Justice minister Ana Birchall attends JHA Council meeting, Electric Castle 2019 under way in Bontida
Helsinki – The Romanian justice minister Ana Birchall is participating on Thursday and Friday in the informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council hosted by Helsinki, where the participants will discuss the consolidation of the rule of law. This is the first meeting under the Finish presidency of the Council of the EU. Croatia is next at the helm of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020. The agenda of the justice section includes a number of issues of interest for the consolidation of the EU’s justice, freedom and security areas. The participants will tackle the consolidation of the rule of law, the independence, quality and efficiency of the national justice systems and the importance of a fair trial as well as aspects related to detention and alternatives to it in the context of judicial cooperation over criminal matters. During a working lunch, the ministers will also talk about European civil justice in a multilateral context. On the sidelines of the informal meeting, Ana Birchall will also meet with some of her counterparts for the EU member states.
Electric Castle - Thousands of fans attended the opening of the 7th edition of the 2019 Electric Castle festival in Bonţida, near Cluj Napoca in northwestern Romania, on Wednesday evening. Performing were such artists as Elder Brook, Grandmaster Flash, Dr Big and Made from Scratch. The festival is organized on the premises of the Banffy Castle, a heritage monument dating to the 15th century. The organizers have tried to present a great variety of musical genres. The festival area covers 300 thousand sq m, including 10 stages for musicians, a food area and thousands of places in the festival’s camping site. Performing at the Electric Castle 2019 is also Florence and The Machine, one of the most creative indie bands of the past decade, whose leader is singer, songwriter and founder Florence Welch. Other bands performing in the festival are the rock band Limp Bizkit that have 3 nominations for the Grammy awards and more than 40 million albums sold, Jared Leto, Bring Me The Horizon, Chvrches, Giggs, Lemaitre, Mono, Tommy Cash, Handsome Furs and Viagra Boys.
Football – The return matches of the first preliminary round of the Europe League, in which 3 Romanian football teams are playing, have been scheduled for Thursday. Vice champions FCSB will play an away match against Milsami Orhei of the Republic of Moldova, after they defeated them 2-0 on home turf and CSU Craiova will play at home against the Azeri FK Sabail whom they defeated 3-2 in the away match. The winner of Romania’s Cup Viitorul Constanta will play directly in the 2nd preliminary round against the Belgian team FC Antwerp trained by the former Romanian international footballer Ladislau Boloni. On Wednesday Romania’s champions CFR Cluj qualified to the 2nd preliminary round of the Champions League after defeating on home ground the Kazakh eleven FC Astana 3-1 in the 2nd leg of the 1st preliminary round, after being defeated 0-1 last week in the away match.
Exercise – Romania is participating alongside 11 NATO members in the Sea Breeze 2019 international military exercise that is unfolding until Sunday in Bulgaria’s territorial waters in the Black Sea. Over 2 thousand military from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, the US and Turkey are participating in the drill. The main objective is to boost interoperability and interaction between the naval forces of the participating countries. The exercise will include a simulation of a maritime security operation in case of a crisis. 26 combatant and auxiliary ships, 10 planes and helicopters are involved in the exercise alongside Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and the Standing Mine Counter measures Force as well as representatives of various institutions, NGOS and state owned organizations.
Income distribution – Romania is among the EU states with the biggest income inequalities, being outrun only by Bulgaria, Lithuania and Spain, show data published on Thursday by Eurostat, based on information gathered in 2017. Inequalities were calculated as a ratio between the income of the top 20% of the population (with the highest income) of a country and the income of the bottom 20%, based on the equivalent available income. In 2017, in the EU, this ratio was 5.2. Of the member states, the Czech Republic and Slovenia reported in 2017 the lowest income inequality ratio 3.4, Finland reported 3.5, Slovakia 3.5 and Belgium 3.8. The countries with the highest income inequality ratio were Greece 6.1, Latvia 6.3, Romania 6.5, Spain 6.6, Lithuania 7.3 and Bulgaria 8.2. The way in which income and assets are distributed in a society is indicative of the extent to which individuals have equal access to goods and services produce within a national economy. (translation by L. Simion)