NOMINEES The PSD – ALDE ruling coalition in Bucharest is today making nominations for the positions that remained vacant in some state institutions; the nominees must get Parliament approval. ALDE’s executive president Daniel Barbu might be nominated to head the Permanent Electoral Authority, a position that remained vacant after the resignation of Ana Maria Patru, arrested last year and prosecuted on corruption charges. The coalition leaders are to nominate the successor of Central Bank vice-governor Bogdan Olteanu, who stepped down after he had been arrested by anti-corruption prosecutors in 2016. The government coalition is also to tackle the future political actions that are to be taken next.
HANDBALL Romania’s and Europe’s handball champions, women side CSM Bucharest, is tonight taking on the Slovenians from Krim Ljubljana in a decisive match counting towards their qualification for the Champions League’s quarter finals. A victory will grant their qualification, but a draw or a defeat will make them depend on the other results in the group. We recall the first game went to the Slovenians 24-21.
COMEMORATION Romania commemorates 40 years since the devastating earthquake on March 4th 1977, the strongest that hit Romania, a country situated at the collision area of two tectonic plates. The 7.2 Richter quake caused the death of 1,570 people mostly in Bucharest and damage estimated at that time at 2 billion dollars. 230 thousand households were razed down or severely damaged, while 760 economic units were forced to cease their activity. According to historians, the earthquake created such an economic and social crisis the communist regime was unable to cope with until its demise in 1989. Experts believe that hundreds of buildings could be destroyed in Bucharest by a similar earthquake nowadays.
EU The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Sigmar Gabriel have said in a joint statement they are backing the idea of a two-speed Europe, which should take into account ‘the ambition levels’ of the member countries. The two officials have come to support one of the five working scenarios on the EU’s future presented by the European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker. Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has said in Bucharest that Romania doesn’t want a two-gear Europe as such reconfiguration projects might lead to the disintegration of the community project. The first directions concerning Europe’s common future are expected to be contoured at the mini-summit in Versailles next Monday, and during the one in Rome on March 25th. Pundits believe that due to the presidential election in France and the legislative ones in Germany, no major decision can be made by the end of the year.
EUROBAROMETER Ten years on from their EU accession, the Romanians’ trust in the European Union continues to be over the European average (52% as compared to 36%) but significantly going down since the country’s EU-entry when it stood at 65%, according to a Eurobarometer published today. The Romanians are keeping their optimistic vision on Europe’s future of 67% as compared to the 50% average, although their optimism has gone down since 2007, when it stood at 75%. The report also shows that supporting EU priorities remains high with the Romanians; 55% when it comes to economic and monetary union and of 77% when it comes to the people’s free movement. Two thirds of the interviewed Romanians say they feel they are European citizens, being in favour of a common foreign policy. The values better representing the EU in the vision of the Romanians are: human rights, democracy and peace.