Professors and students with the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration have voiced solidarity with magistrates’ protests
REPORT - Romania’s estimated Gross Domestic Product for 2018 stood at around 196 billion euros, up by 4.1% in real terms as against 2017. According to the National Statistics Institute, industry contributed the most to this growth, with almost 24%. The gross fixed capital formation, a higher volume of imports of goods and services and a reduced volume of activity in the construction sector had a negative contribution to the GDP increase. The European Commission has recently pointed out, in its winter economic forecast, that the economic boom that started in Romania in 2017 slowed down in 2018. The real GDP growth decreased from 7% in 2017 to 4% in 2018, according to the EC report. In the fall of 2019 the IMF has revised downwards its economic forecast for Romania for both 2018 and 2019.
PROTESTS – Professors and students with the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) on Thursday have expressed their solidarity with the magistrates’ protests and have joined their colleagues in other university centers in condemning attempts to subordinate justice to the political power. Actors in several theatres across Romania, the capital Bucharest included, have organized protest rallies in support of the magistrates. The recent emergency order 7, modifying again the justice laws, is vehemently criticized by the magistrates.
EC - Romanian PM Viorica Dancila continues her working visit to Brussels. Today she is meeting with the Brexit EU Chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to discuss the protection of the European citizens’ rights, given the nearing exit deadline set for March 29. On Wednesday, the first day of the visit, Dancila met with the European Commission’s First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, and discussed about the recent modifications to the justice legislation in Romania. The European official has voiced concern with respect to the latest evolutions in matters regarding the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification. Dancila and Timmermans have decided that Romanian and European Commission experts should meet next week to further discuss these matters.
SUBPOENA - The former chief of the Anti Corruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kovesi, has been subpoenaed today by the Section for the Investigation of Magistrates, to be heard in a case in which she is accused of abuse of office, bribe taking and false testimony. Kovesi denies the accusations. The case involving Kovesi was opened in December 2018 following a complaint filed by the former MP Sebastian Ghita, a fugitive who has been prosecuted in several corruption cases in Romania and has fled to the neighboring Serbia. The former chief prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Directorate in Romania, Laura Codruta Kövesi, is the first on the list of preferences for the position of European Chief Prosecutor. The New European Prosecutor’s Office will closely cooperate with OLAF, to detect and investigate cases of fraud all across the European Union.
JAI - The Justice and Home Affairs ministers in Bucharest, Carmen Dan and Tudorel Toader respectively are taking part on Thursday and Friday in Brussels in the Justice and Home Affairs Council, taking place in the context of Romania’s holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The meetings’ agenda includes topics such as European cooperation in the field of justice and border security, the reform of the European asylum-granting system as well as migration and terrorist threats. On Friday, justice ministers will be updated on the most recent steps taken for the setting up of the European Prosecutor’s Office to become operational in 2020 and to have its headquarters in Luxembourg.
TENNIS - In the first round of the US tournament in Indian Wells, the Romanian-born Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu defeated Romania’s Irina Begu, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. Simona Halep and Mihaela Buzarnescu will prove their mettle in the women’s singles’ second round. In the women’s doubles, Monica Niculescu and Raluca Olaru have got through to the round of 16. Monica Niculescu will pair up with American tennis player Abigail Spears, while Raluca Olaru will play alongside Croatia’s Darija Jurak. (Translated by Elena Enache)