A roundup of domestic and international news.
ELECTION - The campaign for the first round of the presidential election, that started on October 12, has come to an end this morning. A total of 14 candidates have enrolled in the race. Voters will hit the polls on Sunday in Romania, but Romanians living abroad can vote over the course of three days, starting Friday at noon and ending Sunday evening. Postal voting was for the first time introduced for the voting process abroad. Around 110 thousand Romanian citizens in the Diaspora have cast their ballot by today at noon, most of them in Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain and Moldova. The second ballot is scheduled for November 24 in Romania and will also last three days abroad. These measures were taken to avoid the long waiting hours, which were reported at the last presidential election and the European Parliament election.
BERLIN WALL - Nationwide celebrations have kicked off in Germany to mark 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has welcomed leaders of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in Berlin. The fall of the Wall shows there no excuse not to fight for freedom, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We want to ensure that no wall will separate people ever again," Merkel said in a speech. Attending the ceremonies in Berlin, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has said NATO must grow and change or risk becoming obsolete, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said the alliance was dying.
FINANCE - The decision of Fitch Rating Agency tp reconfirm Romania’s country rating to BBB minus with a stable outlook is supported by the moderate level of the public debt and the positiv evolution of the GDP per capita, the Romanian Finance Ministry has today announced in Bucharest. The solidity of the banking system is a positive factor, acording to the ministry. In the upcoming period, the Finance Ministry will focus on the budget revision and the 2020 national budget.
HEARINGS - The hearings of the new commissioners designated by Romania, Hungary and France will be held on November 14, the European Parliament's leaders decided on Friday. Once the candidates are greenlitby the JURI Committee on Legal Affairs, which will investigate any potential conflicts of interest, the three candidates, namely Adina Valean from Romania, Olivier Varhelyi from Hungary and Thierry Breton from France, will appear before Parliament's special committees. The European Commission's President Elect Ursula von der Leyen will subsequently present her team and governing program in a joint Parliament session. We recall the nomination of Romanian MEP Adina Valean for the position of EU Commissioner for Transport was accepted by Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.
INFLATION - Romania in neither in the precipice, nor on the verge of it, Central Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu said upon presenting the quarterly report on inflation. According to the Romanian official, the country's main vulnerability is that most of the economic growth is based on consumption. Mugur Isarescu also said that Romania's deficit of 6.1% for 2021, as estimated by the European Commission, cannot be taken into account, because it would endanger Romania's position on the external markets, where it has incurred significant debt. Isarescu has said that the Central Bank has decreased to 3.8% the inflation forecast for the end of the year and estimates a 3.1% inflation rate for end-2020. The Central Bank estimated, in August 2019, a 4.2% inflation rate for the end of 2019 and of 3.4% for December 2020.
MEETING - Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Friday met US Ambassador Hans Klemm. The parties agreed to deepen and develop the Strategic Partnership between the two countries in all its aspects, with a focus on military and security cooperation, reads a Government release. Ludovic Orban underlined Romania's openness towards dialogue in order to ensure a stable and investor-friendly environment. (Translated by Elena Enache)