VISIT - Romanian PM Viorica Dancila is paying a formal visit to Prague on Friday, at the invitation of her Czech counterpart Andrej Babis. According to a communiqué issued by the Romanian Government, the visit is aimed at re-launching the Romanian - Czech dialogue, especially at top level. The special relations between the two countries have been built on historical landmarks and strengthened by the status of EU member that the two countries share, the communiqué also reads. The visit programme includes meetings with high-ranking officials in the Czech republic, including PM Andrej Babis, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondracek and the Senate president Jaroslav Kubera.
EU COUNCIL - On March 21st and 22nd, the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis will attend the EU Council meeting in Brussels, the Presidential Administration announced on Thursday. The agenda of the meeting includes topics regarding competitiveness, combating climate change, the EU's foreign relations and also aspects concerning the fight against disinformation, against the background of the upcoming elections for the European Parliament this May. The European leaders will discuss, in the EU 27 format, the UK's leaving the EU. On March 21st, the Romanian president will also attend the annual transatlantic conference organized by AmChamEU. He will stress the importance of transatlantic cooperation in promoting freedom and prosperity on the two continents.
SUMMIT - Bucharest is hosting these days the 8th European Summit of the Regions and Cities. National, local and regional leaders are discussing the future of the EU and means of involving citizens more in the European project. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has stated that the cohesion policy must be carried on and strengthened in the next programming period, taking into account its role in bridging gaps between regions and in establishing solid ties between communities. The president of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Keinz Lambertz, has pleaded for strengthening the EU's cohesion policy too. He has stressed the fact that the EU is facing major challenges and that is why the declaration that is to be adopted by the European region and city leaders on Friday, regarding the vision of the future of the EU, is extremely important.
RADIATION - The Romanian authorities have signaled an accident in Transdniestr that may have resulted in radiation leaks, saying however that measurements made in Romania indicate that they pose no danger so far. The Romanian authorities have not been informed by their counterparts from the Republic of Moldova of the incident at a metal factory, but they are monitoring the situation on the border. Public health authorities in Chisinau too say there is no risk of irradiation. The factory is 200 km away from the Romanian border.
BREXIT - The EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, said in Bucharest on Thursday that the rejection, in London's parliament, of the Brexit deal, for the second time, complicates things even further. According to the EU official, the priority should be the fate of the 4.5 million citizens directly affected by Brexit, of whom 3.5 million are citizens from the EU 27 currently living on British soil, and approximately 1 million Brits living in the EU. On Thursday night, the British parliament rejected the amendment under which the motion proposed by Government to postpone Brexit would stipulate the organization of a second referendum.
REPORT - The US State Department 2018 report on human rights around the world singles out Romania as having endemic corruption and excessively lengthy court trials as the top issues for Romania last year. The report published on Wednesday states that corruption is still widespread, in spite of numerous criminal prosecutions, and in spite of many reports of such practices in governance. Corruption is also widespread in public acquisitions, along with bribery in the public sector, especially in healthcare, the document reveals.
RATIFICATION - Romania's Senate passed the decisive vote to adopt the protocol by which the Republic of North Macedonia joins NATO. The event was attended by the Speaker of Parliament of that country. Romania is the seventh country of the 29 members of the alliance to ratify the former Yugoslav country's joining NATO after settling its differences with Greece, an older member.
BOOK FAIR - Romania is attending the Paris Book Fair, which opened its gates on Thursday evening and whose guest is for the first time a continent, Europe, and not a country, as before. The Sultanate of Oman is the special guest this year, and the Slovak capital Bratislava is a guest of honour. Romania is attending the fair under the logo '2019 - Romania's Year in Europe', and is participating with some 35 publishers and a string of events hosted by the Romanian stand. Some of the Romanian guests to the stand are Dinu Flamand, Adriana Babeti, Ioana Parvulescu, Matei Visniec. Also, the debates held there will enjoy the participation of Romanian and foreign writers, translators, as well as Romanian and French editors.