REPORTS - In its CVM report issued on Tuesday, the European Commission recommends that Romania should immediately suspend the application of the amended justice laws and the subsequent emergency ordinances passed by the Government. They should be revised in keeping with the provisions set by the Venice Commission, the Group of States Against Corruption and the European Commission. According to the Commission, the procedures for the dismissal of prosecutors should be suspended and the implementation of the changes brought to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Proceedings frozen. The First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans has stated that Romania used to make progress in terms of reforms, but, unfortunately, that has stalled in the past months. As regards the justice field, steps have been taken backwards, by amending the justice laws, putting pressure on judges and also with regard to the fight against corruption, Timmermans has said. He has also spoken of the freedom of the press and its importance in watching the reform of the judiciary and the fight against corruption. Also on Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that stresses the deep concern for the reform of the judicial and criminal legislation in Romania, which might structurally undermine the independence of the judiciary and its capacity to effectively combat corruption in this country, and therefore weaken the rule of law. The European Parliament urges Bucharest authorities to stop any measures that might decriminalize corruption and to implement the national anti-corruption strategy. Also, the MEPs urge the Romanian Government and Parliament to implement all recommendations made by the Venice Commission, the Group of States Against Corruption and the European Commission and to refrain from any reform that has the potential of harming the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary. The European Parliament has also condemned the violent and disproportionate intervention of the gendarme forces during the anti-Government protest held in August.
REACTIONS - Romania is back to where it was 11 years ago, before it's EU accession, and the Dragnea - Dancila Government has erased all the efforts made for integration, said president Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday, after the publication of the critical report on Romania drawn up by the European Commission in relation to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and the European Parliament's critical resolution on the rule of law in Romania. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila believes that Romania should not be judged by such resolutions, which are more or less based on reality, and has stated that Bucharest will respond to the criticism. In turn Liviu Dragnea, the president of the Social Democratic Party, the main party in the ruling coalition, has stated that beyond any resolution or report, there are other things that are important to Romania: education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, higher incomes and a predictable and favorable business environment. Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition, has stated that the EC has unjustifiably stepped into the political area, and the CVM report is mainly technical. The president of the opposition National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, has stated that the European Commission and the European Parliament have clearly shown that the Romanian government and the ruling coalition have no interest in the European principles and values. The European Parliament's resolution and the CVM report are not against Romania, they are against the Romanian Government and the parliamentary majority, which for two years have done nothing but undermine the independence of the judiciary and try to take Romania out of the EU, the president of the opposition Save Romania Union, Dan Barna, has also stated. The signal send by Brussels is unprecedented and shows that the current power has crossed the red line, said the president of the People's Movement Eugen Tomac, also stressing that the warning could turn into something harsher if the Government does not take into account the recommendations made.
APPOINTMENT - On Tuesday, president Klaus Iohannis signed the decree appointing George Ciamba Minister Delegate for European Affairs. Ciamba replaced Victor Negrescu, who resigned last week. The president stated he would take a quick decision regarding Ciamba, given Romania's preparing to take over the rotating presidency of the EU Council on January 1st. Also on Tuesday, the standing bureau of the Social Democratic Party, the senior party in the ruling coalition, nominated Ecaterina Andronescu for the office of minister of education. The seat became vacant after the resignation of Valentin Popa in September.
DEFICIT - In the first nine months of the year, Romania registered a 6.6 billion Euro balance of payments deficit, up by 38.5% as compared to the same period last year. According to data centralized by the National Bank of Romania, foreign direct investment stood at 3.5 billion Euro on the first three quarters, 6% less than in 2017. Also, in the first three quarters of 2018, the overall foreign debt went up by 634 million Euros, reaching 98 million, of which 30.5% is short-term debt.
POVERTY- The lowest decrease in the number of people at risk of poverty as a result of unemployment benefits from the state or dwelling aid was registered last year in Greece (16%) and Romania (17%), data released by Eurostat on Tuesday show. In nine member states the decrease rate was below 25%, whereas the European average stood at some 32%. According to the latest report made public by Eurostat last month, over a third (35.7%) of Romania's population was at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2017, a worse situation in the EU being registered only in Bulgaria, where 38.9% of the population runs this risk.
EBRD - Transparency in drafting government policies in the 38 countries where the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is activating has not improved since the start of the decade, with some exceptions, like Kazakhstan, Romania and Ukraine, the annual transition report issued by that financial institution shows. The document underlines the progress made by countries in six key domains, from competitiveness and resilience, to the way they are governed. According to the latest forecast issued this month by EBRD, Romania's economy will register a growth rate of 4.2% in 2018, to go down to 3.6% next year. EBRD is one of the major institutional investors in Romania. The bank has invested so far some 8 billion Euros in the country, in over 400 projects. In 2017 alone, EBRD invested some 550 million Euros in Romania. Over 500 million have been invested in the private sector, thus reaching the highest level of investment in the past seven years.
GAUDEAMUS - The 25 edition of the Gaudeamus International Fair, a landmark of the book market in Romania, an event organized by Radio Romania opens its doors on Wednesday. Gaudeamus 2018 will unfold under the auspices of a triple anniversary: the Great Union Centennial, 9 decades since the first broadcast aired by Radio Romania, one of the oldest radio stations in Europe and the 25th edition of the Gaudeamus Fair.