Brussels– Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis is participating, Thursday and Friday, in Brussels, in the European Council meeting whose main theme is "The energy crisis and the proposals to combat it". European leaders are meeting to reach a consensus regarding the reduction of energy prices. The head of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, argued, on Wednesday, in front of the MEPs that the manipulation of energy prices by Russia must be fought against. She proposes the joint purchase of natural gas by the member states, a possible capping of gas prices, the setting up of gas companies consortiums and the conclusion of so-called energy solidarity agreements between neighboring countries. The agenda of the meeting includes the analysis of the evolution of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and the EU's commitment to continuing the support given to Kyiv on the political, financial, humanitarian and military levels. The European leaders will also address ways to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure in the context of the recent acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines. At the same time, the heads of state and government from the EU member states will have a debate on the EU-China relations.
Protest - Romanian trade unionists from the CNS Cartel Alfa Confederation are protesting, today, in Bucharest, asking the authorities to "stop the impoverishment of the population". They are asking, in particular, for the control of prices and the taxation of extra-profits, for salary and pension increases, and for unblocking the collective bargaining by amending the Social Dialogue Law. The representatives of the CNS Cartel Alfa decided earlier this month to organize nationwide protest actions because, they say, "aberrant energy costs and the rising costs of food and other essential goods are forcing millions of workers to make painful choices and are pushing many into poverty". The protest began on October 17 in the form of two caravans that set off from Romania’s northern cities towards Bucharest, with rallies being organized along the route in those towns where there are major risks of blocking some production activities and of job losses.
Ukraine - The martial law decreed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin entered into force today in the four Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Moscow: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, EFE reports. The Kremlin leader has granted increased powers to the heads of certain Russian regions to adopt security measures targeting the population and the critical infrastructure. Starting today, the leaders of the occupied Ukrainian regions which are under martial law can evacuate residents to other areas, introduce a special regime for entering and leaving the territories and restrict the residents’ freedom of movement. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksii Danilov, wrote on Twitter that Putin's martial law is a preparation for the mass deportation of the Ukrainian population to disadvantaged regions of Russia, in order to change the ethnic makeup of the occupied territory.
Football - The Romanian youth football team will play in Group B, along with Spain, Ukraine and Croatia, at the final tournament of the U21 European Football Championship in 2023. The competition will be hosted by Romania and Georgia, between June 21 and July 8. The matches in Romania's group will take place in Bucharest, while Cluj (north-west) will host the games in Group D, between the representative teams of Norway, Switzerland, France and Italy. Romania will also host two quarterfinals. The first-ranked three teams in next year's final tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games due in Paris in 2024. Romania will, for the first time in history, mark three consecutive participations in the final tournaments of the European Championships, after those in 2019 and 2021.
NATO - The first two of the ten French military convoys intended to reinforce NATO's Eastern Flank are on their way to Romania. Their final destination is the Cincu military base in Sibiu county (central Romania) where the NATO multinational battlegroup has been installed, which is expected to shelter about one thousand European soldiers until the beginning of next year. The French will bring approximately 20 armored vehicles and 10 new generation Leclerc tanks, highly efficient combat equipment. In parallel, special transports of ammunition, food and troop maintenance materials will be sent to Romania by special trains.
Radio - The Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) provides, as of today, news and current affairs information from and about Bulgaria also in the Romanian language, following the launch of the "Radio Bulgaria in Romanian" website. The new website in Romanian appears at a time when the two neighboring countries, Bulgaria and Romania, are together in fulfilling the common objectives of accession to Schengen, says the BNR. Sofia and Bucharest maintain an active cooperation in the commercial and economic fields, they are partners within NATO and the EU, at the level of South-Eastern Europe, of the Danube and the Black Sea region. The two neighboring countries have joint projects in the fields of infrastructure, energy, and transport. According to the BNR, in the three years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.2 million Romanian citizens, on average, have traveled annually to Bulgaria for tourist purposes. At the same time, a lot of Romanian passengers transit Bulgaria, heading for Greece, Turkey or countries in Central and Western Europe. (LS)