LETTER – The head of Romania’s left-of-centre government, Viorica Dancila, on Wednesday conveyed the European Commission President Jean - Claude Junker a letter concerning Brussels’ request for clarifications in a number of corruption cases in Romania. Dancila explained that the letter was written after the Romanian press had published a document of the European Commission from October 2012, in which the Justice Ministry in Bucharest was asked to provide information from some of the legal cases opened against some famous Romanian politicians and business people. PM Dancila said the Justice Ministry confirmed that between 2012 and 2018 the European Commission had a number of similar requests. The Romanian PM specified that asking for such information does not comply with the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification. We remind you that the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification has been monitoring the justice system in Romania ever since the country’s EU accession in 2007.
EURO - The Bucharest Government on Wednesday passed an emergency decree setting up a committee tasked with drafting a national plan for the country’s adoption of the European currency. According to the Government, the commission will draft a timetable for Romania’s accession to the mechanism for euro adoption and will take the necessary measures to prepare the Romanian economy and society for this important step. The commission will be led by the prime minister and the head of the Romanian Academy as presidents, while the central bank governor and the deputy prime minister for economic affairs will be vice-presidents.
PRESIDENCY - Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will attend on Thursday and Friday the Spring European Council in Brussels. The head of state will point out the fact that Romania wants a close partnership between the Eurpean Union and the UK after Brexit, a partnership that should include economic and commercial cooperation and also cooperation in fields like security, defense and foreign policy. The Spring European Council will focus on economic affairs, in particular on trade. The heads of state or government will also look at a number of the other pressing issues, including taxation, Western Balkans, Turkey and Russia. Under the Leaders' Agenda, EU leaders will hold a debate on taxation, in particular in the digital economy. They will focus on how to adapt taxations systems taking into account the growing digital economy what more can be done to fight tax evasion, and how best to ensure synergies at the EU and international level. Finally, EU leaders will also discuss Eurozone and Brexit.
HEARINGS – The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, on Wednesday was heard by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest in a case in which he is tried for inciting to abuse of office. Three defendants, who had already pleaded guilty in the same file, were also heard on Wednesday. The case 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 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.
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.
HANDBALL – Romania’s national women’s handball team on Wednesday was defeated by Russia, 25-30, 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 have 4 points, just like Russia, followed by Austria, with 2 points, and Portugal with zero points. The first two teams in the group will qualify for the final tournament due in France in December. (Translated by Elena Enache)