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EDUCATION Romania's government has today approved a bill on the country's participation in the 2025 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The government says Romania's participation is intended to "bring the Romanian education in line with developments in high-performing education systems in the world, and to review one's own performances in relation to the other participating countries." The initiators argue this participation is important given Romania's EU membership and its current observer status and future membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. PISA tests indicate the extent to which students are prepared to face current society challenges, and measures the basic skills of 15 year olds in areas like reading, maths and sciences.
SCRAPPING In Romania, the Rabla Clasic and Rabla Plus scrapping programmes were launched on Friday. They are designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the use of non-polluting vehicles. The vouchers provided by the government may reach EUR 10,000 for the purchase of electric cars worth up to EUR 75,000.
VISIT While in Chişinău, PM Nicolae Ciucă reiterated Romania's support for neighbouring Republic of Moldova's European accession efforts. In a meeting with his counterpart, Dorin Recean, Ciucă announced the building of new bridges across Prut river and the set up of new border checkpoints. In turn, PM Recean announced that very soon EUR 25m out of a non-reimbursable EUR 100m assistance package provided by Romania will be used for the development of village schools and infrastructure.
PROTESTS France's PM Élisabeth Borne condemned the violence accompanying Thursday's protests against the pension reform, which increases retirement age from 62 to 64. Violent clashes have been reported in several cities. According to trade unions, attending the protests in nearly 300 localities were 3.5 million people, but the interior ministry argues there were only 1.2 million. Most protests were peaceful, but in Paris and some other cities incidents were reported. Some 150 police officers and gendarmes were injured and hundreds of violent people were arrested. Unionists are determined to try all legal means to cancel the law endorsed on Monday and to carry on protests. This weekend, each union will organise actions in their towns and regions, and a new call for strike and nation-wide protests is announced for Tuesday, March 28, Radio Romania's correspondend in Paris reports.
FOOTBALL Romania's national football team plays against Andorra away from home on Saturday, in the first round of the EURO 2024 qualifiers. The final tournament will be hosted by Germany. Also on Saturday in Group I, which includes Romania, Belarus takes on Switzerland and Israel faces Kosovo. On March 28, the national team faces Belarus in Bucharest. The top 2 teams in each of the 10 preliminary groups qualify into the final tournament, with the last 3 participants to be decided in March 2024, after the Nations League play-offs. (AMP)
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