STATISTICS – Romania's GDP in 2016 went up 4.8% against 2015, according to preliminary data published by the National Institute of Statistics. The estimated GDP for 2016 was over 759 billion lei, approximately 169 billion Euro, as compared to 160 billion in 2015. All branches of the economy contributed to the growth in 2016, except for agriculture and construction, which stagnated. The economy was principally driven by consumption. For 2017, the European Commission estimates growth to be 4.4%, with a slowdown to 3.7% in 2018. The IMF expects the GDP in 2017 to be 3.8%, the highest rate of growth expected in Europe. This year's national budget is based on an expected growth of 5.2% of the GDP.
REVIEW – Romania's General Prosecutor, Augustin Lazar, presented the general review of activity for last year, declaring that 2016 was a year with considerable results in judicial activity, considering the legislative instability in the country. In his opinion, the Public Ministry fulfilled its important mission in the institutional architecture of the rule of law. The General Prosecutor said that the institutional approach of his office is based on the National Defense Strategy for 2015-2019, as well as the National Anti-corruption Strategy and the National Strategy for the Reform of the Judiciary 2015-2020. For this year, he said, priorities will be mainly fighting corruption and tax evasion, fighting against environmental violations, especially in forestry, as well as violations regarding the national heritage. The event was attended by President Klaus Iohannis, who said Romania has made significant progress in terms of the justice system, but that it still awaits the final results of investigations into the 1989 Revolution and the miners' raids of the early 1990s.
POLICE – In Bucharest today, police union representatives hold a new round of discussions regarding the Unitary Salary Law, attended by Interior Minister Carmen Dan, and Finance Minister Viorel Stefan. Yesterday, police unions negotiated the law with Labor Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu, but said they did not reach a conclusion, announcing protests for mid-March. Their main complaint is that incentives are not calculated based on the present minimum wage of around 320 Euro, but on the minimum wage as it stood in December. Interior Minister Vasilescu said that the Unitary Salary Law will be ready in July, as provided by the government platform.
COUNCIL – Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Ana Birchall, takes part today in Brussels in the meeting of the General Affairs Council. Under discussion is the draft conclusion of the council regarding the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report, which acknowledges the major progress made by Romania, and emphasizes support for the Romanian authorities in meeting the demands of the mechanism. The meeting in Brussels is in preparation for the European Council agenda scheduled for March 8 and 9. The ministers will analyze a draft recommendation on Eurozone economic policies supporting economic growth, and will focus on reaching an accord on a European banking insurance system. Another point on the agenda is the update provided by the Maltese presidency of the Council on applying the inter-institutional accord for better legislation, passed in March last year. This accord is supposed to make the EU legislative process easier to monitor and more transparent.
TENNIS – Several Romanian women tennis players are present at the Premier Mandatory tournament in Indian Wells in the US, with 6.9 million USD in prize money. Patricia Țig, 99th seeded, went to the final qualifiers by defeating Japanese player Shuko Aoyama, 212th seeded, 6-0, 6-2. Țig plays next American Julia Boserup, 97th seeded. Ana Bogdan, ranked 124th, was eliminated by Japanese player Nao Hibino, ranked 81st, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7. Sorana Carstea, 66th seeded, and Monica Niculescu, 45th seeded, plays against each other in the inaugural round, while Simona Halep, 4th in the world, and Irina Begu, ranked 32nd, play in the second round, with adversaries yet to be established.
FOOTBALL – In Romania, the premiere football league regular season is over, with the play-offs and play-outs starting on March 10. The top six teams will contend for the title, while the last eight will have to fight to stay in the league. Viitorul, Steaua, standing champions Astra, Craiova, CFR Cluj and Dinamo are in the play-offs. Gaz Metan Medias, FC Botosani, FC Voluntari, CSM Poli Iasi, Concordia Chiajna, Pandurii Tg. Jiu, ACS Poli Timisoara and ASA Tg. Mures remain in the play-outs.