Coronavirus and legislation
During a week that saw daily contamination numbers topple records one after the other, and the total number of COVID infections in Romania runs above 40,000, a new law of quarantine and isolation came into effect. The bill was introduced by the executive, and was heavily modified by Parliament, after the Constitutional Court had decide that these measures cannot be imposed based on ministerial order alone, even in cases of coronavirus infections. According to the new law, the medical authorities decide to hospitalize the infected, initially for 48 hours, interval in which their state of health gets evaluated. After that, physicians may decide to prolong the hospital stay, or, if the risk is deemed low enough, the patient may be released for home care. The patient has the option of contesting isolation measures, and is able to take their case to court. The same procedure applies to people under home quarantine, coming from high-risk areas, or who have come into contact with an infected person. The law also provides for physicians or nurses to be able to be transferred to hospitals that have a shortage of staff, but only for a maximum of 30 days, with overtime pay being provided. The law also provides the conditions for local or area quarantine, for communities deemed in high danger of virus spread.
The relaunch summit
The extraordinary session of the European Council scheduled scheduled to take place for only two days late last week ended up running until Tuesday morning, with the signing of an agreement that has been called historic. The leaders of the 27 member countries of the EU convened on a plan to relaunch the union's economy worth 750 billion Euro, added to the multi-annual budget for the 2021-2027 period, which amounts to a thousand billion. More than half of the additional budgeting will consist of grants for the countries worst affected by the health crisis, while 360 billion will be available as low interest loans. At the end of the longest summit after Romania's EU admission 13 years ago, President Klaus Iohannis said that Romania was allocated almost 80 billion Euros, to be used for building hospitals, schools, and modernizing infrastructure. Back in Bucharest, he warned that the authorities have to move quickly, because by October he has to submit to the EC the national plan for relaunching and consolidating the economy. At the same time, however, the European Parliament warned in a resolution passed on Thursday that it would not approve the multi-annual budget of the union if it is not improved, pointing to slashes in funding to certain areas. The union's parliament has to approve the multi-annual financial framework for the 2021-2027 period by the end of this year.
European funding discussed in Bucharest
The topic of accessing European funds was discussed Wednesday night in the government meeting that day, with an agenda dominated by the legislation necessary for implementing the program for the economic relaunching of the country. The executive also discussed grants for SMEs and small businesses, to be used for working capital and investments . Also being financed are LLCs with no employees, self-employed single workers, cultural NGOs, and family physicians that care for COVID patients. Another law aimed at SMEs provides for loans to allow them to lease equipment and machinery.
NATO in Romania
The Cincu Military Firing Range hosted on Thursday the ceremony for the creation of the Southeastern Multinational Command Corps, attended by President Klaus Iohannis, Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca, and Chief of the General Staff Daniel Petrescu. The corps was created on NATO's eastern flank to help coordinate forces in the area, as explained for Radio Romania by reserve General Alexandru Grumaz, expert in security strategies. This is a military group gathering together over 400 high-ranking officers from NATO countries, and will become operational in the autumn of 2021, headquartered in Sibiu, central Romania. Once it becomes operational, it would coordinate the entire NATO flank in Southeastern Europe.
Football in the pandemic
Bucharest based team FCSB won the Cup of Romania on Wednesday, playing on neutral ground in Ploiesti against Sepsi OSK from Sfantu Gheorghe, beating them 1-0. This secures FCSBs presence in the Europa League preliminaries, for which the other team that qualified is FC Botosani. The domestic championship is also close to the end, after being interrupted in March by the pandemic. In the lead is CSU Craiova, followed by current champions CFR Cluj. After the competition resumes, all matches in Romania will be played without supporters in the stands.