PRESIDENCY -The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, will have a meeting on November 14th in London with the British PM, Theresa May, at the latter’s invitation, official sources told AGERPRES news agency on Friday. On the same day, Klaus Iohannis will attend a reception at Buckingham Palace, in honour of Charles, Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday, at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.
GOVERNMENT- The PM of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă, said in Varna on Friday, that at the 4-party meeting between Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek and Serbian officials she had underlined that more must be done for Europe’s energy security, especially by diversifying supply sources and stepping up the interconnection process. In the field of transport, she reiterated Romania’s interest in the building of new motorways and bridges across the River Danube. Attending the meeting were the PMs of Bulgaria and Greece, Boiko Borisov and Alexis Tsipras, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Prior to the talks, Dǎncilǎ and her Israeli counterpart agreed on the organisation of an economic forum, ahead of the joint meeting of the 2 countries’ governments. PM Dăncilă presented to her Israeli counterpart the changes operated on the legislation regulating public-private partnerships, which have made the Romanian investment climate more attractive. The Romanian official also reconfirmed Romania’s interest in strengthening and deepening relations with Israel in energy and cyber security, healthcare, research and innovation. The 2 prime ministers also discussed means of cooperation between Romania and Israel, in the context of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council as of January 2019.
BUDGET -The leaders of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, which make up the ruling coalition in Romania, convened on Friday for talks on this year’s budget adjustment and on 2019 budgetary projections. Attending the meeting was also finance minister Eugen Teodorovici. The agenda also included plans for setting up a Sovereign Development and Investment Fund and the companies that should be part of this fund, personnel downsizing measures in certain ministries and governmental agencies, and a possible increase in minimum salaries as of December 1.
EU FUNDING -The European Commissioner for regional development Corina Creţu reiterated that Bucharest has so far submitted no funding applications for any major project that could be financed by the European Commission, except for the M6 underground line which is currently being analysed. We are long past the deadlines Romania has set itself for applying for EU funds for regional hospitals, for 3 motorways, for the Braila bridge and for the Bucharest ring road, Corina Creţu says. In a social network post, the European Commissioner dismisses the accusations made against her after she had repeatedly warned that the EU fund absorption by the Romanian Government has slowed down. Darius Vâlcov, adviser to PM Viorica Dăncilă, claimed on Thursday that the funding provided by the EU only accounts for 10% of the costs of building a regional hospital, and that the balance must be supplied by the Romanian state.
LABOUR- Switzerland will lift all labour market restrictions for Romanian workers in May next year. The announcement was made during a visit to Bucharest on Thursday by the president of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset, who was received by President Klaus Iohannis. Alain Berset said, on the other hand, that Switzerland supports Bucharest’s bid for OECD membership, and that, although it is not an EU member, it will stand by Romania during the country’s presidency of the EU Council, in the first half of 2019.
PROSECUTOR GENERAL – Romania’s Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazăr, has demanded in court the suspension of procedures to remove him from office, started by the Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader. Lazar had earlier filed a complaint at the Justice Ministry against the assessment report drafted by Tudorel Toader. On October 24, the line minister started the procedure to remove Romania’s Prosecutor General from office, mentioning 20 points against Lazar, among which signing a secret protocol with the Romanian Intelligence Service in 2016 and hiding the truth about this protocol.
DEFENCE -Romanian defence minister Mihai Fifor said on Friday that Romania has reached the objectives set for this year in terms of the Army’s endowment. The official claims that from this point of view, and not only, Romania is one of NATO’s trustworthy partners. Mihai Fifor has recalled that this is the second year in a row that the Romanian Government allots 2% of the GDP for defence. The line minister has also said the Romanian military are still present on theatres of operations, and are also dispatched to Poland, under a partnership within NATO.
VETERINARY The Romanian Veterinary Board has organised a rally at the Government headquarters on Friday, in order to draw attention to the major problems facing this profession and jeopardising public health. Veterinary physicians demand the immediate amendment of the law regulating their profession, which must be brought in line with a ruling of the EU Court of Justice. Otherwise, the protesters warn, public health is at grave risk in Romania, where anybody may open a veterinary dispensary and sell medications, without the need for veterinary physician supervision, and anybody may purchase such medication and give it to animals.
FARMING Hundreds of companies from 25 countries are taking part in Bucharest, until Sunday, in the international farming trade fair INDAGRA, the largest of this kind in Romania. As part of the trade fair, the Rural Investment Financing Agency has organised a national conference on “Rural Development: A fundamental element of economic competitiveness and cohesion at EU level.” Taking part in the conference was the Minister for Agriculture and rural Development, Petre Daea. The participants discussed the elements supporting the transformation of Romanian agriculture and rural communities, so as to be able to contribute to the competitiveness of the national economy.
PROTEST - Over 100 workers from the ArcelorMittal Hunedoara steelworks in south-western Romania protested on Friday against the delayed negotiations on pay-rises. The protesters claim that most of them will earn next year the national minimum wage, if the Government increases this wage. The president of the “Steelworker” Trade Union, Petru Vaidoş, said the trade union will brief the ArcelorMittal European Enterprise Committee, that will convene in Luxembourg next week. This is the second protest started by the steelworkers from ArcelorMittal Hunedoara, after that organised on October 18. The company based in Hunedoara has some 700 employees. (Translated by AM Popescu and D. Vijeu)