Education laws – The package of laws reforming the education system in Romania was voted on Wednesday by the Chamber of Deputies, as the first body notified. During the general debates, the Education Minister, Ligia Deca, recalled that the measures are aimed at reducing the phenomenon of functional illiteracy and at preventing school dropout. The opposition parties criticized the draft laws and voted against them. The two bills go to the Senate for debate and a decisive vote. Also on Wednesday, in Bucharest, the Education trade unions organized a protest rally aimed at drawing attention to the problems facing the Romanian education system. The trade unionists are asking the Government to increase the salaries of the education staff, to pay the extra hours worked by the auxiliary teaching and non-teaching staff, and also to increase the annual investments, and to improve the infrastructure. The union leaders remind that a referendum is under way on the triggering of an all-out strike in education, starting on May 22. Recently, the education minister stated that she is confident that there will be no all-out strike in education, and that the school year will end well.
Visit - The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, on Wednesday received the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Han Duck-soo, in the context of the latter’s official visit to Bucharest. The President spoke in favor of capitalizing on the potential of bilateral cooperation, showing that the relations between the two countries can register a new qualitative leap, by updating the Strategic Partnership. The Korean official hailed the intensive bilateral dialogue and the intensification of economic cooperation, by increasing mutual investments. At the same time, Han Duck-soo shared the same vision with that of Klaus Iohannis regarding regional and global challenges, against the backdrop of the consequences of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine. With the Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, the Seoul official agreed to strengthen relations in areas such as investments and industry, including the defense and cyber security industries. The Korean side expressed readiness to contribute to the construction of the new reactors 3 and 4 at the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant, as well as to the development of small modular reactors. On this occasion, a memorandum of understanding was also signed between the administrations of the ports of Constanta and Busan in South Korea, the fifth busiest port in the world by tonnage and the largest in Northeast Asia in terms of transshipment capacity.
Defense - The Chief of the Defense Staff of Romania, General Daniel Petrescu, is taking part on Wednesday and Thursday in the meetings of the NATO Military Committee and the EU Military Committee, respectively. Defense chiefs from the 31 Allied states, with the Swedish chief of defense as a guest, will look at the dynamics of the war in Ukraine. Talks will focus on analyzing the implementation of measures aimed at strengthening NATO's defense and deterrence posture, ahead of the decisions to be made at the NATO Summit in Vilnius. The participants will also look at ways to continue supporting Ukraine. Another major topic of the meeting is the analysis of member and partner states' participation in EU missions and operations.
Independence - Romania celebrated its National Independence Day on Wednesday. On May 10, 1877, Prince Carol I, who would subsequently become the first king of Romania, signed the country's Proclamation of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. The document had been read in Parliament the day before by the foreign minister Mihail Kogălniceanu, and endorsed by Parliament's two chambers. The occasion was celebrated in Bucharest with a ceremony at the Heroes Monument in front of the National Defense University, while military and religious ceremonies were also held in cities across the country.
Gaudeamus - The Gaudeamus Radio Romania Book Fair opened its doors on Wednesday in Oradea (north-west). On an area of over 660 square meters, until May 14, editorial events, contests with prizes in books and workshops for children will take place. At this edition, more than 50 brands are present in 45 stands, among which the most prestigious publishing houses and Romanian and foreign book distribution agencies. The editorial offer is completed by a selection of educational games and quality music, as well as by a new area called Bookoteca, for second-hand books. The honorary president of this edition is the historian PhD Constantin Demeter, an active personality in the cultural life of the city.
Gas - The European Commission launched, on Wednesday, the first-ever international tender for joint purchasing of EU gas supplies in a move to help boost security of supply and tackle high energy prices. The EC representatives say that the joint purchasing of gas will help the European industry not only through prices, but also through the establishment of economic relations for contracting alternatives, given that the member states want to completely eliminate Russian gas from consumption. The first tender will take place until May 15 and targets gas to be delivery as of June 2023 until May 2024. (LS, AMP)