Abuse - The Romanian authorities have announced checks at children's homes, care homes for the elderly and the people with disabilities around the country. The prime minister Marcel Ciolacu said all their permits would be analyzed again. He also called for those guilty of abuse to be punished and underlined that the social care system needs to be changed. His statement comes after the organized crime body began an investigation at three social care centers in Voluntari and Afumaţi near Bucharest for the inhumane treatment to which residents were subjected by the staff.
Healthcare - The employees of the health insurance houses around Romania on Monday stopped working for two hours in protest against their low salaries compared to their responsibilities and amount of work and against the drastic cuts in personnel nationwide. One of their trade union leaders said employees are no longer motivated to work, are flooded with assignments and salaries haven't increased since 2017. The national healthcare system ensures treatment for two million seriously ill people and the budget managed by the National Health Insurance House amounts to almost 11 million Euros, the largest in the public system in Romania. Despite this, 1,200 jobs have been cut in this sector in the last two years.
Parliament – Romania’s Parliament met Monday in an extraordinary session to declare the position of director of the Romanian Intelligence Service - SRI vacant. The procedure is necessary after the head of the institution, Eduard Hellvig, resigned at the beginning of last week. He spent eight years at the head of the Service, during which he has achieved his goals, as he believes. Currently, the leadership of the SRI is ensured by Hellvig’s first deputy, general Răzvan Ionescu. On 27 January 2015, Hellvig replaced George Maior, who resigned in turn. The Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service is appointed by the President of Romania, approved by the control committees in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and voted in Parliament in a plenary session.
Summit – Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, will participate, on Tuesday and Wednesday, in the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. He will reiterate his support for Ukraine, including in relation to Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance, as well as for the most vulnerable partners, especially the Republic of Moldova. Ukraine is, actually, the main topic on the agenda of the meeting in Vilnius. The alliance will offer additional commitments, both at political and practical levels. Also, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that he expected most of the allies to announce a commitment to increase defense budgets to over 2% of the GDP starting in 2024. Already 11 member states have fulfilled the commitment this year, including Romania. (....) On Monday, the Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conditioned Sweden's entry into NATO on the reopening of negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU. He continues to criticize Sweden for its alleged leniency towards the Kurdish militants who have taken refuge on its territory. Turkey is the last NATO country, along with Hungary, to oppose Sweden's accession, despite measures taken by the Scandinavian country, including a reform of its Constitution and the adoption of a new anti-terrorism law. Also on Monday, the US President, Joe Biden, paid a short visit to London before arriving in Vilnius. The American leader met with King Charles III and the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Environment – The Romanian environment minister Mircea Fechet is attending an informal meeting of the EU environment ministers hosted by Valladolid, in Spain. The European Commission says the Union must go ahead with the initiatives to improve air quality and provide more protection for citizens and the environment. Talks focus on industry transformation by using latest technologies and stimulating innovation to achieve safe and sustainable chemical substances, as well as on improving water management, further treatment of residual waters, reducing pollution and promoting a circular economy. (CM, LS)