ROMANIA-US RELATIONS – The Romanian Government on Tuesday announced the setup of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the implementation of results obtained under the Strategic Partnership with the USA and other Romanian-US bilateral projects. According to a Government release, the Committee will be coordinated by Ana Birchall and will compile the efforts of the ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Finance and the Economy. The committee will convene on a quarterly basis or in case of emergency with the purpose of monitoring the status of implementing the desired projects.
DEFENSE - Romania's President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday received NATO
Defense Ministers from the alliance's eastern flank. The President expressed confidence
the NATO Summit of July in Brussels will contribute to adapting NATO to current
security challenges and threats. Previously, Defense Minister Mihai Fifor said on
the sidelines of the Bucharest Initiative that states on NATO's Eastern flank
share a series of concerns, from the prospect of approaching security risks and
threats. Participants agreed closer cooperation is needed to consolidate NATO's
eastern flank. Attending were Defense Ministers from nine former communist
states, including Romania, NATO officials and representatives of the US
Department of Defense. The Initiative was launched in 2014 as a platform for
stepping up cooperation between NATO allies.
INFLATION – The Romanian National Institute of Statistics put out inflation figures recently. According to official data, the annual rate of inflation in the country went up to 4.7% from 4.3% in January. The increase is believed to be due to increases in the price of food, consumer products and services. Food products went up in price by 3.7% compared to February, while consumer products went up in price by 6.27%. Services went up in cost by 3% compared to last year. Last month, the Romanian National Bank adjusted its forecast for inflation as by the end of the year from 3.2% to 3.5%.
HEALTHCARE – Trade unions in the healthcare sector on Tuesday held talks with Line Minister Sorina Pintea, demanding a 25% increase of the base salary for the medical staff and the elimination of the 30% ceiling for bonuses. After the meeting unionists confirmed protests would continue next week. On Wednesday a public debate on bonus regulations will be held in Bucharest. Minister Pintea expressed hope a solution will be found to avoid the situation from escalating.
ACQUITTAL – Former head of the Romanian Financial Administration Authority Sorin Blejnar on Tuesday was acquitted in a case where he was accused of supporting a criminal group and tax evasion. Prosecutors claim that in 2010 oil products were traded illegally, which made the state incur losses worth €4.5 million. The products were sold by a crime group to Romanian, Hungarian and Italian citizens. Prosecutors say the crime group enjoyed the support of several decision-makers, including the Financial Administration Authority. Blejnar is currently subject to several pending investigation.
FLU – The flu has killed 99 people in Romania this season according to the latest toll published by the National Centre for the Supervision and Control of Communicable Diseases. The number of respiratory infections has also gone up last week to over 140,000 cases, 67% more than the same period last year. Healthcare Minister Sorina Pintea says Romania is not faced with a flu epidemic.
WHITE HOUSE – US President Donald Trump on Tuesday replaced Rex Tillerson at the helm of the State Department with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The White House leader said the replacement follows disagreements with Tillerson over Iran’s nuclear programme and he wanted to appoint a new team ahead of historic negotiations with North Korea. Replacing Pompeo at the helm of the CIA will be Gina Haspel, the CIA Deputy Director, thus becoming the first woman to hold this position.
(Translated by V. Palcu)