European Pillar of Social Rights, signed at Gothenburg Social Summit for fair jobs and growth
NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION – The National Liberal Party and the Save Romania Union, in opposition, tabled a no-confidence motion in Parliament, against the government made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. As many as 148 MPs signed the motion. Initiated after the government amended the Fiscal Code, the no-confidence motion is also backed by the People’s Movement Party and the independent MPs. The Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania announced it will not sign the motion while the Pro Romania Party, led by former PM Victor Ponta will not back the motion either. The new version of the Fiscal Code switches the responsibility for social security payments from employers to employees and cuts income taxes from 16% to 10%, as of January 1, 2018. Over the past few weeks, street protests have been held in Bucharest and other major Romanian cities against the government’s plans to change the tax code and the laws on the judiciary. On the other hand, PM Mihai Tudose claims that the new fiscal reform would result in more money to the state budget and social security budget, and will reduce bureaucracy. On Friday, the Social Democratic Party announced in a report, after ten months in power, that more than 100 objectives in their governing programme have been fulfilled.
PRESIDENCY - Romanian President Klaus Iohannis spoke on Friday in Gothenburg, Sweden, at a social summit on fair jobs and growth in the EU, about education as means of easing the accwess to the labour market. He pointed out that special attention should be paid to giving access to the labour market to vulnerable categories such as the Roma, the people with disabilities and the elderly. Iohannis also said Romania will stand for an education system adapted to the needs of the economy, so that the best solutions be found to create jobs for the young people. Also on Friday, the European Pillar of Social Rights was proclaimed and signed by the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the Commission during the Gothenburg Social Summit for fair jobs and growth. The objective of the Pillar is to contribute to social progress by supporting fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems and sets out 20 principles and rights, divided into three categories, namely, equal opportunities and access to labour market, dynamic labour markets and fair working conditions and also public support, social protection and inclusion.
TRANSCARPATHIA - Students and teachers in the Romanian language schools in Transcarpathia, a region in south-western Ukraine, that is home to over 40,000 ethnic Romanians, are currently being assessed by a commission of the Education Ministry in Kiev. Teachers are outraged, saying the evaluation, the first in many years, is in fact aimed at proving that the schools of the national ethnic minorities are not good enough, that teachers are unable to offer students high level training and that pupils are insufficiently prepared to have their national evaluation tests. Teachers say the evaluation is nothing but a disguised form of pressure and intimidation, following the contested education law in Ukraine, which infringes upon the constitutional rights of the ethnic minorities to study in their own language. In late October, experts of the Venice Commission paid a visit to Kiev to assess the newly created situation following the adoption of the education law, which has been criticised also by Bucharest.
NICOSIA – The state secretary for bilateral and strategic affairs in the Euro-Atlantic area, George Ciamba, held consultations in Nicosia, with several Cypriot officials together with whom he approached the migration issue as well as the priorities of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council, in the first half of 2019. During the meeting with the Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, George Ciamba has underlined the interest taken by Romania in rendering the bilateral dialogue more dynamic, given the traditional cooperation between the two states, and has also referred to the presence of a large Romanian community in Cyprus and of a Cypriot business community in Romania. In the field of migration, the officials reiterated their support for the EU’s actions to strengthen cooperation with its foreign partners, both countries of origin and transit countries, and to further implement the EU-Turkey Declaration. Relative to the Eastern Neighbourhood, the officials underlined the need to further support the Republic of Moldova on its European path. The Cypriot officials reiterated their support for Bucharest’s candidacy for a non-permanent member seat of the UN Security Council in the 2020 – 2021 period and for Romania’s Schengen accession.
TRAVEL FAIR- The 38th edition of Romania’s Travel Fair brings together until Sunday over 200 tour operators and travel agencies. 12 foreign countries from around the globe chose to have their own stands at the fair, just like Romanian county councils, which try to promote Romania’s travel destinations.
(Translated by Elena Enache)