Civil servants on strike on Tuesday; first Zika infection case reported in Romania
VISIT – The PM of Romania, Dacian Cioloş, attended on Tuesday in Hanoi the opening of a Romanian-Vietnamese business forum. He presented to Vietnamese business people Romania’s main economic and geostrategic advantages and pleaded for stronger economic cooperation, relying on 66 years of good bilateral relations. PM Cioloş also spoke about the Romanian authorities’ special interest in developing trade with non-European countries with high potential, particularly south-east Asian states. In the first visit by a Romanian Prime Minister to that country in 21 years, Dacian Cioloş met with his counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Later this week, Ciolos will attend the 11th Europe-Asia Summit, held in Mongolia’s capital city Ulan Bator.
STRIKE – Some 30,000 employees of the Romanian local public administration went on a one-day strike on Tuesday. Unionists were angered by the fact that the agreement they were scheduled to sign with the Government had been drawn up without including a minimum 25% salary increase and holiday vouchers, as agreed in previous negotiations. Civil servants also claim to be the poorest paid and the most discriminated against category in the public sector, with most of them earning close to the minimum national wage of 277 euros.
ZIKA - Romania reported on Tuesday its first Zika virus infection case. A 27 year-old woman who spent a vacation in Martinique was identified with the illness while in hospital. The Health Ministry specified that the case was isolated, with minimal risk of spreading. The virus was identified in 1947 in Uganda, and is spread mainly by mosquitoes. It is able to produce congenital conditions in babies born of infected mothers. At present, no vaccine is available to counteract the virus, which so far has spread in South and Central America mainly.
POLITICS – After two weeks of negotiations, the People’s Movement Party headed by Romania’s former right-wing president Traian Băsescu and the National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) agreed to merge. Traian Băsescu made the announcement on Tuesday, and added that the new party will keep the name and logo of the People’s Movement Party. The merger of UNPR into the People’s Movement Party is the de facto dissolution of this small party that failed to set up any alliances with the Liberals and Social-Democrats ahead of this autumn’s parliamentary election. The founder of UNPR, former interior minister and deputy PM Gabriel Oprea, withdrew from the party after he was prosecuted in two corruption-related cases.
RAIL CRASH – Romania’s consular office in Catania took note of the railway accident in the south of Italy and contacted the Italian authorities to establish whether there were any Romanian citizens among the victims, the Foreign Ministry has announced. Scores of people died or were injured on Tuesday after two passenger trains collided in one of the worst such accidents in Italy in years. According to the Radio Romania correspondent in Italy, around 5,700 Romanians currently live on the Adriatic coast near Bari, where the accident took place.
BRITAIN – The outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday chaired the last meeting of the British Cabinet before handing over on Wednesday to Home Secretary, Theresa May, who will implement the British citizens’ decision to leave the European Union. Theresa May will be in charge with triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which regulates the procedure for member countries to leave the EU and sets a 2-year deadline for completing the separation. Theresa May will be the second woman nominated as Britain’s Prime Minister, after Margaret Thatcher.