EUROPEAN AFFAIRS - The Romanian minister delegate for European Affairs, George Ciamba, took part in Brussels in the meeting of the General Affairs Council presided for the first time by Romania. Bucharest presented on that occasion the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The agenda of the meeting also included Brexit, the new 2021-2027 multi-annual financial framework, as well as measures to fight online disinformation, in the context of the elections for the European Parliament due in May. The visit by the College of European Commissioners to Bucharest on January 10th and 11th, marks the official launch of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in Bucharest, minister Ciamba added. The 4 pillars of the Romanian presidency are “Europe of convergence”, “A safer Europe”, “Europe as a stronger global actor” and “Europe of common values”.
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.
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.
ANTI-CORRUPTION - The Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate in Romania, DNA, Călin Nistor, will be at the helm of the anti-corruption agency after Anca Jurma said she no longer wanted an extension of her mandate as interim Chief Prosecutor. Romania’s Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazăr, on Tuesday attended a meeting of the DNA leadership and decided to no longer nominate an interim chief-prosecutor. According to internal regulations, the DNA leadership can be held, by the deputy chief prosecutors, Călin Nistor and Marius Iacob, in this order, Augustin Lazăr underlined. The position of DNA Chief Prosecutor has become vacant after Laura Codruţa Kovesi was removed from office under a decree issued on July 9 by President Klaus Iohannis, who enforced a ruling issued by the Constitutional Court. Later, the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader nominated Adina Florea for the position of DNA Chief Prosecutor, but the Romanian President rejected the proposal. In another move, Laura Codruta Kovesi has announced that in December she challenged the decision which led to her dismissal from office at the European Court of Human Rights, on grounds of human rights violations.
MIGRATION - Romania, alongside other EU member states, has expressed its availability, in principle, to take over 5 migrants, the Romanian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday. According to the ministry, the decision is a gesture of solidarity made by Romania, which is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which wants to thus launch a positive signal of encouragement for other EU member states to follow suit, given the extremely fragile humanitarian situation that 49 migrants are in. They are on board two ships off the Maltese coast and are not allowed to moor in any port. Over the past few days, 248 other migrants from various North African countries have reached Malta, the Romanian Foreign Ministry reports. Therefore, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union advocates for boosting cooperation with the origin and transit African countries in an effort to manage the issue of illegal migration at the source and to consolidate development policies in relation to the African countries, leading to a sustainable response to this phenomenon.
FINANCIAL - The Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mugur Isărescu, told a press conference on Tuesday that the government’s emergency ordinance which brings new taxes on banks hadn’t been discussed by the government with either representatives of the banking sector or of the central bank. Isarescu also said it is not clear for the central bank how this tax will be applied and added the central bank will request that this emergency ordinance be discussed in the National Committee for Macroprudential Oversight, because it has a systemic impact. The ordinance, adopted in December provides, among others, for the taxation of financial-banking institutions in accordance with the evolution of the ROBOR index.