ECONOMY - The World Bank has improved its forecast with regard to Romania’s economic growth rate in 2016 to 5.1% from a previous June estimate of 4%, according to its economic report for Europe and Central Asia published on Tuesday. The World Bank warns, however, that the growth seen by the Romanian economy this year will slow down to 3.8% in 2017 and 3.4% in 2018. The consolidated budget deficit is expected to grow, nearing 3% of the GDP, both in 2016 and 2017, from 1.5% in 2015, which will lead to an increase in public debt. The Romanian government will have to keep in check current spending pressures and improve tax efficiency to prevent the activation of the excessive deficit procedure. The International Monetary Fund has also recently estimated that Romania will see the highest economic growth rate in Europe, with 5%, followed by Ireland with 4.9%. At the beginning of the month, the European Commission revised its economic growth forecast for the Romanian economy this year up to 5.2%.
PROTESTS - Public employees from around the country staged protests on Tuesday demanding salary rises. They are unhappy that a government ordinance on a unitary salary scheme for the public sector has not been implemented and warn this is only the first step before an all-out strike. Police officers have also taken to the street to protest against the pension law, while the members of the Sanitas trade union have picketed the headquarters of the healthcare ministry in solidarity with their colleagues negotiating the collective employment contract.
CORRUPTION - The former chief of the Permanent Electoral Authority in Romania, Ana Maria Pătru, accused of influence peddling and money laundering, will remain in temporary custody, the Court of Appeal in Ploieşti decided on Tuesday. According to Romanian prosecutors she asked for and received bribe worth more than 200 thousand euros in exchange of IT contracts the Authority signed with a favorite company. In another development, the plenum of the Chamber of Deputies will vote on November 28, if they agree or not with the National Anti-Corruption Directorate’s request to start the prosecution of Eugen Bejinariu, a former secretary of state in the government in the period 2003-2004. Prosecutors have accused Bejinariu of recurrent abuse of office in the Microsoft 2 file. The case is related to the leasing of software licenses for schools starting in 2004, an action that caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage to the state budget.
MILITARY DRILLS - 30 military from the Romanian Land Forces are taking part in the Iron Sword 16 multinational exercise under way in Lithuania starting on Tuesday until the 3rd of December. Around 2,000 troops from Canada, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, the UK, Poland, Romania and the US will be carrying out tactical drills involving all types of weapons and using NATO techniques, tactics and procedures. Iron Sword 16 forms part of the Black Sea Rotational Force 16 multinational exercise and aims to increase the level of interoperability through joint training with a view to taking part in peace keeping and counter-insurgence operations.
WRESTLING - After 8 years, the Romanian wrestler Gheorghita Stefan will receive the bronze medal for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, as the Uzbekistan wrestler Soslan Tigiev, who had defeated him, was stripped of his medal, having failed a drug test, the International Wrestling Federation has announced. Stefan was defeated by Tigiev in the eighthfinals of the 74 kg category in the men’s freestyle wrestling and again by the Belarussian wrestler Murad Gaidarov in the fight for the bronze medal. According to the new ranking, the Russian wrestler Buvaisar Saitiev keeps his gold medal, Gaidarov wins the silver, while the Romanian wrestler Gheorghita Stefan and the Bulgarian wrestler Kiril Terziev win the bronze. Romania’s medal tally for the Beijing Games now numbers 4 gold medals, 1 silver and 4 bronze.