REVOLUTION CASE In Romania, hearings in the trial in which the former president of Romania Ion Iliescu is charged with crimes against humanity, for his involvement in the December 1989 revolution, has been postponed for February 21, 2020, for procedural flaws. Apparently some subpoenas were returned on grounds that either the recipient was dead, or not found at the address. In the first hearing of the case at the High Court of Cassation and Justice on Friday, 3,516 people were subpoenaed, and around 600 of them appeared in Court. Former president Ion Iliescu was represented by his lawyer. The indictment was sent to judges in April. According to prosecutors, against the backdrop of the poor relations between Romania and the USSR after Prague, 1968, and as a result of the general state of public unrest, a dissident group formed, which sought to remove the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu from power, but to maintain Romania under Soviet influence. Prosecutors say this group was made up of civilians and military figures, all marginalised in some way by Ceausescu. Prosecutors also claim the group surrounding Ion Iliescu acted to take over political and military power in December 1989.
NATO President Klaus Iohannis will take part on Tuesday and Wednesday in the NATO Leaders Meeting in London. According to the Presidency, the meeting takes place in the context of NATO’s 70th anniversary. The agenda includes a working session in which the participants will discuss the Alliance’s priorities in the current international security context. The heads of state and government will also adopt decisions aimed at modernising and strengthening NATO’s role in fighting current challenges and threats to Euro-Atlantic security. During the talks, President Iohannis will highlight Romania’s contribution to the Alliance and will emphasise the need to bolster its determent and defence posture on the eastern flank and at the Black Sea. On Wednesday the Supreme Defence Council defined Romania’s objectives for the NATO meeting.
UNEMPLOYMENT The unemployment rate in the European Union in October was 6.3%, similar to the previous month and down from 6.7% in the corresponding month of 2018, the European Statistics Office (Eurostat) announced on Friday. This is the lowest unemployment rate in the EU since Eurostat has published monthly reports, namely January 2000. Romania is below the EU average, with a 4% unemployment rate last month, down from 4.1% in September 2019. The highest figures were reported in Greece (16.7% in August) and Spain (14.2%). At the opposite pole, the Czech Republic reported 2.2%, Germany 3.1% and Poland 3.2%.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL At Friday’s handover ceremony, the incoming president of the European Council, Charles Michel, of Belgium, said he wanted Europe to be “confident, self-assured and assertive,” and “global leader of the Green Economy”. According to AFP, one of the major immediate challenges will be to reach a consensus on the Union’s long term climate goals by the next Summit of the European Council in mid-December. In turn, the outgoing president Donald Tusk said “Europe is the best place on Earth, at least as long as it remains a continent of freedom and rule of law, which is inhabited by a community aware of its history and culture.” His message was that the common goal of the European leaders should be the unity of the EU. Charles Michel will serve as European Council President for 2 and a half years, and may only be re-elected once.
PROTEST Hundreds protested on Friday in front of the Environment Ministry in Vienna, against illegal logging in Romania. Representatives of Agent Green, the organisation behind the protest, marched the streets of the Austrian capital city with a banner reading "Save Romanian Primary Forest”. They say that "a number of Austrian companies illegally cut down millions of trees in Romania, and they must be held to account."
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)