EUROPEAN AFFAIRS – The minister delegate for European Affairs, Victor Negrescu, on Tuesday attended a meeting of his EU counterparts, held in Brussels. The focal points on the agenda of talks included preparations for the European Council meeting of March 22-23 and the stage of implementing the decisions issued by the European Council of December 2017. According to the communiqué issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, during the meeting, Negrescu briefed his European partners on the organisation demarches made by Romania before taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, that it will hold in the first half of 2019. As regards Brexit, the result of negotiations has confirmed that European citizens, including the Romanian ones and their family members who settle in Great Britain during the transition period, will enjoy the same rights as the EU citizens who are already living there.
EP ELECTIONS – The future elections for the European Parliament will be held over May 23-26, 2019, according to a decision issued by the EU European Affairs ministers who gathered in Brussels to attend the General Affairs Council. European parliamentary elections are held every five years. The structure of the new European Parliament will have 705 seats, as compared to 751 at present. The difference is the result of Great Britain’s leaving the community bloc. 46 of the 73 seats held by Britons will be slashed and the rest of 27 will be distributed to the EU member states which are under-represented in the European Parliament. Romania will hold 33 seats, that is one more seat than in the current legislature.
HEARINGS – The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, has been heard today by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest in a file in which he is tried for inciting to abuse of office. Three defendants, who have already pleaded guilty in the same file, have also been heard today. The file refers to the employment of two PSD members at the General Social Welfare and Child Protection Directorate in Teleorman County, in the south, when the incumbent Social-Democratic leader was the County Council President. According to the anti-corruption prosecutors, the two employees didn’t go to work and didn’t carry out any of the activities stipulated in their employment agreement, actually doing their job exclusively at the headquarters of the PSD county organisation, led by Liviu Dragnea. He also got a suspended two-year sentence in another file, for attempted electoral fraud.
HANDBALL – Romania’s national women’s handball team is today meeting Russia, away from home, at Togliatti, in its third match of the Euro 2018 qualifiers. The round match will be played in Cluj, north-western Romania on Sunday. With two earlier wins, the Romanians coached by Spaniard Ambros Martin are leading the group with 4 points, followed by Russia and Austria, with 2 points each, and Portugal with zero points. The first two teams in the group will qualify for the final tournament due in France in December.
TENNIS – Romanian tennis player Monica Niculescu (no. 70 WTA) is today facing Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, no. 75 WTA, in the first round of the WTA Miami tournament. Also today, another Romanian, Irina Begu, no. 37 WTA will meet for the first time Danielle Collins of the US, no.93 WTA. On Tuesday, Mihaela Buzarnescu was defeated in two sets by Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens. First seeded Simona Halep, no 1. WTA and Sorana Cîrstea, no. 33 WTA, have already qualified for the second round. The Miami Tournament offers nearly 8 million dollars in prize money up for grabs. (Translated by D. Vijeu)