Covid-19RO. Prime Minister Florin Cîţu gives assurances that Romania will not go into lockdown, but urges citizens to observe protection measures, in order to get over this pandemic. The head of government wrote in a post on Facebook that the goal is to reduce the number of infections through vaccination. He announced that in the next period the number of immunized people will increase and will reach 80,000 per day. Florin Cîţu participated, on Saturday, in a technical meeting hosted by the Interior Ministry , together with other members of the government and specialists, where the supplementation of intensive care beds in hospitals was discussed, amid the negative development of the Covid-19 epidemic in the last period. In Romania, the authorities reported on Saturday over 6 thousand new cases of contamination with the new coronavirus and 112 deaths. 1,324 patients are currently in intensive care - a record since the onset of the pandemic. In total, since the start of the pandemic, almost 900 thousand cases and over 22 thousand deaths have been registered in Romania. Bucharest and eight other counties are in the red scenario, with an incidence of cases higher than three per thousand inhabitants. On Saturday, the cities of Iasi (northeast) and Oradea (west) entered the red scenario. Many localities around the Capital are in quarantine. Since December 27, when the vaccination campaign started in Romania, over 1.7 million people have been immunized, most with Pfizer-BioNTech, as well as with Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Navy exercise. Over 2,400 soldiers from eight countries, 18 warships and 10 aircraft are participating, until March 29, in Sea Shield 21, the largest and most complex NATO multinational exercise organized by the Romanian Naval Forces in 2021, in the Black Sea. According to the Romanian Ministry of Defense, the training activities are led by the Fleet Command and the participating forces are from Bulgaria, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, the US and Turkey. The main goal of the multinational exercise is to verify and strengthen the level of interoperability and cooperation between the Romanian Naval Forces and other categories of forces in the Romanian Army, various structures subordinated to the Ministry of Interior and other allied naval forces. It includes all stages of a NATO naval military operation in response to a geopolitical crisis in the region and has the role of demonstrating the Romanian Army's constant commitment to strengthening the Alliance's maritime position in a volatile security environment. After the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation, in 2014, the Romanian Naval Forces proposed to NATO allies to introduce this tactical exercise on the agenda of collective training programs, to develop the interoperability of forces in all combat environments (maritime, submarine, land and air).The first edition of the Multinational Exercise 'Sea Shield' took place in 2015, and in the following years its scenarios were adapted to respond, quickly and efficiently, to the full spectrum of threats to maritime security and regional stability.
Schengen. Romania has demonstrated on numerous occasions that it has the capacity to ensure security at the external borders of the European Union and has fulfilled all Schengen commitments and criteria since ten years ago, the Minister of Interior, Lucian Bode said in Rome. He told his Italian counterpart, Luciana Lamorgese, that Bucharest expects the Union to recognize, by adopting as soon as possible the Decision on admission to the Schengen Area, the essential role in Europe's security architecture. Initially scheduled for March 2011, Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the free movement area has been repeatedly postponed due to opposition from some member countries, which have claimed a lack of judiciary reforms. Regarding the current situation of migratory flows to the EU, Lucian Bode gave assurances that the situation at Romania's borders is under control and constantly monitored. He also recalled that the largest community of Romanians in the Diaspora lives in Italy, and their presence in the Peninsula is a vector of the bilateral strategic partnership.
National plan. Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Romania criticize the proposal for the allocation of European funds made by the PNL-USR + -UDMR Government through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and show that the amounts allocated to the private environment are dramatically lower. The President of the SME Council, Florin Jianu, writes in a post on Facebook that the entire amount goes to financial instruments, that is loans guaranteed by the state, although the structure of the Romanian economy shows that only three out of ten small and medium-seized enterprises can get loans from banks. He says that tens of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises have been affected by the health crisis, and that they need to regain competitiveness. Jianu also claims that the recovery plan completely lacks programs for startup companies, while the document provides for a program for NGOs. The government discussed in Friday's meeting the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is subject to public debate. Liberal Prime Minister Florin Cîţu announced that, next week, through a memorandum, the Executive will adopt the mandate through which this program will be negotiated. The prime minister also said that the NRRP allocates important resources for road and railway infrastructure, highways, the gas network, the construction of new hospitals, and social measures are also included. The document must be sent to the European Commission in April, for Romania to benefit from over 30 billion euros for development by 2026, the year by which all the projects included in this plan must be completed.
Francophonie. The French language, culture and institutions were an important source of inspiration in the process of forming the modern Romanian state, the Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu states in a message conveyed on the International Francophonie Day. "Romania celebrates on March 20, along with 87 other countries around the world, the International Francophonie Day and is the country with the strongest francophone ties in Central and Eastern Europe" , the message also reads. The minister also says that Romania, with 30 years of membership in the Francophone movement, actively contributes to the key objectives of the International Organization of the Francophonie: promoting the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity, promoting peace, democracy and human rights, strengthening solidarity between francophone states through economic cooperation, for sustainable development and support for education and research. Romania is the zonal center of the Francophonie, hosting the Regional Offices of the OIF and the Francophone University Agency in Bucharest, as well as a large number of embassies of French-speaking states. Over one million Romanian students learn French, and many schools have bilingual programs. In September 2006, Bucharest hosted the OIF summit.
Rugby. Romania's national rugby team defeated, on Saturday, on home turf, the Spanish team, in the third stage of the Rugby Europe Championship 2021. The second most important echelon after the famous Six Nations Tournament, Rugby Europe Championship 2021 counts for qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in France. According to the rules, the first two teams in the group qualify directly for the final tournament, and the third place occupant will play a tie. In the group ranking, the first place is occupied by Georgia with 14 points, followed by Romania 9 points, Russia 4 points, Spain 2 points and Portugal 1 point. In the next matches, Romania will meet Georgia (March 27-28, away) and Belgium or the Netherlands (July 3-4, home). (MI)