A roundup of the week's most important events.
December 1, Romania's National Day
On December 1st, 1918, the National Assembly in Alba Iulia endorsed the unification of Transylvania, Banat, Crisana and Maramures with Romania. The event also marked the founding of the Romanian nation state, a process that had started on January 24, 1859 with the union of Moldavia and Wallachia, under the rule of Alexandru Ioan Cuza and had continued with the union of Dobrudja, on November 14, 1878, when, at the end of the Russian-Romanian-Turkish War, Romania won its independence on the battlefield, during the reign of Carol I. The process was completed by the union of Bessarabia on March 27, 1918 and of Bukovina, on November 28, 1918, under the rule of King Ferdinand.
This year, the National Day was marked with a military parade held in the Triumphal Arch Square in Bucharest, that included over 2,400 military. As many as 250 foreign military from Moldova, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the US and the Netherlands took part in the parade alongside their Romanian colleagues and military from the NATO countries. Military and religious ceremonies, music shows and exhibitions were also held across the entire country.
DNA - vaccines
The Romanian Senate voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of the former PM Florin Cîțu, with 90 votes in favor and two against, as part of an investigation conducted by anti-corruption prosecutors into the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. Cîțu is accused of complicity to abuse of office in the vaccine procurement case, with prosecutors saying that too many doses were purchased during the pandemic, causing damage of 1 billion euro to the state budget. "During that unpredictable, difficult and complicated context, as a PM and finance minister I put Romanians' health, and personal and economic liberties, first. I take it upon myself that, at that moment, the Romanian Government did what needed to be done", Florin Cîțu said. Two other former health ministers, Vlad Voiculescu and Ioana Mihăilă, were also left without immunity and will be investigated, after President Klaus Iohannis approved the request of the anti-corruption prosecutors.
Constitutional Court - pensions
Former senators and deputies can keep their special pensions, the Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR) ruled by unanimous vote. The CCR judges reasoned that by withdrawing and eliminating special pensions the integrity and substance of an acquired legal right was affected and an obvious legal insecurity was created. The Court specified that Parliament has the power to eliminate special pensions only in the future, which means that former MPs with a full mandate until the adoption of the law, will continue to receive them. We remind you that on June 26 Romania's Parliament voted to eliminate special pensions, benefiting only some occupational categories, in keeping with the commitment taken under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
NATO – Ukraine
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luminiţa Odobescu, reiterated in Brussels Romania's support for Ukraine's advancement on the Euro-Atlantic path, along the lines decided at the 2008 NATO Summit hosted by Bucharest. At the same time, she voiced hope that next year's anniversary Summit in Washington will mark a step forward in Kyiv's relationship with NATO. Odobescu also stressed the support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, within internationally recognized borders, reaffirming the sovereign right of that country to decide on its own foreign and security policy. She condemned, in the strongest terms, Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military invasion, which is a flagrant violation of international law.
Recycling – ecology
The implementation of the integrated waste collection and recycling system has started in Romania. A first packaging counting and sorting center was inaugurated in the commune of Bonţida, in the county of Cluj (north-west). Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said, in a video message, that it's a historic moment, marking the most ambitious circular economy project in Romania and the strength of the first functional public-private partnership. Basically, when returning a package marked with the system's sign, citizens will receive 50 money for each bottle, PET or aluminum can, says the environment minister. "Seven billion is an estimated figure and is the amount put on the market in Romania, whether we are talking about drinks produced in our country or imported drinks", explains Mircea Fechet. "That's about the number we expect to have to manage". Packages will be collected in 17 regional centers. The next ones will operate in Timiș (west), Bacău (east) and Bucharest.
Dacia – launch
The Romanian car manufacturer Dacia, owned by the French giant Renault, has had the world premiere of its new Duster model. With global sales of over 2.2 million units, Duster now also benefits from a hybrid propulsion system, as well as multiple features found for the first time on a vehicle built in Mioveni, in southern Romania. It will ready for purchase in March next year. Ford vehicles are also produced in Romania, at a factory also located in the south of the country.