TALKS Romania hails Serbia’s progress towards EU accession and will continue to support this progress, Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos told his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Timisoara, western Romania on Thursday. According to Ciolos, the concrete support may include expertise-exchange, workshops, training programmes, which could be offered through the Fund for Government Experts, funded through development policies. The two officials have also tackled issues part of the process of bilateral cooperation in various sectors, including in the field of labour force, economy, minorities, European integration and present-day challenges, such as migration. Several agreements have been signed, including a protocol over the formation and functioning of joint patrols along the common border and another one on the prevention and reducing the effects of disasters. The Romanian Prime Minister said that progress had been made in the common project of building the Belgrade-Timisoara motorway.
TRANSITION The US president in office, Democrat Barack Obama, on Thursday received at the White House the president elect, Republican Donald Trump, for talks on presidential transition. Also on Thursday, Trump invited British Prime Minister Theresa May to pay a formal visit to the USA a.s.a.p. In a phone call May told Trump that after Brexit, Britain wants to strengthen trade and investment relations with the USA. In another development, several cities in the USA have seen protests after Donald Trump’s presidential victory. Protesters, carrying anti-Trump banners and flags, had blocked traffic in several cities, but according to the police most of the protests were peaceful.
DEBATES Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Thursday said he would have promulgated the law recently adopted by Parliament under which 102 taxes and duties are cancelled unless that included the radio-TV fee. The head of state said the fee had been eliminated without public debates and consultation with the two media institutions. Iohannis added he had received requests for vetoing the law including from international organisations and institutions. President Iohannis made the statements during a debate conference entitled ‘Canceling Radio-TV fee – support or threat to the mission of the public radio and television corporations?’. The meeting was aimed at ensuring a dialogue between the head of state and journalists, representatives of media organisations and members of civil society, about the situation of the public radio and TV stations. Participants in another series of debates also on this issue, hosted by the Romanian television, have highlighted that canceling the radio-TV fee and funding these two institutions from the state budget, cuts off the direct connection between citizens and public services. Furthermore, the elimination of the aforementioned tax would jeopardize the functioning as of January 1st of the two public media services.
SUPPORT The Romanian Justice Minister, Raluca Prună, offered Bucharest’s support for the reform process in the Republic of Moldova. At a Forum organised in Chisinau and focusing on fighting corruption, she emphasised that a state cannot be modernised and reformed without an independent judicial system. According to a news release issued by the Romanian Justice Ministry, the Forum is organised by Ms Pruna jointly with her Moldovan counterpart, Vladimir Cebotari, and is intended to become the main communication platform leading to the development of bilateral cooperation in this sector.