BUDGET The President of Romania Klaus Iohannis Monday signed into law the 2019 social security budget bill. As regards the state budget bill, he asked MPs to reanalyse it thoroughly. The head of state once again criticised the Government led by the Social Democrats. The two-chamber Parliament in Bucharest will re-discuss the 2019 budget bill this week at the request of president Iohannis. The government majority formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats say they won't make any changes to the bill because its current provisions ensure the necessary resources in the important sectors of the economy. The opposition say, however, that the budget cannot come into force in its current version, which is one of stagnation and under-development. Once the bill returns to the president, the latter has to sign it into law. He sent the bill back to Parliament after the Constitutional Court dismissed his objections regarding the way the bill was drawn up. The government say Iohannis' move is a political gesture ahead of the presidential elections later this year.
GOVERNMENT The agenda of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting includes several draft resolutions, including one that concerns a financing contract with the European Investment Bank for the rehabilitation of the healthcare sector and another one concerning the organisation and functioning of the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption. A bill ratifying the agreement signed by Romania and Hungary in October 2018 on the mutual protection of classified information is also on the agenda. Viorica Dăncilă’s Cabinet will also discuss a memorandum on the negotiation of a 177-million euro loan agreement between Romania and the Council of Europe Development Bank for a project aimed at upgrading Romania’s judicial infrastructure.
JUDICIARY The independence of the Romanian judiciary must not be affected, and the fight against corruption must carry on, said the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, on Monday. He added he did not notice any progress since the latest Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report on Romania, and that he would like EC experts and the Government of Romania to discuss the issues that need to be settled. The European official was granted the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the National School of Political and Administrative Studies. In his address on this occasion, Frans Timmermans spoke about the rule of law, which he believes is one of the decisive topics for the future of Europe.
COMMEMORATION The European Day of Remembrance for the victims of terrorism is commemorated every year on March 11, under a European Parliament resolution. The original proposal was September 11, the day of the largest-scale terror attacks in the world (USA, 2001), but the 4 attacks perpetrated in Madrid, in the morning of March 11, 2004, which left behind 192 dead, including 16 Romanians, and nearly 2,000 wounded from 17 countries, prompted the change of date. Fifteen years ago, in Madrid, 4 commuter trains were blown up by members of a Jihadi cell inspired by the Al Qaida terrorist network. Three attackers were caught and sentenced to thousands of years behind bars. This was the most severe terrorist attack in Spain, and it made the country pull out its troops from Iraq.
VOTERS The total number of eligible voters in Romania included in the Electoral Registry on February 28, 2019 was 18,937,258, the Permanent Electoral Authority announced on Monday. At the previous public announcement on the topic, made late last year, the Electoral Registry counted 18,937,058 Romanian voters. The variation comes as a result of changes reported by mayors as regards the number of voters in their localities, and of data imports from the Directorate for Personal Records and Database Management. Of the total number of Romanian voters in the Electoral Registry, 18,266,936 have their declared residence in Romania, and 670,322 abroad.
BOEING Boeing stock opened 11% down on Monday, after China, Indonesia and Ethiopia requested airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, after a second deadly crash in 5 months. If the same level is reported on closing time, this will be the most severe fall for Boeing shares in nearly 2 decades, ending an upward trend that tripled the share value in little over 3 years, to a record-high 446 US dollars last week. A Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines, heading for Nairobi, went down within minutes after take-off in Addis Ababa, on Sunday, and all the 157 passengers died. The same plane model, operated by Lion Air, had crashed off the Indonesian coast in October, killing all the 189 people on board. Both planes were new and crashed just minutes into the flight.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)