DEFENCE – The Supreme Defence Council is to convene in Bucharest on Tuesday. The agenda of the meeting, chaired by President Klaus Iohannis, includes a presentation of the Plan of equipment procurement for the Romanian Army in 2017-2026. The plan provides for the implementation of a commitment made in 2015 by all political parties, with respect to earmarking 2% of the GDP for the defence sector for 10 years, starting in 2017. The latest Defence Council meeting was held on July 4, but at that time the Plan for army equipment procurement was withdrawn from the agenda of the meeting, in order to be adjusted to the politically agreed target of earmarking 2% of the GDP to this sector.
HEALTHCARE – The Romanian Healthcare Minister, Florian Bodog, hopes Parliament will pass the new vaccination law quickly. He also welcomed the decision of Ludovic Orban, president of the National Liberal Party in opposition, to support compulsory vaccination. In turn, PM Mihai Tudose said in an interview on the public radio that the current situation requires the introduction of compulsory vaccination. On Thursday, the Cabinet discussed a draft law on vaccination, laying down responsibilities both for the authorities and healthcare staff, and for parents. The bill is designed to regulate the organisation and funding of vaccination in Romania, as well as to raise awareness on the benefits, safety, quality and possible adverse reactions to immunisation. The bill also provides for a national reserve stock covering at least the annual vaccine needs, with doses valid for at least one and a half years. The bill was drafted after the large number of measles cases and deaths caused by this disease prompted the World Health Organisation to include Romania in the 5 countries that total over 80% of the number of cases reported worldwide.
TRAFFICKING – July 30 was the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, proclaimed by the UN 4 years ago in order to put an end to this crime and protect its victims. Statistics show that millions of people around the world, particularly vulnerable women and girls, are sold every year in modern slavery. The victims are recruited from poverty-striken countries and become subject to various forms of exploitation. This week alone, the authorities in Italy and Spain have found scores of Romanians exploited by their employers in those countries. The Romanian PM Mihai Tudose said the Minister for the Romanians living abroad Andreea Păstârnac would receive increased powers, so as to make sure that no Romanian citizen living abroad would be discriminated against. In this context, Mihai Tudose is to have a meeting in Bucharest on Monday with the Ambassador of Spain to Bucharest, Ramiro Fernandez Bachiller, and with Minister Andreea Păstîrnac.
SECURITY – The security challenges currently facing Romania and NATO member states will be discussed in an event taking place in Bucharest between July 31 and August 5 and entitled 'Defence and Dialogue in Eastern Europe' (DDEE). International experts and Romanian officials will talk about hybrid threats, recent misinformation campaigns and large-scale cyber-attacks. Attending the event organised by Euro Atlantic Diplomacy Society will be around 200 young people from 36 countries.
NATO – A British destroyer and a Turkish frigate are in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta for 2 days. They are part of the standing NATO group which, together with Ferdinand frigate of the Romanian Navy have taken part in joint training sessions and in sea traffic monitoring missions. On board the British destroyer, the commander of the standing NATO maritime group James Borley said the Alliance has a constant presence at the Black Sea because some riparian countries are also members of the Organisation.
TERRORIST PLOT – The Australian security forces have foiled a presumably Islamist terror plan to detonate a bomb targeting an airplane, and four individuals have been arrested, PM Malcolm Turnbull has announced, according to AFP. He added that security was tightened in Australian airports. A total of 12 terrorist plots have been foiled in Australia and some 60 people have been sent to court since the alert level was raised in September 2014. Australia is taking part in the US-led international coalition conducting air raids against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria since the summer of 2014.
SPORTS - Romania won 8 medals, 5 silver and 3 bronze, at the 2017 summer edition of the European Youth Olympics Festival, which came to an end on Saturday in Gyor (Hungary). On the last day of the competition the Romanian athletes won 3 more silver medals. The women’s handball team lost the final to the host team, Hungary, 30-23, the tennis player Nicholas David Ionel was defeated in the final by the Italian Lorenzo Rottoli, and athlete Cristian Gabriel Voicu won the silver in the 800 m race. Romania’s delegation in this edition of the Festival was made up of 77 athletes, competing in athletics, cycling, gymnastics, handball, swimming, judo, rowing and tennis.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)