenka of Belarus, in the Cincinnati semi-finals, lost the following 3 matches and withdrew in the fourth.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)