A roundup of local and international news.
Romania supports Bulgaria's efforts to combat illegal migration, said Romania's prime minister Dacian Ciolos on Wednesday during talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov. The two officials also said the gas Danube pipeline undercrossing linking the two countries may be finished in a few months. Ciolos and Borissov met on the sidelines of a meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process held in Sofia and also discussed their countries' cooperation within NATO, the preparation of the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw and the harmonisation of the two countries' positions to support the consolidation of the Alliance's eastern flank. Hosted by Sofia, which has held the organisation's presidency, the meeting was held on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the South-East European Cooperation Process, a regional cooperation body that includes 12 countries. The main topics on its agenda were regional developments and the European future of the states in the Western Balkans.
Almost 10,000 trade union members from the education sector took part in a rally in Bucharest to protest against the salary scheme in education. They demand the allocation of 6% of the GDP to education in keeping with the education law. They say this would allow, among others, for an increase in school children and students allowance, the reimbursement of commuting costs and purchasing proper equipment for schools. Trade unions took to the streets after several rounds of talks with the government failed. Employment minister Dragos Paslaru said the government did not have the funds to increase salaries in the education sector. He is planning to hold one more round of talks with the trade unions before the government issues its emergency order on the amendment of public sector salaries. A delegation of the trade unions also had talks with representatives of the president's office on Wednesday.
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday attended the activities carried out under the NATO Steadfast Cobalt 2016 exercise under way in Bucharest until June 3rd. Iohannis highlighted the complexity of this exercise aimed at testing and assessing the interoperability of the allied communications and information systems and emphasised the authorities' efforts to strengthen Romania's role as a provider of security and stability on NATO's eastern flank. According to the defence ministry in Bucharest, Cobalt 2016 is the largest and most complex NATO exercise held in Romania's recent history aimed at testing the interoperability of command, communications, IT, intelligence, surveillance and recognisance systems. More than 1,000 military from 30 NATO units and structures are taking part in the exercise, which began on the 22nd of May.
Over 1,700 people have been rescued from drowning in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas by ships belonging to the Romanian Border Police since the start of 2016, the General Border Police Inspectorate has announced. Representatives of the aforementioned institution say that late last week, the Romanian ship Stefan cel Mare was detached to the Aegean Sea. For a month and a half, during Operation Poseidon Rapid Intervention, the Romanian border policemen are participating in surveillance, control, rescue and search missions on the EU's external borders, alongside other EU member states. This is the second international mission carried out by the Stefan cel Mare ship. The first ended in April in Italy, where for three months, the Romanian border policemen rescued 990 people from drowning in the Mediterranean.
The European Football Championship due between June 10 and July 10 in France might be a target of attacks by Islamist militants, the US has warned. It is estimated that over one million football fans will attend the Championships, and according to the US Department of State, they might be considered targets by terrorists. A state of emergency has already been in place in France in the wake of last year's terror attacks in Paris that left 130 dead and scores injured. In March this year, 32 people died in Belgium in two suicide bombings that targeted the Brussels airport and a metro station.
Switzerland opened on Wednesday the world's longest tunnel of 57 km, after works that lasted almost two decades. Attending the inauguration were several European leaders, including German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president Francois Hollande. The Gotthard tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link between northern and southern Europe, through the Swiss the Alps. Experts say the tunnel will revolutionise transport in Europe. The project amounted to more than 12 billion dollars. 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will cross the tunnel daily.
Over 200 publishing houses are bringing their latest titles to the 11th edition of the Bookfest International Book Fair taking place in Bucharest between June 1 and 5. This year's guest country is Israel. Its participation, held under the motto Never Stop Dreaming, consists of 30 different events, during which Romanian readers will have the chance to meet prominent names in Israeli literature, such as Zeruya Shalev, Fania Oz-Salzberger, Meir Shalev and Dror Mishani.
Workshops, meetings with professionals in the field, film screenings, special events and concerts are some of the highlights of the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj Napoca, western Romania. Until June 5, debut films, thrillers and love stories from the far corners of the world try to impress the jury of the festival. The 12 films which are running for the Transylvania Trophy come from 16 countries in Europe and Australia, and, as a first, also from the Republic of Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation. The only Romanian film in competition at TIFF is Bogdan Mirica's Dogs, the winner of the critics' prize in Cannes this year. The TIFF trophy will be granted by the famous Italian actress Sophia Loren.
The Romanian-Indian pair Florin Mergea and Rohan Bopanna lost to the third seed Croatian-Brazilian pair Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in two sets on Wednesday in the Roland Garros quarterfinals. This was Mergea and Bopanna's best French Open result. Last year, they were eliminated in the fourth round. In the women's singles, Romania's Simona Halep was defeated by Australia's Samantha Stosur in the fourth round. (Translated by: C. Mateescu & D. Vijeu)