The European Union has launched a naval operation against people traffickers in the Mediterranean, one month after hundreds of people died in a shipwreck. The unprecedented mission off the Libyan coast, which is a major refugee trafficking route, will involve the deployment of war ships and surveillance aircraft belonging to European armed forces.
Seven Romanians were in a bus where an improvised explosive device was found on Saturday in Hungary, the Romanian Foreign Ministry announced, after having instructed the Romanian Embassy in Budapest to get more information on the incident. The Romanians continued their journey on the same bus, after Hungarian experts removed the device. The vehicle was registered in Bulgaria and was traveling from Prague (the Czech Republic) - Varna (Bulgaria), via Romania, and the homemade bomb was found in the luggage compartment, in a bag, tied to a petrol can. An investigation has been started. An individual who took the bus in Prague and unexpectedly got out in Budapest is a suspect in the case, and investigators do not rule out a terrorist plot.
Bucharest is hosting, as of today, the 43rd Interpol European Regional Conference. Delegates from 50 countries are attending, alongside representatives of international organisations. For three days, representatives of law enforcement agencies from Europe and beyond will discuss the current problems facing modern society, including cyber security issues, and topics related to border security, terrorism, corruption and police cooperation.
A Foreign Ministry task force in Bucharest is checking the information regarding the kidnapping of a Romanian citizen last month in Burkina Faso and the audio message sent by the jihadist group "Al Murabitun", which claimed the kidnapping. In a recording sent to a news agency in Mauritania, and whose authenticity is yet to be confirmed, the group’s new leader demands that the Romanian government "took the hostage release negotiations seriously." The terrorist announced, 5 days ago, the affiliation of “Al Murabitun” to the IS. The Romanian citizen was a member of a patrol team securing the perimeter of a mine. According to the Foreign Ministry, the task force is in permanent contact with the authorities in Burkina Faso, who deployed a substantial military contingent in the area in view of identifying the kidnappers. Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu has immediately returned from Brussels, where he was taking part in a meeting with his European counterparts.
IMF and European Commission representatives are in Bucharest, as of today, for a technical mission. For a week, they will discuss with the Romanian authorities the measures included in the new Fiscal Code, which is currently under review in Parliament, and the status of structural reform implementation. According to economic analysts, the parties will try to successfully finalise the current stand-by agreement between Bucharest and the international financing institutions. Talks will likely be difficult, given that the Romanian government has recently adopted fiscal relaxation measures on which the IMF had expressed doubts. Signed in September 2013 for a two-year period and amounting to around 2 billion euros, this is the third loan Romania has requested from the IMF since the start of the economic crisis.
Three Romanian tennis players are today playing in the qualifying matches for the men’s singles main draw in the French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year. Victor Hanescu, 187 ATP, will be facing the Italian Potito Starace, 198 ATP, Adrian Ungur, world no 189, will also play against an Italian, Luca Vanni, no. 103, while Marius Copil (207) seems to have an easy job in the match against the Portuguese Pedro Sousa, no 838. In the women’s competition, Romania will be represented by several players, including world no. 3 Simona Halep, who last year lost the French Open final to Russia’s Maria Sharapova.