France marked the National Day, Venice Commission issues preliminary report on the modifications to the justice laws in Romania
France – The French ambassador to Romania, Mrs. Michele Ramis, said Saturday at the reception given on the occasion of France’s National Day that France needed a Europe that protects citizens, and Romania is a visible partner in this project. Mrs. Ramis recalled that 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the two countries’ strategic partnership. The French official hailed the Romanian people’s European spirit and their resilience in front of nationalism and euro-skepticism. Michele Ramis talked about the success of the Romanian presidency, next year, in the direction of a Europe of convergence, protective and stronger in the world, based on common values. Attending the reception at the French embassy, the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that at end of November he would open, in Paris, together with the French President Emmanuel Macron, the season France-Romania. President Iohannis expressed conviction that, in the spirit of their historic fraternity, Romania and France will contribute to the success of re-launching the project of a stronger Union. In another development, trade exchanges between France and Romania increased by 4.4% in 2017 as compared to 2016, reaching 7.8 billion Euros, showed the French Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Romania. There are almost 3 thousand French companies operating in Romania, with a total of direct investments of 4.2 billion Euros.
Venice Commission – The Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, believes that the preliminary opinion of the Venice Commission related to the changes made to the justice laws is an extremely worrying signal regarding the independence of the judiciary and calls on Parliament not to ignore these recommendations. According to the Presidential Administration, the Venice Commission confirms the points of view expressed by civil society in Romania, by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, by judges and prosecutors as well as by the Romanian president, including through notifications related to the unconstitutional character of these modifications and the requests for re-examination of these laws. The Venice Commission recommends the Romanian authorities to reconsider the modifications to the justice laws mainly in relation to the appointment and dismissal of chief prosecutors of the main prosecutors’ offices. According to these modifications, the Romanian president can refuse the appointment made by the justice minister only once and providing solid arguments. The European experts also recommend the authorities to give up the scheme for the early retirement of magistrates which would entail a massive depopulation of courts and also to give up the idea of setting up a special section for investigating magistrates. The opposition National Liberal Party has called on the Constitutional Court to take note of the preliminary report on the justice laws. Social Democrat MP Eugen Nicolicea, the president of the legal commission in the Chamber of Deputies, claims the Venice Commission’s preliminary report runs counter to a previous report related to European standards regarding the independence of the judiciary.
Football - Belgium defeated England, Saturday, 2-0, in the third-place playoff of the World Football Championship hosted by Russia, thus obtaining the bronze. Belgium already played in a third-place playoff at the 1986 World Cup, when it was defeated by France. A world champion in 1966 England fought for bronze in 1990 but it was defeated by Italy. Sunday will see the final that will pit France against Croatia for which qualification to the final is a premier. France won the world title in 1998, when it organized the final tournament, and Croatia won the bronze.
Fitch Ratings – The Fitch Rating agency has confirmed the ratings for Bucharest’s long term credits in hard currency and local currency at BBB-stable, shows a communiqué of the rating agency. Fitch ratings has also confirmed the F3 rating for currency on short term. The confirmation of the ratings reflects Bucharest’s robust operational performance, the moderate level of debt in relation to its operational balance and current revenues. The rating also includes the solid taxation base, due to Bucharest’s welfare level, which is substantially higher than the national average. The negative side of it is that the rating reflects the dependence of operational revenues on economic cycles and the uncertainties related to contingent debt, shows the Fitch Ratings. Following the 2016 local elections, an ambitious and modern plan for investments was adopted, with the leftist government willing to further develop the city infrastructure, mainly the road infrastructure, Fitch Ratings reports.
Kidnapping – The Romanian Foreign Ministry on Saturday activated a crisis cell to deal with the situation of the Romanian citizen who, according to the international press, ws abducted in Libya. According to a foreign ministry communiqué, the crisis cell started the urgent verification to assess the situation. The Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said that the top priority was to verify whether a Romanian citizen was indeed taken hostage, what his situation was and what group is involved in the kidnapping. The case is being managed by the Romanian Embassy to Libya relocated in Tunis. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry officials the maximum alert level was set up for Libya in 2015. According to international news agencies at least two people, among whom a Romanian engineer, were abducted Saturday by an armed group in an attack on an oilfield in the southwest of Libya.
Pollution – Between 2015-2016 Romania, Poland, Spain and Great Britain reported the biggest reduction of sulfur oxides emissions, a high reduction being operated in the energy sector, shows a report of the European Environment Agency. Nevertheless Romania still reports the 6th highest level of sulfur oxides emissions in the EU, after the levels reported by Poland, Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany. Also Romania reports the 11th highest level of NOx nitrogen oxides emissions, which is on a downward trend, oxides that contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain. (news translated and updated by L. Simion)