MEETING - On Friday, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis will attend the informal meeting of the heads of state of Bulgaria, Austria and Romania, hosted by Ruse, Bulgaria. The format of the meeting reflects the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union this year and in the first semester of next year. The talks will focus on the current European agenda, with the aim of facilitating a good cooperation and coordination during the three presidencies. Klaus Iohannis will stress Romania's interest in a good cooperation with Bulgaria and Austria, in order to fulfill the common goal of moving forward the European agenda for the citizens' benefit. Also, president Iohannis will participate, alongside his Bulgarian and Austrian counterparts Rumen Radev and Alexander Van der Bellen respectively, in the conference titled: "The sustainable development of the Danube Region and the interconnection between regions."
VISIT- A delegation led by the Minister for Romanians Abroad Natalia-Elena Intotero is currently on a three-day visit to Italy. According to a communiqué issued by the line ministry, the visit started in Bari, in the region of Puglia and will come to a close in Rome, in the Lazio region. The agenda of the visit includes talks with representatives of the local authorities, of the associative environment, trade unions and members of the Orthodox religious denomination. Data released by the Italian National Statistics Institute show that the Romanian community in Italy exceeds 1,100,000 people of a total of 5 million foreign citizens who are legally residing in Italy, being the largest foreign community in that country.
DIPLOMACY - The Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu on Thursday started a two-day official visit to Morocco, at the invitation of his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita. According to a communiqué issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the agenda of the visit includes talks with the Moroccan PM Saadeddine El-Othmani, the Speaker of the House of Councilors (the upper house of Parliament) Hakim Benchamach and with the Education Minister Saaid Amzazi. The visit also has an economic dimension, meant to boost bilateral trade exchanges and investments. Minister Melescanu will also have a meeting with the president of the Morocco-Romania Bilateral Chamber of Commerce, to be attended by local entrepreneurs as well. On Friday, Teodor Meleşcanu will meet with his counterpart Nasser Bourita. The two officials will sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Romanian and Moroccan Foreign Ministries and a Cooperation Agreement between the Romanian Diplomatic Institute and the Moroccan Academy of Diplomatic Studies.
SEA SHIELD - "Sea Shield", the biggest NATO military exercise on the south-eastern flank of the Alliance, is unfolding in Constanta, in south-eastern Romania, as of Thursday. Taking part in the exercise are 21 military ships, 10 fighters, a submarine and 2,300 military staff from several countries. According to a communiqué issued by the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Naval Forces, during the military training exercise the participants will practice NATO standard-fighting procedures against asymmetrical, submarine and maritime threats, according to a scenario based on a fictitious geopolitical situation. The Romanian Naval Forces are taking part in the exercise with two frigates, two guided-missile destroyers, and two maritime dredging ships. The Romanian Air Forces also contribute three MIG 21 Lancer fighters and the Ground Forces will contribute, for the first time, an infantry detachment.
PRESS FREEDOM - On May 3rd, which is the World Press Freedom Day, the US Embassy in Bucharest congratulated the reporters in Romania who serve Romanians and the public interest. Romania has become a regional model as regards the rule of law, reads a communiqué issued by the embassy. Many of the improvements recorded are the result of the determination of some brave journalists who've had the courage to increase transparency, reveal irregularities and hold accountable both natural persons and institutions. On the other hand, the 2017-2018 Report on Press Freedom in Romania, made public on Thursday, reads that parts of the media have contributed significantly to the radicalization of the public discourse by means of political bias and by assimilating topics imposed by politicians. Fake news has contaminated the media landscape in Romania, helping build an alternative narrative, in which the actions of the politicians in power are deemed legitimate, while those carried out by their opponents are incriminated. Romania ranks 44th out of 180 in the world press freedom index.
SPORT - On Thursday, the Romanian Alina Vuc won the silver medal in the 50 kg category at the European Wrestling Championship in Kaspiysk, Russia, after being defeated in the final by the Azeri Maria Stadnik. Alina Vuc won the third medal for the Romanian delegation, after the gold won by Mihai Mihut in the 63 kg category and the bronze medal won by Alin Alexuc - Ciurariu in the 130 category. In tennis, the Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu (no.37 in the WTA rankings) has qualified for the semifinals of the WTA tournament in Prague, with 230,000 USD in prize money. She defeated Kristyna Pliskova 6-2, 6-3. The Romanian player has also qualified for the doubles' final, alongside Lidia Morozova of Belarus, following the withdrawal of the Czech pair Barbora Stefkova / Barbora Strycova.Romania's table tennis women's team has failed to qualify for the semifinals of the World Championship in Halmstad, Sweden, as it was defeated by the Hong Kong team 3-nil.