PRESIDENCY – The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis is taking part on Wednesday and Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria, in an informal meeting of the European Council and the EU – Western Balkans Summit. According to the Presidential Administration, the agenda of the informal European Council meeting includes topics concerning the digital, research and innovation sectors, as well as the decision of the US to introduce customs duties for steel and aluminum imports. At the EU-Western Balkans Summit, the heads of state and government will discuss connectivity, security and migration. President Iohannis will emphasise the importance of projects in the field of connectivity, infrastructure, energy and digital networks, which are able to enhance the convergence between the EU and the Western Balkans region, the Presidency also says.
EU PRESIDENCY – The Minister delegate for European affairs Victor Negrescu Wednesday presented Parliament’s specialist committees with a first draft of Romania’s priorities during its EU presidency in the first half of next year. Safety and Europe’s shared values, the Europe of convergence: growth, cohesion, competitiveness, connectivity, and Europe as a global player are the four themes of interest of Romania’s term at the helm of the EU Council. The document, which is undergoing validation procedures, will be presented in Parliament next month by PM Viorica Dăncilă. Negrescu said a national and political consensus on the final document was necessary.
EMBASSY – The Ambassador of Palestine in Romania, Fuad Kokaly, was called to Ramallah for emergency talks, the Palestinian Embassy in Romania announced. The Foreign Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) resorted to the measure as Romania is one of the countries having blocked a joint EU statement on the relocation of member state embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the news release reads. France Presse and DPA report that the Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday having recalled “for consultations” its ambassadors to 4 EU member countries that sent their representatives to a ceremony organised on Sunday by Israel to mark the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The 4 countries are Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania. The EU criticised the US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
PROTESTS – The Government of Romania Wednesday passed an emergency order operating changes in the law on public sector employee salaries, agreed on with trade unions. The changes will benefit employees in public education and healthcare. Under the order, all the healthcare staff whose net incomes dropped in March compared to February will receive compensations. Also, the 30% ceiling on bonuses will no longer apply to on-duty time for doctors and nurses. Also on Wednesday the Government of Romania passed an emergency order earmarking the funds required for keeping specialised personnel in the defence industry. Defence industry staff Tuesday and Wednesday picketed the Government headquarters to warn about the problems facing the companies and the employees in this sector. The Romanian defence industry risks getting shut down because of the shortage of skilled personnel and the lack of investments, one of the protest organisers told AGERPRES news agency.
BSEC – The Speaker of the Senate of Romania Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu Wednesday took part in a summit bringing together the heads of parliaments of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation member states. In an address during general debates on '25 years of BCEC: the role of parliaments in shaping the future of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation', Tăriceanu pleaded for an integrated approach to transport and energy infrastructure projects, able to improve the connectivity of member states. The Speaker of the Romanian Senate also reiterated his confidence in the future of cooperation at the Black Sea and in the contribution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in promoting peace, stability and wellbeing in member countries.
TENNIS - Romanian and world no 1 Simona Halep will play on Thursday against the American Madison Keys, seed no 13, in the eighth-finals of the WTA tournament in Rome. On Wednesday in the second round Halep defeated Japan’s Naomi Osaka, no 21 WTA, in straight sets, while Madison Keys won against the Croatian Donna Vekic. This will be the 7th match between Simona Halep and Madison Keys, with the Romanian having won 5 of them. Also on Wednesday Irina-Camelia Begu, no 41 WTA, was defeated in the second round by the German Angelique Kerber, no 12 WTA.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)