US VISIT - Currently on a formal visit to the US, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis is today visiting the US Congress. According to the Presidential Administration, the Romanian president will meet with the interim Senate Speaker Orrin Hatch and other Senate members. Also today, Klaus Iohannis will hold talks with the group of friendhisp with Romania in the American Congress and with senior members of the House of Representatives. Later today, the Romanian president will attend a Congressional Awards Ceremony. Yesterday, during meetings with representatives of the Romanian community living in the US, Iohannis voiced appreciation for the way in which they managed to successfully integrate into the American society, through hard work, talent and honesty, thus contributing significantly to the growth of the US economy and to strengthening the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. More on this after the news.
PARIS VISIT - This morning in Paris, the Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu met with his French counterpart Edouard Philippe. According to the Radio Romania correspondent, the agenda of talks included bilateral cooperation, an analysis of the political situation in the EU after Brexit and Bucharest's relations with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). That was Edouard Philippe's first meeting with a counterpart since his appointment last month. Traditionally a Francophone and Francophile country, Romania has with France a strategic partnership agreement concluded in 2008. On Wednesday, PM Grindeanu attended in Paris the ceremony marking Romania's joining the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD.
PRAGUE VISIT - The Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall is paying a working visit to Prague on Friday. She will meet with Czech officials with European affairs responsibilities. The agenda of talks includes current issues, with focus on the future of the EU, Brexit developments, Romania's preparation for taking over the presidency of the EU Council, as well as topics such as migration and internal security. Also, the Romanian official will attend the conference on EU security and defense, DESCOP 2017. Also participating in the conference will be, among others, the European Commission President Jean - Claude Juncker, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.
UK ELECTIONS - Early legislative elections are being held in Great Britain today, called by the conservative Prime Minister Theresa May with the aim of consolidating her office in the run up to Brexit negotiations. The police have announced that security in and around voting centers has been tightened. Actually, the main electoral issues, Brexit, public health, welfare or education have been shadowed by the latest terrorist attacks. This is the third national voting held in less than two years. Unless the Conservative Party maintains its parliamentary majority, Theresa May's position is likely to be weakened.
GROWTH - Romania has had the highest economic growth rate of the 28 EU members states, with a GDP growth of 5.5% in the first quarter of 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016, reads the third estimate published today by the Statistical office of the EU - Eurostat. The highest growth rates in January - March 2017 were registered by Romania, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. No drops in the GDP were reported in the EU in the first three months of the year.
THEATRE - Some 500 performances and events will be hosted by the International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, the largest such festival in Romania and one of the most important in Europe. The Director of the Festival Constantin Chiriac has announced that all tickets have already been sold. As a first this year, the festival will have a section of organ concerts held in several Saxon fortified churches and also a special programme, with five performances in English, staged at the Ground Forces Academy in Sibiu, in particular for the foreign and Romanian soldiers participating in the NATO exercises underway at the Cincu shooting ground.
TENNIS - The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, number 4 in the WTA rankings, is today playing against the Czech Karolina Pliskova, ranked 3rd, in the semi-finals of the Roland Garros tournament, the second Grand Slam of the year. So far, the two have played against each other five times, and Simona has won four matches. In the other semifinal, the Estonian Jelena Ostapenko will play against the Swiss Timea Bacsinszky . On Wednesday, in the quarters, Simona defeated the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, after a spectacular com-back, 3-6, 7-6, 6-0. If she qualifies for the final and wins, besides getting her first Grand Slam title, the Romanian will also step up to the first position in the world rankings. Halep played the final in Roland Garros in 2014, but she lost to the Russian Maria Sharapova.