VISIT The president of the European Court of Auditors, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, will be on an official visit to Romania on November 19 and 20, in the context of Romania taking over the rotating presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2019. Klaus-Heiner Lehne will have meetings, among others, with the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, PM Viorica Dăncilă, the speakers of the 2 chambers of Parliament, the Minister for Public Finances Eugen Teodorovici, and with the Minister Delegate for European Affairs, George Ciamba. Several top-level EU officials will also be in Bucharest next week, including the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. They will discuss topics of interest for the future of the Union and for the proper management, during Romania’s EU Council presidency, of several major dossiers, such as the multi-annual financial framework, the post-Brexit situation of the European bloc and the security policy. The Romanian PM reiterated that Bucharest is prepared to take over the EU presidency and said the action plan is ready, the operation mechanisms are in place and the means of implementing the action plan has been defined.
FINANCIAL Fitch agency’s announcement regarding Romania’s country rating is a confirmation of the fact that Romania has a sustainable economic growth, and contributes to strengthening investors’ confidence in the national economy, said the Minister for Public Finances Eugen Teodorovici, after Fitch confirmed the “BBB minus” rating for Romania’s long-term foreign currency debt, with a stable outlook. The expansionist fiscal policy launched in 2016 has weakened Romania’s public finances, Fitch experts say, adding that in the first 9 months of this year revenues stand at only 69% of the revised annual targets, and the budget deficit is one percentage point above the figure in January – September 2017. However, Fitch expects the Government to meet its 2.96% deficit target for this year, so as to avoid the excessive deficit procedure. The international financial rating agency estimates a 3.5% economic growth rate for Romania this year, 3.2% in 2019 and 3% in 2020, reflecting the slow-down in the EU, a tightening monetary policy and a reduction in tax incentives.
GAUDEAMUS Book launches continued on Saturday, as part of the Gaudeamus Book and Education Fair organised by Radio Romania in Bucharest. Until the end of this 25th edition of the Fair on Sunday, visitors will be able to attend various events and benefit from substantial discounts offered by the over 300 participating publishers. The central theme of the current edition is the Romanian Union Centennial, illustrated by a stand hosting around 600 volumes devoted to this historic event and by scores of launches, debates, film screenings and public lectures. The stand also enables the public to meet and talk to some of the most important Romanian writers, literary critics and historians.
WESTERN BALKANS Romania’s deputy PM Ana Birchall reiterated Bucharest’s commitment to the EU enlargement process, in the 3rd Thessaloniki Summit, devoted to European prospects, connectivity, industrial development and cooperation in the Western Balkans. According to a news release, the Romanian official said Romania would ensure the continuity of this process and would pay special attention to the topic during its EU Council presidency in the first half of 2019. On the sidelines of the Summit, Ana Birchall had talks with top-level officials attending the event, such as the PM of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, the PM of Bulgaria Boiko Borisov, the PM of Serbia Ana Brnabic, the governor of the Central Macedonia Region Apostolos Tzitzicostas, and the mayor of Thessaloniki Yannis Boutaris.
JUDICIARY The constitutional court of Costa Rica dismissed the requests filed by the former Romanian tourism minister Elena Udrea and the former chief prosecutor of the anti-mafia directorate Alina Bica, who have been imprisoned in that country in early October. Elena Udrea and Alina Bica, sentenced for corruption in Romania, were arrested following an Interpol request. Long seen as one of the most powerful aides of the ex-president Traian Basescu, Udrea received a 6-year final sentence for bribe-taking and abuse of office. In turn, Bica was sentenced to 4 years behind bars for aiding an offender.
IMMIGRATION The Romanian community remains the largest foreign group in the Madrid region, with nearly 200,000 members, according to the latest immigration barometre. Commissioned by the Madrid regional government, the immigration barometre is released every 2 years and measures, among other things, the integration level of foreigners. This rate has grown by 12% since 10 years ago, according to Radio Romania’s correspondent in Spain. Statistics also show that around 70% of the locals in the Community of Madrid see immigration as positive for the economy.
BREXIT The British PM Theresa May Saturday rejected counter-proposals to her Brexit deal negotiated with the EU, saying they would not solve the problems, France Press reports. On Wednesday May announced a draft agreement on Brexit, but it triggered 4 resignations from her Cabinet, chiefly over the fate of Northern Ireland after UK’s exit from the Union, scheduled to take place on March 29th, 2019.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)