A roundup of domestic and international news.
ANTHEM – The National Anthem Day will be celebrated in Romania on Wednesday, through events held in a number of cities and garrisons. A public ceremony will be held in the Flag Square in Bucharest, with the strict observance of the restrictive measures in place. The Defense Ministry will stage a military and religious ceremony. Celebrated on July 29, the National Anthem Day was established in 1998. The current anthem of Romania, considered a national symbol and entitled "Wake up, Romanians!", was chosen after the collapse of the communist regime in December 1989. The origin of the anthem is a patriotic poem by Andrei Muresanu published in 1848, while the melody was collected by Anton Pann.
MEETING - Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu who on Tuesday received the new Polish Ambassador to Bucharest, Maciej Lang, highlighted the need to boost bilateral trade and investment. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the two officials approached the issue of security and regional cooperation, given the countries’ common interests and similar approach, with an emphasis on supporting the trans-Atlantic ties and the consolidation of NATO’s eastern border, that also benefits mutual military presence on the two country’s territories. Ambassador Lang hailed the very good ties between the two countries and said that the goal of his mandate was to boost Romanian-Polish cooperation in the field of security, defense as well as in other sectors, such as energy.
DEFICIT - Romania’s budget deficit stands at 4.17% of the GDP in the first six months of the year, according to data made public on Wednesday by the Finance Ministry. Most of the deficit is generated by amounts left in the business sector through the fiscal facilities and exceptional expenditure adopted to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first five months of the year the budget deficit stood at 3.59% of the GDP, while in the first half of 2019 it accounted for 1.94% of the GDP.
PARLIAMENT - The speakers of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, Robert Cazanciuc and Marcel Ciolacu, respectively, have sent a letter to PM Ludovic Orban asking him to present Parliament with a report on the measures considered by the Government in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus until the local elections due on September 27 and the start of the new school year on September 14. Government officials said it is still too early to discuss the postponement of the local elections. As for the new school year, the authorities are looking at several scenarios, including the rotation of students between face-to-face and online classes.
COVID-19 - In Romania, the number of new COVID-19 cases has been steadily over 1,000 per day for a week. The total number of cases is over 47,000, with 1,151 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, some 26,000 patients recovered and a total death toll of 2,239. Out of around 5,479 Romanian nationals who have tested positive abroad, 123 died. Local lockdown has been introduced in the past few days in several localities in Romania, and authorities are considering additional measures to contain the disease. Meanwhile, a growing number of countries are introducing restrictions for Romanian citizens. The Republic of Moldova, Cyprus, Finland and Lithuania have closed their borders to Romanian tourists. Travellers arriving in Greece from Romania are required to produce a negative Covid-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours prior. The measure is in place until August 4. Other countries, including Italy, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Estonia and Latvia have introduced 14-day isolation requirements for travellers from Romania, the Netherlands recommends self-isolation, while Hungary, Belgium and France recommend testing.
UNIONS - Romania’s PM Ludovic Orban and health minister Nelu Tătaru on Tuesday met with representatives of Sanitas and Solidaritatea Sanitară trade union federations, to discuss the problems facing healthcare staff during the pandemic. Unionists want better working conditions, shorter working hours and longer paid leaves, especially in intensive care wards, which experience staff shortages. The PM explained that some of the problems can be solved by posting healthcare staff from other hospitals, and said one of the issues discussed with the unions was that of bonuses to be paid to certain categories of healthcare personnel. (Translated by Elena Enache)