The highlights of the week.
Changes in election legislation
Romania will apply new legislation that extends voting to midnight not only in the diaspora, but also at home, as long as voters are present at the polls. The decision was made in the Chamber of Deputies, the decision making body in election legislation. Romanian citizens abroad have as much as three days for early or absentee voting. Early voting will be held on Friday between noon and 9 PM, and on Saturday and Sunday between 7 AM and 9 PM, with the possibility of extending to midnight if need be. Compared to the form passed by the Senate, deputies have proposed an amendment to the bill introduced by the Permanent Election Authority which states that exit polls can only be presented after midnight on the last day of voting. Compared to present legislation, the document specifies that a single voter can opt for more than one candidate. The Permanent Election Authority announced the first round of presidential elections may be held on November 10, with a possible second on the 24th.
Romania wraps up its presidency of the Council of the European Union
Romanian PM Viorica Dancila submitted the rundown of Romania's rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, held for the first time in the first half of this year. According to the prime minister, this was a successful term, in which Romania proved it is strongly committed to European values, acting for consolidating the European project, in service of a union of citizens and their freedoms. Viorica Dancila recalled that the presidency had a complex and dynamic context, with European Parliament elections, but also during Brexit, in a fast changing international environment. She also added that Romania lived up to its role, proving it is a responsible member of the EU, concerned with advancing the European agenda on behalf of its citizens. 90 files were finalized during Romania's turn at the presidency, among them the one on the Banking Union, improving labor conditions and social assistance, improving the Single Market, lowering carbon emissions in transportation, and the natural gas directive. One other notable achievement is the European Summit held in Sibiu on May 9, on Europe Day.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis attended the summit to designate future EU leaders
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis attended in Brussels the summit of EU leaders gathering to propose nominees to the four highest positions in the Union. On Wednesday, Italian Socialist David Sassoli was elected speaker of the European Parliament for the next two and a half years. European leaders convened that this position should be shared between the popular and the socialist group for two and a half years each. The compromise provides that two women and two men will take over the top EU leadership positions. The European Commission presidency goes to German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a member of the Christian Democratic Union, representing the European Popular Party. The top position at the European Central Bank will be held by center-right Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, while the Spanish Foreign Minister, Socialist Josep Borrell, will be the head of foreign policy. The Belgian Prime Minister, Liberal Charles Michel will be the head of the European Council.
Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu pays her first visit to Bucharest
On Tuesday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that he is the most constant and committed supporter of the Republic of Moldova. He made the statement during the talks he held in Bucharest with the new premier of Moldova, Maia Sandu. The president said that Bucharest will work to release financial assistance from the EU to her country. PM Sandu said that her government wants to work on joint projects with Romania, and that the European agenda is the guiding line for the relationship with Bucharest. Also on Tuesday, Maia Sandu met her counterpart Viorica Dancila, along with the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu. The pro-European head of the Moldovan government decided to make her first official visit to Bucharest, after previously announcing that she would go to Brussels.
Mugur Isarescu is appointed for a new term as head of the Romanian National Bank
The Romanian Parliament met in joint session on Wednesday and endorsed the Romanian National Bank Board of Administrators, led once again by Governor Mugur Isarescu, who has been holding the position since 1990. The National Bank will continue to pursue a prudent and responsible policy, with the long term aim of joining the Eurozone, said Isarescu at the hearings held on Tuesday. He added that Romania has to be prepared before stepping in the monetary union, considering the differences in levels of development between various areas of the country. The board has nine members appointed by Parliament for five year terms, with the possibility of extension.
(Translated by Calin Cotoiu)