Strike - The Romanian government met, today, in a special session, to increase by 9% the salaries of the education non-teaching staff, in response to the all-out strike in the education system started on Monday. The trade unionists request a 25% increase in all salaries in the education sector, including the teaching staff, and for beginner teachers an average gross salary of 3,000 lei (the equivalent of about 600 Euros). Instead, the government wants to give teachers only bonuses for their teaching career in June and October. The unions rejected the offer and announced that they would continue the protest. On Thursday, more than 10,000 teachers gathered in front of the Government headquarters in downtown Bucharest. Protests were also held in other cities across Romania.
Government - The power sharing arrangement of the parties in the governing coalition in Bucharest is postponed until the resolution of the teachers' all-out strike, the liberal Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă announced. He was supposed to resign his mandate today, to be taken over by the Social Democratic leader Marcel Ciolacu. In fact, Nicolae Ciucă made the announcement alongside Marcel Ciolacu, and Kelemen Hunor, from the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania - UDMR, the third party in ruling coalition in Romania. The Prime Minister Ciucă appealed to the "reason of all teaching staff", telling them that the Government cannot assume to unbalance the State budget by granting them the salary increases requested, and that the discussions with the unions will continue. In turn, the head of the PSD, Marcel Ciolacu, said that the decision is correct, and that the teachers and employees in the healthcare system are a priority. Predictability and responsibility are needed, the leader of the UDMR, Kelemen Hunor, also said. The agreement between the Liberal Party - PNL and PSD stipulated that each of them would hold the position of prime minister for a year and a half. In the last few days, there have been discussions between PSD and PNL regarding the distribution of ministries in the future government. A retired general, Nicolae Ciucă was sworn in as prime minister in December 2021.
Visit – The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is on the third day of his official visit to Romania. Today, in Timisoara (west), he will take a walk through Timisoara’s old town, will go to the German High School and the Cetate Synagogue and will visit a fine art exhibition as part of the program "Timişoara, European Capital of Culture". The German official arrived, last night, in Timisoara, where he laid a wreath of flowers on the Heroes' Day at the crucifix in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral, dedicated to the martyrs of the anti-communist Revolution of December 1989, and participated in a symphony concert. Earlier, also on Thursday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Sibiu (center).
Fair - Romania participates in the Madrid Book Fair under the slogan "Creating good chemistry with Romanian literature" ("Creando buena quimica con las letras rumanas"). Until June 11, Romania’s stand will display numerous volumes signed by Romanian authors, including those translated, in recent years, into Spanish, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute. The public has a wide range of activities to choose from: literary activities, book presentations, recitals, debates, round tables, scientific workshops for children and autograph sessions. There will also be events promoting Romanian culture, especially contemporary culture. The Madrid Fair has reached the 82nd edition, in 2023 marking nine decades of existence, and it is one of the most important literary events of its kind in Europe.
Sanctions – The Consumer Protection Authority announces that it has sanctioned eight other banks present in Romania with fines of 400,000 lei each (the equivalent of about 80 thousand euros). ANPC claims that it found irregularities regarding bank loans in lei or foreign currency, in the medium and long term, with a repayment term of over 10 years. Inspectors with the Consumer Protection Authority say that the sanctioned banks would have cheated the customers, because in the first years the rate was composed of 75% interest and of only a quarter of the principal to be repaid. The representatives of the Romanian Association of Banks claim that they respect the law and that they might challenge the sanctions in court.
Trains - Romania will have, as of the month of December, the first new trains in the last 20 years, the Transport Ministry officials have promised, giving that there are no delays in the delivery of the 37 contracted train sets, already in production in Poland. Deliveries will start this summer, but the train will actually start operating in winter, after the completion of technical tests. The first new trains will run on the Bucharest-Constanța route (south-east), then on the routes to Braşov (centre), Timisoara (west) and Iași-Suceava (east and north-east). The average age of CFR-Romanian Railway Authority trains is currently 44 years. They break down frequently, the air conditioning works intermittently, and on heavily trafficked lines, additional trains are brought through transfers from other routes. (LS)