The Romanian PM, Viorica Dăncilă, who is currently on a visit to the Vatican, has been received by Pope Francis/ Romania’s most powerful politician, Social Democrat Liviu Dragnea, claims the battle against corruption has gone too far
VISIT - The Romanian PM Viorica Dăncilă is on a visit to the Vatican until Sunday. On Friday the PM was received in audience by Pope Francis. According to a communiqué issued by the Romanian Government, PM Dancila thanked the Pope for the special attention he has always paid to relationships with Romania and expressed hope that the Pope will pay an apostolic visit to our country. So far, the agenda of the talks has included, among others, the protection of human rights and ensuring religious freedom. The PM’s visit to the Vatican comes against the backdrop of very good bilateral relations, in a year when Romania celebrates the Centennial of the Great Union, which will be marked at the Holy See through a number of academic and cultural events.
CORRUPTION – Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democratic Party, in power in Romania, told the Associated Press that in Romania the fight against corruption has gone too far, and that there has been a shift from a time when no politician in power was probed into, to a situation where all politicians are accused, prosecuted and indicted, and their careers are ruined by trials. Dragnea also said that Romania will find a fair, legal way to tackle corruption. AP mentions that Liviu Dragnea could not become a PM after his party won the election because he had been convicted for vote rigging, and that he is currently facing 2 other charges, namely embezzling European funds and official misconduct. The American news agency also mentions that the attempts by the ruling coalition to amend the country’s criminal laws triggered massive protests at home and criticism abroad. In the interview, Liviu Dragnea also said his party supports the EU concept, but that both Romania, and other Eastern European member states are concerned and preoccupied about a “two-speed” Europe that leaves poorer nations behind while the wealthier ones benefit.
LEGISLATION – The President of Romania Klaus Iohannis Friday notified the Constitutional Court of Romania on a change in the law regulating the operation of the Higher Council of Magistracy, the Presidential Administration announced. The President criticised the separation of the Council’s powers by departments. Early this month the President decided to send back to the Constitutional Court the 3 justice laws, on the status of judges and prosecutors, on the organisation of courts and on the Higher Council of Magistracy, after they had been rushed through Parliament in the form drafted by the ruling coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals. Iohannis also announced he would send the bills to the Venice Commission for review.
MILITARY – The opening ceremony for the multi-national exercise Resolute Castle 2018 took place on Friday at the military firing range in Cincu, central Romania. This is a six-month exercise involving troops of the Romanian Land Forces and the South Carolina National Guard. Until September, the Romanian and American military will conduct infrastructure works and arrange the training platforms at the Cincu range. Resolute Castle 2018 is an exercise focusing on the construction and strengthening of training centres in Poland and Romania. This enables US military units to rapidly deploy troops, to rotate troops with allies and multi-national partners and to prove their deterrence capacity in a complete security environment.
ART – Works put at some 10 million euros, from important private collections, from the Pompidou Museum in Paris as well as from the collection of the former communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu are on display, as of today until May 20th, in Art Safari, the largest art event in Romania, hosted by a central Bucharest square. The most valuable piece on display is a Brancusi from a private collection and estimated at “a seven-digit number” as the director of Art Safari Bucharest, Ioana Ciocan has put it. The Art Safari exhibition has reached its 5th edition this year.
ECONOMY – The GDP of the European Union amounted to 15,300 billion euros in 2017, according to data made public on Friday by Eurostat. Romania’s GDP was nearly 188 billion euros, accounting for 1.2% of the GDP of the bloc, and ranking as the 16th economy in the EU. According to Eurostat, Romania’s GDP was slightly higher than Greece’s 178 billion euros, but below the GDP of the Czech Republic, 192 billion euros. More than half of the GDP of the EU was generated in 2017 by just 3 countries: Germany, the UK and France. With nearly 3,300 billion euros last year, Germany strengthened its position as the top economy of the Union, accounting for 21% of the Union’s GDP. At the opposite pole, 11 EU member states produced less than 1% of the bloc’s GDP: Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Hungary.
REP OF MOLDOVA – Over 100 mayors gathered in Chishinau on Friday to attend the third meeting of the Congress of Local Authorities from Romania and the Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet country with a Romanian speaking population). During the meeting, the mayors unanimously endorsed an appeal-declaration calling on the central authorities in Romania and the Republic of Moldova to go ahead with the local decentralization process, to organize every year a joint session of the Romanian and Moldovan Governments, and to harmonies the legislation of the two countries. In 2017, some 100 towns and communes in the Republic of Moldova signed twinning agreements with similar localities in Romania. An overall number of over 500 localities from the two countries have joined the twinning program. (Translated by D. Vijeu and AM Popescu)